Arguably, partnerships emerged to address knowledge deficits inherent in other modes of coordination, in understanding between different agencies and arms of government (‘silo mentality’), and between government and the people it serves. As an increasingly prevalent form of governance, there is concern about whether partnerships produce benefits that contribute to the public good. This article considers their value in producing intangible assets in the form of knowledge. Tacit, embodied knowledge enhances an individual's capacity to act. Using the concept of intangible assets, we propose a more relational approach to understanding governance that challenges the current instrumentalist thinking within the UK Labour government's modernisation agenda.