Negotiating and managing partnership in primary care
In the UK public service organisations are increasingly working together in new partnerships, networks and alliances, largely stimulated by government legislation, which aims to encourage ‘joined-up’ policy-making. This is particularly prevalent in health-care where local government, health authorities and trusts, voluntary and community groups are extending existing, and developing new, forms of partnership, particularly around Health Improvement Programmes and new primary care organisations. This paper explores two main aspects of how these new interorganisational relationships are being developed and managed and is based on research conducted in one case study locality. First, the new structures of partnership in primary care are mapped out, together with discussion on why these particular patterns of relationship between statutory and voluntary sector organisations have emerged, exploring both centrally and locally determined influences. Secondly, the paper explores the tensions associated with working within new policy-making and management structures, and how the additional demands of audit, performance measurement and the sheer pace of change, pose a potential threat to the partnership process.