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Good relationships are all about trust and communication, a DTLR guide to public/private partnerships says. ...
Good relationships are all about trust and communication, a DTLR guide to public/private partnerships says.

The guide, Working together, looks at the interpersonal aspects of partnerships, exploring trickier aspects of building bridges between organisations and cultures.

Comparing partnerships to traditional contracts, the guide says: 'A partnering relationship requires a very different style of working. Time must be allocated so that any concerns can be aired and dealt with.'

It identifies the existence of prejudices within both the private and public sectors: 'Anecdotal evidence suggests some private sector organisations perceive councils as bureaucratic and slow to make decisions. There is evidence to suggest some council staff regard private sector companies as only motivated by profit.'

Councils must establish a business-friendly culture: 'Any prospective partner will find it difficult to engage with a council it finds indifferent or hostile to its needs and interests, and reluctant to change.'

Such a culture comes from the top, so the role of the chief executive and leader is crucial. But their approach must not conflict with the rest of the staff.

Other advice includes:

- Getting political approval for using the private sector

- Testing community support

- Officers should involve unions and councillors when developing proposals

- The private sector must understand the implications of working in a political environment.

- Working together is available on 0870 1226 236.

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