Background The intuitive appeal of collaboration is reflected in the ubiquitous use of partnership discourse across health and social care services. However, the reality of working within and across organisations often fails to live up to political rhetoric or stakeholders’ aspirations; resulting in collaborative inertia rather than advantage. As hospices expand their scope to interact with the broader public health agenda, stakeholders could benefit from a shared vocabulary for partnership value, and a theoretical framework for negotiating value change.
Aim Identify and categorise a comprehensive and parsimonious list of interests to define the value which can be gained or lost by stakeholders working in cross-sector public service partnerships (CSPSPs).
Methods A meta-synthesis of national partnership evaluations published in Scotland between 1999 and 2016. The research analysed CSPSPs addressing social inclusion, community planning, health, social care, employment and skills, economic development, and environmental sustainability. Evaluation documents were coded using NVivo software, and a thematic analysis was undertaken by a solo researcher. This work was funded by a Glasgow Caledonian University studentship.
Results Partnership Value was identified as the interaction of five themes: (1) design parameters; (2) contextual catalysts; (3) service productivity; (4) community development; and (5) partnership momentum. Further sub-categorisation of these themes produced a discrete list of interests. These combine to form a Partnership Value Framework (PVF) which is then applied to the context of public health palliative care.
Conclusion Based on learning from previous CSPSPs, the PVF introduces a shared language through which hospices and their partners can discuss the creation, loss and redistribution of value within different compassionate community settings. This work challenges the assumption that partnership necessarily creates value and reframes collaborative palliative care as a negotiation of stakeholder interests.
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