8: Networking and partnership

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Networking and partnership are aspects of effective community work, and in this chapter we pin down their importance and the unique contributions that can be made when they work well. Those working in community work settings rarely work in isolation and more usually work together with others with common goals, including those of the communities and individuals we work with, in order to facilitate change and improvement. We propose that, intrinsic to good community work practice are relationships, connections, links, good communication, shared values and interests within scenarios which require work, and that partnership practice is present at all levels of community work.

We also look more deeply into collaboration and its distinct function in networking and partnerships, while acknowledging the challenges and dangers in joint working. Equality of participation in partnership and networking is something which requires constant attention to the dangers of territorialism and competition. We introduce the reader to some well-known and less well-known authorities on partnership and networking in our references.

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