Partnership guide

Frank, F. & Smith, A. (2000). The Partnership Handbook. Hull, QC: Human Resources Development Canada. Available from:


This comprehensive resource on partnerships was created by Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) to support the development of partnerships. Although the main focus of the Partnership Handbook is on community-based partnerships, this tool would be relevant for anyone interested in partnering with others to achieve group goals.

This guide is divided into six sections, each containing helpful tips, stories and questions to support the use of the guide in your partnership effort.

Section I: Definition of a partnership (including partnership function and structure)

Section II: Conditions that support partnerships and assessment tools (including assessing your readiness to partner)

Section III: The partnership process (see steps below)

Section IV: Knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to undertake a partnership

Section V: Common issues and possible solutions when partnering (transition management, leadership, burnout, etc.)

Section VI: Characteristics of different partnership approaches (including rural, northern and urban partnerships)

Steps for Using Method/Tool

Section III of the Partnership Handbook discusses the steps involved in developing an effective partnership.

Stage 1: Initial development

  • Create a vision for the partnership.
  • Create partnership goals.
  • Understand the current situation – conduct a SWOT analysis to assess your organization's or community's readiness to partner.
  • Confirm partnership commitment.
  • Select partners.
  • Understand the implications of your partnership (legal issues and others).

Stage 2: Making it happen

  • Develop action plans for partnership goals (see Action Planning Summary Sheet to summarize actions needed for each goal).
  • Articulate resources needed (human, financial and infrastructure resources).
  • Articulate roles and responsibilities for partners.
  • Establish a code of conduct for how partners will interact.
  • Build capacity within the partnership and develop strategies to support skill and knowledge growth.

Stage 3: Evaluation and setting future directions

  • Assess partnership progress and achievements.
  • Set future directions.
  • Revise, renew or end your partnership (checklist for closing a partnership).

These summaries are written by the NCCMT to condense and to provide an overview of the resources listed in the Registry of Methods and Tools and to give suggestions for their use in a public health context. For more information on individual methods and tools included in the review, please consult the authors/developers of the original resources.

We have provided the resources and links as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by McMaster University of any of the products, services or opinions of the external organizations, nor have the external organizations endorsed their resources and links as provided by McMaster University. McMaster University bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external sites.

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