Forming and sustaining partnerships to provide integrated services for young people: an overview based on the headspace Geelong experience

Early Interv Psychiatry. 2011 Feb;5 Suppl 1:28-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7893.2010.00237.x.


Aim: To discuss critical considerations in the formation and maintenance of agency partnerships designed to provide integrated care for young people.

Methods: Two years after its establishment, an evaluation of the headspace Barwon collaboration and a review of the health-care and management literature on agency collaboration were conducted. The principal findings together with the authors' experience working at establishing and maintaining the partnership are used to discuss critical issues in forming and maintaining inter-agency partnerships.

Results: Structural and process considerations are necessary but not sufficient for the successful formation and maintenance of inter-agency partnerships and integrated care provision. Specifically, organizational culture change and staff engagement is a significant challenge and planning for this is essential and often neglected.

Conclusions: Although agreeing on common goals and objectives is an essential first step in forming partnerships designed to provide integrated care, goodwill is not enough, and the literature consistently shows that most collaborations fail to meet their objectives. Principles and lessons of organizational behaviour and management practices in the business sector can contribute a great deal to partnership planning.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Australia
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • National Health Programs
  • Organizational Culture
  • Program Evaluation