A Public Social Partnership is a strategic arrangement which embeds the Third Sector – and thereby the needs and assets of people and communities – in all stages of the design and delivery of public services.
The Third Sector has known for a long time that it makes sense to include people in the design and delivery of the services they use. The whole user-led movement is based on that understanding. Most people in the Third Sector will have had some experience of enabling change on behalf of people and communities. Most will also recognise that this approach takes time and commitment – but that this is time well spent.
The Scottish Government is keen to encourage a range of approaches which enable people and communities to have voice, to help shape the services they use, and to be more meaningfully engaged in the design and delivery of public services.
A Public Social Partnership is one way for public sector planners and commissioners to engage earlier and more deeply with Third Sector agencies acting in the interests of the people they serve. This approach puts people at the heart of service design and delivery.
If we follow the Analyse-Plan-Do-Review cycle of service design and delivery, then a PSP approach should help people to share in every aspect of the process – identifying need, designing actions, sharing in delivery, monitoring and evaluating, as well as re-framing need and re-designing actions.
Another way of putting this is that ‘Community Benefit’ is not just a desirable add-on, or an afterthought, but is central to the whole process of planning, designing and delivering public services.
The Scottish Government issued detailed guidance last year on forming and operating Public Social Partnerships, which is well worth a read.
The guidance includes details of a range of pilot programmes which have thrown up plenty of learning and food for further thought. Partners are now keen to embed a Public Social Partnership approach more deeply into the Public Service Reform agenda.
The programme to reprovide the Royal Edinburgh Hospital services is being taken forward as a Public Social Partnership, and EVOC is the Third Sector lead on the PSP.
This new way of working could represent a real opportunity for Third Sector organisations as well as for the people we work with. If you would like to know more, join us for a FREE half-day information and engagement session:
Everything you’ve always wanted to know about Public Social Partnerships – in half a day – 0930 to 1330 on Thursday 26th July 2012.
[if tweeting, we’re using the hashtag #PSP or #REHPSP]