We believe genuine partnerships can be transformative. Now more than ever, with the global challenges of COVID, we need governments, businesses, not-for-profits and other institutions to work together to rebuild better and fairer economies and communities.
Working across sectors can present challenges – how do we overcome these? The BPP aims to create genuine partnerships that can create lasting commercial and social impact and success.
By working in partnership we can co-finance, share insights and ideas, leverage each others’ capabilities – we hope you make the most of this opportunity and look forward to supporting you through your partnership!
Investing time to get it right
We believe spending time and effort upfront to establish a strong partnership will lead to better results.
Given the short period of our partnership, ensuring it is able to form quickly and operate effectively is critical to the success of the partnership. For this reason, the partnership model is the key defining feature of our program. The partnerships are not, and should not be, an end in themselves – however they do provide a solid base from which results can be delivered effectively for all parties.
What can you expect from the partnership?
There are many ways your partnership could benefit from DFAT support.
For the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Business Partnerships Platform offers an opportunity to be in an enhanced role as a partner – not as a funder or contract administrator, though it is also both of those things. This a step-change from other development initiatives and we welcome you to take advantage of DFAT’s enhanced role as partner.
Here are a few examples:
What is a Ways of Working agreement?
It is useful to think of the contract as the ‘what’ of the BPP and the Way of Working agreement as ‘how’ the partners intend to work together.
Negotiating a Ways of Working Agreement (WoW) is the first step in your partnerships (in addition to a funding contract). The WoW will ensure agreement on how partners will work together minimising the potential for misunderstanding and misalignment. This will ensure both the relationships between each organisation, and the processes supporting the partnership, are clearly thought through and aligned.
It is not intended that the WoW will be binding (unlike the contract), but in essence it provides a living ‘code of conduct’, which will inform the way the partners intend to work together for the duration of the engagement, clarifying expectations, contributions and respective roles and responsibilities.
Build an understanding of each organisation’s priorities, expectations, shared and individual objectives, challenges and concerns.
Agree the principles, values, and behaviours which will define the partnership.
Achieve clarity on roles, responsibilities, and mutual accountabilities.
Agree communications protocols to support effective and efficient partnering.
Jointly develop a non-binding WoW Agreement describing the agreed partnership and management arrangements which will govern how partners work together on the BPP.
Your partnership broker will set-up a time to talk to you before the sessions. For more detail, please see the DRAFT AGENDA of the WoW Partnering Sessions.
Support during the partnership
We will hold regular Partner Check-ins and a Partnering Healthcheck monitoring and review processes throughout the partnership.
Partner check-ins will be done on a more ad-hoc basis to ensure on-going relationship building, progress of the joint initiative, allow partners to reflect on learning and make adjustments as required. This will be lead by your point of contact at the Business Partnerships Platform who will bring together all the partners.
PartneringHealthchecks will be workshops held at least annually (six-monthly if partners see a need) with the support of a Partnership Broker, to give all partners the opportunity to review the health of the partnership – including governance, relationships and processes. The Healthcheck is focused on continuous improvement – identifying what is working well, and what could be improved, based on experience to date. The aim is to ensure that the partnership delivers both shared and individual objectives. The Partnership Broker will work with the partners and will facilitate the workshop.
BPP’s approach to partnership is based on the internationally recognised Partnership Brokers Association frameworks and partnering cycle, developed specifically for multi-‐stakeholder partnerships.
Strongly grounded in practitioner experience, for those familiar with the project management cycle, the four stages of the partnering cycle are consistent with a project management framework, but focus specifically on the relationships and processes which support project implementation.
The partnership cycle identifies four key stages in effective partnerships: Scoping and Building (including the development of an MOU), Managing and Maintaining, Reviewing and Revising and Sustaining Outcomes.
The partnering process adopted by BPP follows this framework, and pays particular attention to the scoping and building stage, including the development of the Ways of Working (WoW) Agreement, along with the reviewing and revising stage through the implementation of the Partner Check-ins and Partnering Healthcheck process. It is important to note that the partnership cycle is not necessarily linear in all cases, following each stage automatically after the other, but provides a useful frame of reference.
Principles of partnership
In order for partnerships to have the best possible chance of success, partnerships should be grounded in the key principles of equity, transparency, mutual benefit and diversity.
These principles underline the approaches and processes adopted in BPP. Experience shows that where these principles are embedded in partnerships, they will lead to outcomes, which in turn contribute significantly to effective implementation of programs.
Equity does not mean equality, but rather a commitment to justice, fairness and even handedness. For BPP, this means that even small partners have as much right to be heard and to contribute as bigger partners. It means that DFAT will hold itself to account as much as it holds its partners to account. And it means that DFAT and its partners will each contribute to partnerships from their areas of competence and strength, will respect each other’s commitments, and importantly, will uphold any commitments. Governance procedures will also be equitable. Where genuine equity exists, partners are much more likely to value and respect each other’s contributions.
Transparency means that all BPP partners, including DFAT, will be open and honest in their dealings with partners; will not intentionally withhold information, and will make decisions based on discussion and openness in its dealings with partners. There is recognition that commercial- in-confidence issues may arise from time to time, but they will be identified and dealt with under the confidentiality clause in the financial contract. Transparency is a key ingredient to the development of trust in partnerships, which in turns enables improved accountability and assists in risk mitigation.
Mutual benefit recognises that different partners may be involved in projects for different reasons, in addition to helping to achieve the shared goal. It is important to be able to discuss and recognize each partner’s individual reasons for being involved in the partnership, and ensure that these are met through the course of the partnership. When mutual benefit exists, it is much more likely that, even in difficult situations, partners will continue to engage and work out solutions together: programs are more likely to achieve sustainability as a result.
Diversity is particularly critical to the BPP. It recognises that organisations and sectors may (and should) have different values, approaches, systems and experience, which they bring to the partnership, but that this diversity is a key potential value-add of partnerships. It is important that diversity is discussed and protected within partnerships, as this is one of the key reasons why different organisations come together in the first place – they bring something others do not, to help solve often complex problems which they cannot solve unilaterally. The key here is to ensure that while values, processes, systems and priorities may be different, they cannot be in conflict, but should at least be aligned in order for a partnership to be successful.
When a genuine partnership approach is adopted, and is characterised in all partners by these key principles, we anticipate the possibility of partnerships to become transformative or game-changing!