Measuring the performance of partnerships: Why, what, how, when?
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Partnerships have become increasingly prevalent across a wide range of sectors for the delivery of services and implementation of policy. Partnerships are seen as a more effective way of delivering policy interventions than state-led or ‘top-down’ approaches. Evaluating partnership performance is therefore crucial in order to determine whether partnerships really are better than more traditional methods of policy implementation. To date, however, partnership effectiveness has often been conceptualised as cumulative; the result of a set of variables acting in a one dimensional, linear way which results in the ability (or not) of a partnership to achieve its goals. This paper highlights the shortcomings of such a linear conceptualisation of effectiveness and argues instead that when evaluating partnerships, effectiveness should be viewed as a non-linear, multi-faceted composite which changes in space and time.
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