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The Power of Partnerships

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The complexity of learning disabilities especially for this age group of teenagers and young adults necessitates partnership working in order to address all their needs. Huxham & Vangen (2005) define partnership working as ‘ Any situation in which people are working across organizational boundaries towards some positive end’ (p. 4). Partnership working brings the more effective provision of a wider range of services that meets and addresses the needs of clients as well as benefits the professionals involved in the partnership (Tait & Shah 2007). The Audit Commission (1998) describes joint working arrangements of partners as independent bodies who agree to cooperate to achieve a common goal.

They get to share relevant information, jointly agree on a programme often with common staff or resources and share the same risks and rewards. Foster (2002) explains that “ collaborating local authorities will seek to align and incorporate strategic objectives while retaining flexibility and influence over outcomes and assuring value for money” (p. 21). This implies that the vision shared by the collaborating agencies call for an alignment of their business culture and aspirations for comparable levels of service quality that entails a commitment to openness between these agencies (Foster, 2002).

The Audit Commission (1998) also identified five main reasons why agencies come together to develop partnerships. One is to deliver coordinated services for targeted individuals. In the case of Kool Care, the clients there need coordinated services to help them with their learning disabilities by addressing the specific need of managing the disability while transitioning to more productive endeavors such as further schooling or finding a job. Another reason for the partnership is to tackle “ wicked” issues or those with complicated matters that cannot be resolved by one agency alone.

In learning disabilities, teachers of regular education are not enough in supporting the special needs of individuals with learning difficulties.

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