Introduction

Interagency networks and groups have in the past been mostly informal collaborations usually between organisations and agencies working in a similar area of service delivery such as disability, mental health, youth or aged cared. This approach is very effective where there is management support, time allocation and strong leadership/role modeling.

Due to the increasing time and human resource issues for service providers today there has been a move to a more structured approach for Interagencies with groups developing agreed Terms of Reference that clearly define the role of the group and the outcomes expected from the time allocated. 

Advantages

  • A critical mass can be developed to support advocacy and to hold sector events and activities.
  • Information can easily be shared across a number of services.
  • The groups can act as informal learning circles and Communities of Practice.
  • Regular interaction builds trust and reciprocity.
  • Formal collaborations may arise from connections made during networking.

Disadvantages

  • Services suffering from work overload may struggle to find the time for informal collaborative approaches (Munn. P. 2003). Empirically, evidence indicates that this is particularly true where there are no clearly stated outcomes for the organisation or client.
  • Competitive tendering may inhibit may inhibit collaboration between local services  

Case study

Fraser Coast Commitment to Youth Network

Fraser Coast Commitment to Youth is a collaborative effort by local youth services to develop skills and capacities of young people to cope with demands of the modern market place. It provides a clear focus of energy and a common framework for action and a collective means of delivering life skills and active citizenship of young people in the Fraser Coast Region.

The vision of the Fraser Coast Commitment to Youth is to increase the wellbeing of all young people on the Fraser Coast by addressing young people’s social and recreational needs, raising awareness of a young person’s cultural needs and to be flexible in the delivery of education and training, to ensure a smooth transition to adulthood.

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