One of the most powerful approaches that cities and counties have used to achieve ambitious goals for creating healthy neighborhoods is partnering, particularly in an era of tight budgets for local agencies and community organizations.
Working alone, an individual local agency may lack the resources, knowledge or reach to accomplish major change. However, partnering with others provides a way for local officials to develop a common agenda for action, leverage resources and tap into outside expertise. In short, combining the efforts of individual partners can greatly magnify the effects of healthy neighborhood policy and program initiatives launched by local agencies.
Local partnerships typically involve one or both of the following elements:
Coordination within a public agency or department.
Collaboration among public agencies and other public or community-based organizations.
In many instances, implementing changes in policy or practice requires crossing internal administrative boundaries within a particular local agency. Local officials can ensure that the various departments within the agency are pulling together. The challenge for local officials is to make sure that leadership is provided at each of the necessary points to foster effective coordination.
Collaboration among independent entities involves a different approach and set of skills than coordination within an organization, where there are clear lines of authority and accountability. A collaborative partnership often involves establishing new relationships and channels of communication among the partners.