The Partnership Facilitation Programme

AuthorYvonne Anderson
Publication Date01 Sep 2005
The Partnership
Facilitation Programme
Yvonne Anderson
Service Development Adviser
Health and Social Care Advisory Service
Case Study 3
he Partnership Facilitation programme was
developed for use in child and adolescent mental health
services, but has applications across a number of other
related services. This case study sets out to:
nexplain how and why the programme came about
ndescribe the process of its development
nprovide an overview of the resource: structure,
content and intended outcomes
ndiscuss the implementation
npresent some initial findings indicating changes to
Context and background
CAMHS context
The National CAMHS Support Service (NCSS)1was
established in 2003 as a three-year intensive programme
led by national director Bob Foster and comprising a
team of regional development workers (RDWs). The
development of NCSS reflects the unprecedented
interest and investment in CAMHS over the past few
years, which has been matched by greater expectations
for delivery and a faster pace of change, as demonstrated
in recent national policy and guidance, primarily the
2004 National Service Framework for Children and
Maternity Services2and the Children Act (2004) which
provides the legal framework for EveryChild Matters.3
The role of NCSS has been to work strategically
across the country in establishing common standards of
practice and strengthening processes and procedures in
commissioning and provision. One vital way in which
TRDWs have set out to fortify local services has been by
working with the CAMHS partnerships. (The
equivalent of a CAMHS partnership in adult mental
health is the local implementation team or LIT.)
Partnership working is not new in CAMHS and there
are many examples of thriving partnerships across
children’s services. But as the CAMHS agenda has
broadened, the range of partners has expanded and the
tasks that partnerships are required to perform has
increased. Partnership members vary considerably in
professional background, prior knowledge and previous
experience; expertise may exist in pockets and there
may be significant gaps.
Background to the programme
By autumn 2003 RDWs werereporting pressures on
CAMHS partnerships. The agenda was so large and
the pace of change so rapid that some partnerships
were struggling. Even partnerships that were able to
stay on top of the fast-moving agenda were reporting
that little or no time was left to build effective
working relationships and collaborative practice. The
sheer diversity and complexity of these issues,
manifest across the different regions, led to the idea
of developing one or morenational resources that
would promote common core standards but allow for
local context and variation. It was clear that support
was required in two main areas: the need to assist
partnerships with the specific tasks and functions
they werecharged with carrying out; and the
requirement to provide a method by which
partnerships could systematically assess their own
progress towards their targets. Two resources were
subsequently developed: the partnership facilitation
The Mental Health Review Volume 10 Issue 3 September 2005 ©Pavilion Publishing (Brighton) 2005 25
1More information about NCSS at the website:
2The NSF can be found on the Department of Health website:
3Every Child Matters is the government response to the Climbié inquiry and can be found at:

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