Unit 5 Working in Partnership HSC

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The aim of this unit is to enable learners to develop understanding of the importance of working positively in partnership with others in health and social care.

Unit abstract

Working in partnership is a key element of practice within health and social care. The concepts of power sharing, consultation and joint ways of working are essential for effective service provision.Health and social care professionals need to understand the importance of promoting autonomy with individuals. They also need to be aware of their own roles and responsibilities and how they relate to others within the sector. Learners will explore the nature of partnership on three levels. First they will examine partnerships with users of services that empower individuals to make informed decisions and encourage independence. Second they will consider partnerships between different professionals within health and social care and explore inter-agency working. Finally, they will investigate organisational partnerships and examines different ways of joint working at a strategic level. Learners will study a range of theories and research findings relating to partnership philosophies and joint working practices. Methods of promoting positive partnership working will be analysed along with relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures. Learners will also examine strategies to improve the outcomes of partnership working for users of services, professionals and organisations.

Learning outcomes

1 Understand partnership philosophies and relationships in health and social care services

  • Partnership philosophies: empowerment; independence; autonomy; respect; power sharing; making informed choices
  • Partnership relationships: with users of services eg children, elderly, young people in care, people with disabilities, people with learning difficulties, people with mental health issues, patients, refugees, asylum seekers; with professional groups eg social workers, health workers, educationalists, therapists, support workers; with organisations eg statutory, voluntary, private, independent, charitable, community forums.

2 Understand how to promote positive partnership working with users of services, professionals and organisations in health and social care services

  • Positive partnership working: empowerment; theories of collaborative working; informed decision making; information sharing; confidentiality; professional roles and responsibilities; models of working eg unified, coordinated, coalition and hybrid models; management structures; communication methods; current inter-disciplinary and inter-agency working eg Multi-Area Agreements (MAA), Local Area Agreements (LAA); joint working agreements
  • Legislation affecting partnership working: current and relevant legislation eg relating to health, social care, safeguarding children and young people, mental health, disability, data protection, diversity, equality and inclusion
  • Organisational practices and policies: current and relevant practices; agreed ways of working; statutory, voluntary and private agency practices; local, regional and national policy documents produced by eg government departments, specialists units, voluntary agencies; risk assessment procedures; employment practices; service planning procedures.

3 Be able to evaluate the outcomes of partnership working for users of services,professionals and organisations in health and social care services

  • Outcomes for users of services: positive outcomes eg improved services, empowerment, autonomy, informed decision making; negative outcomes eg neglect, abuse, harm, anger, miscommunication, information overload, confusion, frustration, duplication of service provision, disempowerment.
  • Outcomes for professionals: positive outcomes eg coordinated service provision, professional approach, clear roles and responsibilities, organised communication, avoidance of duplication, preventing mistakes, efficient use of resources; negative outcomes eg professional rivalry, miscommunication, time wasting, mismanagement of funding
  • Outcomes for organisations: positive outcomes eg coherent approach, shared principles, comprehensive service provision, common working practices, integrated services; negative outcomes eg communication breakdown, disjointed service provision, increased costs, loss of shared purpose.
  • Barriers to partnership working: lack of understanding of roles and responsibilities; negative attitudes; lack of communication, not sharing information; different priorities; different attitudes and values
  • Strategies to improve outcomes: communication, information sharing; consultation; negotiation; models of empowerment; collective multi-agency working; dealing with conflict; stakeholder analysis.


  • Garvey, W.T., Ryan, D.H., Bohannon, N.J.V., Kushner, R.F., Rueger, M., Dvorak, R.V. &Troupin, B. 2014, "Weight-loss therapy in type 2 diabetes: effects of phentermine and topiramate extended release", Diabetes care, vol. 37, no. 12, pp. 3309-3316.
  • Goodwin, K., Syme, C., Abrahamowicz, M., Leonard, G.T., Richer, L., Perron, M., Veillette, S., Gaudet, D., Paus, T. & Pausova, Z. 2013, "Routine Clinical Measures of Adiposity as Predictors of Visceral Fat in Adolescence: A Population-Based Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study: e79896", PLoS One, vol. 8, no. 11.

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