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  4. Ensuring proper arrangements/agreements are in place for partnership working and service delivery

Principle 3

Ensuring proper arrangements/agreements are in place for partnership working and service delivery

Service-delivery and Partnerships


Management committees and Boards have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the services which are delivered:

  • Comply with the requirements of the funders of the project/programme
  • Meet the needs and expectations of the participants
  • Are consistently of the agreed quality
  • Continuously improve, through feedback, reflection and review

Services are usually delivered by staff and volunteers, rather than by those on the Board or management committee.  It is important, therefore, for the board to put in place processes to ensure these four requirements are achieved.  Some of the mechanisms the board or management committee might use to do this are:

  • Discuss the funding application or tender and then the detailed letter of offer at a meeting, so it is fully aware of the resource inputs, outputs, outcomes, monitoring requirements, and the funding end-point
  • Ensure there are clear job descriptions (or role descriptions for volunteers) and person specifications
  • Ensure there are effective recruitment and selection procedures
  • Ensure there is a mechanism for capturing the satisfaction level and views of service-users
  • Ensure there is a quality assurance framework of procedures for the project/programme which are audited
  • Ensure there is a process for the staff and volunteers delivering a project/programme to review it internally in order to keep improving it, and report their findings/recommendations to the board
  • Arrange regular visits by board members to projects/programmes and a way of them feeding back
  • Invite staff and/or volunteers delivering a project/programme to present how it is getting on at a board/management committee meeting
  • Consider an evaluation of the project/programme by an external expert for reporting to the board/management committee


Many community and voluntary organisations work closely with other organisations in the sector.  Others also have partnerships with agencies in the public and/or companies in the private sectors.

These relationships can be very informal with nothing in writing.  Others can be very formal based on detailed written partnership agreements.

Partnerships can go wrong when:

  • not enough time is given to developing the partnership
  • here is a lack of clarity about the purpose of the partnership and what is expected on both sides
  • both parties to the partnership do not feel that what they put into, and get out of, the partnership, is fair
  • there are not regular mutual reviews of how the partnership is working and can be improved and/or
  • when not enough effort is put into communicating and building personal relationships of trust, which can resolve any difficulties that arise