Spring is in the air, and we have a lot of good news to share from Collaborate HQ!

Firstly, we’ve published a new – and very simple! – Guide to Collaboration: what it is, why it matters and how to do it well. We’ve distilled everything we’ve learned about collaboration from years of supporting collaboration in teams, organisations and partnerships of all kinds into a few handy pages.

The Guide sets out six foundations for good collaboration, describes the roles that people can play to support collaborations they’re involved with, and includes some simple questions to help you reflect on the health of any collaboration you are involved with. It also links to a wide range of additional resources by Collaborate and others whose work we admire. We hope you find it useful; do share with colleagues and let us know what you think.

We’re also hosting a discussion about it on May 2nd. This will be an open lunchtime event to hear from members of the Collaborate team about the new Guide and ask us and others the questions you’ve always wanted to ask! We’ll be on Zoom from 12:00 – 13:00. You can RSVP by clicking this link where you will receive the details to join the event.

Secondly, we are delighted to soft launch Commissioning with Communities, our new training and development programme for commissioners. Aimed at commissioners who are fed up with approaches that don’t reflect the complex realities of the issues they’re trying to address, that pit organisations in competition against each other, and prioritise process over people – the programme blends input and peer support to help you explore what different can look like and put this into practice in your own work. Developed and delivered in partnership with our friends at Ideas Alliance, the programme has a particular emphasis on co-production, Human Learning Systems, and Alliancing. We’re looking forward to trialling the programme with 25 commissioners from across England and Wales, starting later this month.

As part of our growing commissioning practice, we’re also supporting the Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime to develop innovative commissioning approaches (also with Ideas Alliance), supporting partners in East Sussex to develop a collaborative approach to commissioning welfare benefits and debt advice, and are working with stakeholders in Devon to help them develop a Human Learning Systems-inspired alliance commissioning approach along with HLS colleagues, Gary Wallace (Plymouth City Council) and Alex Fox (Mayday Trust).

To find out more about how we can help you develop your commissioning approach, and to be informed about future cohorts of the training programme, please contact Dawn Plimmer at [email protected]

Third, we’re excited to have been appointed as the new provider of the London Leadership Programme, London Council’s flagship development programme investing in the next generation of senior leaders in London.

Our programme will support rising leaders across the capital to look up and out, becoming comfortable working across difference, with communities, in partnerships, and in conditions of uncertainty. We will bring a fresh, inclusive and creative approach and are looking forward to welcoming our first cohort later in the summer.

To find out more about our work on collaborative leadership, please contact Elle Dodd at [email protected]

Finally, we’re happy to welcome Amanda Kilroy to the Collaborate team. Amanda joins us from her previous role as CEO of Exeter CoLab, and brings a wealth of experience of cross-sector collaboration and system leadership. Welcome Amanda!

Wanting more? You can read Ellen Care’s new blog about our work on building healthy engagement systems with the British Science Association here, and keep an eye out for learning from our work on community engagement with Birmingham City Council and system thinking with ClientEarth. And if you want to know more about anything mentioned above, or to discuss how we could support you, get in touch!

Anna and the Collaborate team