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Research suggests that up to 70 per cent of partnerships fail to deliver their intended outcomes. CPCR, a consultancy specialising in developing organisations, leaders and partnerships, concludes that the key drivers of this failure are issues of trust and deteriorating relationships.

90 per cent of respondents surveyed by CPCR at a recent exhibition for the North East public sector reported that in many cases partners place insufficient significance on the building of relationships within the partnership and often revert to adverse behaviours which result in the partnerships’ objectives not being met. CPCR believes that these partnerships often under estimate the time it takes to establish and develop strong relationships.

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are at the heart of the government's efforts to gain best value service for the public sector and it believes that the delivery of key public services through partnerships can bring many benefits which have the potential to result in successful and cost effective outcomes. However, due to the high failure rate of partnerships this comes with risks that can be a potential threat to the tax payers pocket.

Anne Cuthbertson, director at CPCR explains, “When entering a partnership, you often start with ‘good will’ but without careful commitment from both sets of partners, things can start to slide off track and you then find the trust has broken. Both partners need clear and mutual objectives and need to invest in developing and strengthening relationships, without this good will can be tested and the partnership performance can quickly start to deteriorate.

“Partnerships that have a pre-agreed method to identify and tackle issues before they arise are the ones that are in a much stronger position to survive and thrive and often having some outside guidance can enable partners to focus on learning to trust each other whilst not loosing site of the objectives.

“Increasingly partnerships are looking to use an objective measure to assess the performance and maturity of relationships. The online Partnering Maturity Model we have developed helps partnerships to focus on specific improvements appropriate for their context and needs”, concludes Cuthbertson.

For the continued success of future partnerships it’s vital that challenges are worked through at all levels and across all partner organisations. It’s the give-and-take that makes partners confident to keep moving forwards even when the going gets tough.

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About CPCR

CPCR helps clients develop collaborative leadership by working in partnership with individuals, teams, organisations and alliances encountering new and challenging futures. Our passion is helping organisations succeed and individuals flourish.

Established in 1989 CPCR is owned and managed independently by its employees.
Clients include: Cabinet Office, Ministry of Defence, Department for Education and Skills, Scottish Water Solutions, Manchester City Council, Welsh Assembly Government, North Lincolnshire Council.

Further information about CPCR can be found at

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