Assess the level of fit between the potential partners and their level of commitment to the process. An important factor that needs to be considered is the culture of each organisation as this can have an impact on the success of collaborations. The partners in the consortium need to be aligned in relation to the goals of the consortium and to have integrated and complementary services. A mix of tenants is required that ensures continuity and builds community.

Form a coordinating committee that will steer the process. This committee should be made up of representatives of the partner organisations and, if appropriate, government agencies (ie local Council or State government departments). There should ideally be equal representation of each agency on this steering group.

Members of the steering group should be selected based on their:

  • level of knowledge, skills and experience with planning and managing community-based services
  • level of motivation and commitment
  • skills and abilities in collaboration and cooperation
  • capacity to devote the time and energy required.

The project coordinator or another suitable person (such as an academic or local government officer) could chair meetings of the steering group. It’s important that the chair provides strong leadership and that they are well respected by all committee members and inspire confidence in them as a leader. Agendas should be prepared, minutes of meetings
kept, and all decisions documented.

Box A3: Characteristics of members involved in successful and sustainable collaborative projects

  • Mutual respect, understanding and trust, shared norms and values.
  • Willingness to share ideas and make compromises when agency interests conflict.
  • Flexible, open to innovation, yet practical.
  • Highly motivated and committed to the project

Develop an initial vision and mission and document this. The vision needs to be explored openly with all partners so that it is formed at the earliest possible stage in the process. This will make the rest of the work easier because everyone has already committed to the direction of the project. Adequate time for this process needs to be set aside – probably a whole day. The shared vision needs to be re-visited at various points in the development process. This is why it needs to be well documented at this stage. This document can also help to inform new committee members who may want to add new things to it. The vision should not be seen as fixed. Visioning activities are an important part of the team building

Develop an initial partnership agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as a guide for start up arrangements about how the agencies will initially collaborate. Such agreements can help to reduce the complexity of collaborative arrangements and increase the chance of success. 

An action network could also be formed to facilitate collaboration between government and non government agencies and prepare and distribute regular progress reports on the initiative.

Box A4: Resources for developing agreements between partners

For information about developing a interagency agreements and protocols go to:

For information on promoting coordination, cooperative agreements, and collaborative agreements among agencies go to:


Box A5: The Developing Your Organisation tool

A comprehensive manual for Developing Your Organisation can be found at:

This manual includes detailed information on starting a community organisation,
management committees, organisational performance, risk management and ‘when things
go wrong’.

See videos from StudioQ related to this topic


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