Partnership Working

Scope of this chapter

Your role will inevitably involve working with a variety of people who have a range of roles and responsibilities. This is known as 'partnership working'. Other phrases are also commonly used, including, ’joint work’.

Developing good partnerships improves the quality of care and support being provided to the person using the service.

The scope of this chapter is developing and maintaining effective partnerships with colleagues, other agencies and professionals. Partnership with the person we are supporting, their carers, family and friends is part of the chapter 'Participation and Advocacy'. 

Effective partnership working with colleagues, other agencies and professionals is a core principle and value. This means that it applies to everyone and is always relevant when planning for or providing care and support.

Relevant Regulations

Related Chapters and Guidance

There are many benefits to partnership working. These are benefits for the person we support, benefits to our service and benefits to the agencies and professionals that we are working in partnership with.

  1. Knowledgeable and skilled staff;
  2. Access to the right specialist support at the right time;
  3. Less duplication (not having to repeat things to lots of people);
  4. All support services are joined up and aware of what the other is doing;
  5. Decisions about care and support can be made based on the information and views of everyone involved (and will therefore be better with better outcomes);
  6. Reduced risk of harm, accidents, injuries, illness etc.
  1. Access to specialist support, advice and training;
  2. A greater understanding or the roles of others;
  3. Faster response from professionals to changing needs;
  4. A better understanding of the person’s specific or complex needs and how best to meet them;
  5. Less chance of complaints or safeguarding.
  1. The impact of their advice, strategy, treatment or intervention is being implemented, recorded and reviewed by our service;
  2. Our service can provide quality feedback about things that are working or not;
  3. Records kept by the service can be used as evidence for change or action.

Partnership work can take many forms, many of which can apply at the same time:

Caption: Types of partnership working
Nature Description

Low level

Basic functions and information sharing

High level

Complex work or functions


Partnership work with colleagues working in the same service or organisation

Single agency

Partnership work with one other agency or professional


Partnership work with more than one agency or professional


Partnership work that does not require a formal request


Partnership work that requires a formal request


Involving the person or carer


No direct involvement of the person or carer

There are a range of agencies or professionals that we may need to work in partnership with:

Caption: Some potential partners
Partner What they do


To speak on behalf of the person on any matter, expressing the person’s needs, wishes and preferences.


Provide direct support to the person in line with their needs and wishes.

Social worker

Complete assessments, care and support planning, reviews and safeguarding duties on behalf of the local authority.

Occupational therapist

Provide equipment, aids and adaptations to promote a person’s independence to carry out routine tasks.


Assess and treat common medical conditions and refer to hospital or specialist services for urgent or specialist treatment.

District Nurse

Visit and treat patients in their home, undertaking tasks such as Diabetes Insulin Injections, wound dressing, attending to pressure areas and monitoring potential weight loss or dehydration.

Community Nurse

Visit patients in their home, normally specialise in learning disability, mental health and work in specialist teams with other professions.

Clinical Psychiatrist

Specialise in the medical treatment of mental illness and disorders, including learning disability, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety.

Clinical Psychologist

Specialise in diagnosing and treating mental, emotional and behavioural disorders without the use of medication.


Provide therapy to help restore movement and function after injury, illness or disability.


Provide specialist advice and treatment in a particular field of medicine e.g. cancer or Parkinson's Disease.


Provide advice and develop specialist diets when people have a medical or psychological need.

Speech and Language Therapist (SALT)

Specialise in disorders of speech and swallowing. Can develop and support effective communication strategies.


Prevent and treat diseases of the teeth and mouth.

Volunteer and community groups

Offer services and activities to help support people actively participate in the wider community. Often based in community centres and churches.

It is important that the person being supported by the service consents to information about them being shared with partners.

The only times when consent does not have to be obtained is:

  1. If the person lacks capacity to consent to sharing the information but has a legally authorised representative who has consented (a Lasting Power of Attorney or Deputy); or
  2. The person lacks capacity to consent, does not have a legally authorised representative but it is the view of the service that sharing the information would be in their best interests (e.g., to support an assessment by another professional); or
  3. The information is requested under safeguarding and is integral to protecting the person, a child or other vulnerable adult from abuse or neglect.

For further information and guidance see: Consent.

Any advice or instructions given by a partner should be recorded.

If possible, you should ask the person providing the advice or instructions to send an email or letter to confirm the advice in writing.

If an individual care or support plan is amended as a result of the advice or instructions received, a record of the amendment made and why it was made should be kept.  

The following table sets out some general principles for effective partnership working and how to apply them:

Caption: General principles for effective partnership working
Principle How to apply in practice

Professional courtesy

Make contact when you say you will
Provide information as agreed
Return calls and respond to e-mails
Value the contribution of others
Use appropriate language and have professional respect for those in authority
Inform of any delays or issues when they arise
Raise any concerns about the actions (or inactions) of another practitioner appropriately

Understand roles

Make sure the other practitioner understands your role, and any limitations
Make sure you understand their role - ask questions if you need to
Be clear about the tasks that you need to carry out
Make sure you understand the tasks that they need to carry out - ask questions if you need to

Set expectations

Be clear about all expectations for the partnership work across all organisations involved
Identify any potential issues and take steps to prevent them arising
Expectations could include:

  • Timeframes to begin and end the work;

  • Proposed outcomes of the partnership work;

  • What you are anticipating their role to be;

  • What they are anticipating your role to be.

Agree tasks and functions

Identify all the different tasks and functions and agree who will carry them out.

Think about:

  • How to avoid unnecessary duplication;

  • Who will be the person’s primary contact;

  • Who will chair any meetings;

  • Who will keep a minute of meetings;

  • How routine records will be made;

  • Who will record formal reports e.g. an assessment;

  • How written information will be shared.

It is not always easy to work in partnership with others.

The best way for all partners to avoid conflict and disagreement is to invite opinions from all relevant parties, consider them all and make a decision that has taken everything into account. Where a decision is not in line with a particular view, the reason that the view has not been accepted should be explained. This will reduce the risk of complaint or damage to the partnership relationship moving forward.

Where disagreement exists, this should be raised in a professional, calm manner, with regard for the authority of the other partner/s.

Before you disagree with something, you should be confident that your view is supported by evidence and not based on opinion only. It may be best to discuss things with a manager first as they may be able to help you understand why a particular decision has been made and, if necessary, how best to challenge it.

Sometimes it may be appropriate to make a formal complaint about the practice of a colleague, professional or agency. This should be done in line with the complaints process of the relevant organisation that employs them.

On occasion a partner may disagree with the care and support that we are providing to the person. When this happens, a manager or the registered person should be alerted so they can speak with the partner to understand their concerns and views, and to consider any action that may be needed in the service. Where a formal complaint has been made the concerns should be investigated formally using the services complaints process.

Last Updated: March 21, 2022