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Partnership Brokering Project – Survey findings

A pleasing number of people from the global network of partnership brokers (114) responded enthusiastically to our recent survey. Responses indicate an interesting level of consensus about the way forward for this work and we (the staff team and the International Development Group) will be using the findings as a basis for the comprehensive development plan from January 2011.

We feel our general direction has been warmly endorsed and have summarised the findings below. A full summary of responses can be downloaded here.

Warmest good wishes for the Festive Season and for all the important work that will be undertaken by you and other partnership brokers in 2011!

Survey headlines include:

Training
  • Expansion of open Level 1 training courses to new regions warmly welcomed (SE Asia, Africa and USA specifically mentioned)
  • Strong endorsement of sector-specific Level 1 options – Health and Extractives sectors achieving highest rating
  • Respondents indicated a high need for single sector or individual organisation trainings for every sector – business, donors, governments, international agencies and NGOs
  • Some made the case for small groups for Level 1 making it possible to be highly personal and responsive to individual brokering challenges
  • Many endorsed Level 1 being a residential programme in a ‘retreat’ setting as an important aid to getting participants out of their comfort zones
  • Warm enthusiasm for other post-Level 1 training opportunities with the following emphasis:

–          Cross-sector exchanges (88 rated this as ‘high importance’)
–          New Leadership training (78 rated this as ‘high importance’)
–          Specialist topics (55 rated as ‘high importance’) – with negotiation, communication, reviewing and personal development being singled out as topics
–          Level 1 refresher courses (46 rated as ‘high importance’)

  • 55 respondents thought a Masters level qualification (Level 3) would ‘add significantly to knowledge and influence’ on partnership brokering –a long-distance course being an important component and a strong emphasis on practice
Research
  • An overwhelming majority, 88.7%, of respondents said that there was a demand / need for evidence demonstrating the impact of brokering.
  • The theme that received the highest marks in terms of ‘usefulness’ was “A comparative analysis of brokered versus un-brokered partnerships.”
  • Suggestions for other research topics were largely variations of the ones proposed (see LEARNING section of website for more details)
  • Research into internal versus external brokering was suggested
  • There was considerable enthusiasm for being involved in research from the respondents
Network, Institute & Influence
  • Strong interest in a community of practice as long as it was well moderated – with particular enthusiasm from many in developing regional chapters / networks (ie linking Level 1 graduates from different cohorts but living and working in the same region)
  • Interest in some international and regional events to ‘put brokering on the map’ with decision-makers and leaders in all sector
  • Considerable support for an international professional institute of partnership brokers – though some expressed a level of dissatisfaction with other professional institutes and hope that this would be different.

Outcomes from Australia

Our first partnership brokers training in Australia was in August 2005 – since then there have been 5 further cohorts – now run under license to Dixon Partnership Solutions). The ‘critical mass’ achieved through 6 cohorts has produced some interesting post-Level 1 brokering collaborations. As just one example, four Level 1 alumni from the region have come together to build partnering capacity in Primary Health Care Partnerships in Queensland, Australia. Three of the same team have also been involved in assisting business / community partnership brokers working in education as part of a recent Federal Government initiative throughout Australia.

This group found that, even though they had come from different cohorts, working together was easy as there was common experience, tools and approaches. The team is hoping that their learning from these brokering projects will be part of the Partnership Brokering Project research work going forwards.