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Table 2 Framework for STRIVE PNG’s partnership agreement [20]

From: STRIVE PNG: using a partnership-based approach in implementation research to strengthen surveillance and health systems in Papua New Guinea

Heading Purpose of each section
Purpose of the agreement Ensure partners understand that the document describes the working relationships (which have been co-designed between organizations through the agreement joint drafting process) between their organizations for the duration of the project–it is non-legally binding and does not function as a contract
Background to the project and the partnership Builds shared understanding of the project’s history and knowledge, given different partners have different levels of knowledge about the project’s genesis
The partners Helps each partner get to know the others by providing a summary of each partner’s organizational background, given some partners were working together for the first time
Guiding principles and behaviours Supports mutual accountability by setting out practical expectations for “how” partners will behave in the partnership
For STRIVE, some institutions had encountered relationship challenges in their past work together, and had identified that committing to a principles-based approach in their working relationships would be helpful for this project
Shared vision Co-creation of a common aim builds shared commitment to the partnership, and strengthens joint understanding of why partners are working together
Individual objectives Ensures each partner has a safe space to articulate why they have joined the partnership, and what they need to get out of the partnership in order to stay engaged
Reduces mistrust and perceptions of “hidden agendas” by encouraging openness around each partner’s individual motivations and needs
Governance Promotes equity, ownership and transparency through codesign of decision-making structures, setting out horizontal (rather than vertical) accountability between partners
Resources for the partnership Provides space for each partner to articulate in-kind resources (for example, expertise, buildings, information technology [IT] communications, relationships, networks) that they can bring into the partnership
Helps to leverage the full suite of resources that each partner can tap into to advance partnership activities. This can be used to build a partnership’s work plan, and also builds equity between partners by valuing in-kind contributions
Shared and individual risks Enables partners to identify risks that are shared across the partnership, as well as risks that are specific to individual partners
In acknowledging that some partners have more to lose in a partnership, partners can explore ways to mitigate these risks and reduce power imbalances
Internal and external communication Enables partners to codesign appropriate internal communication mechanisms to keep partners equitably connected across distance (e.g. remote working, poor IT connectivity) and cultures (e.g. different preferences for verbal vs written communication)
Ensures partners have a shared understanding of how and when they will communicate about their work publicly
Intellectual property Ensures partners have a shared understanding of how information and data outputs will be owned and shared (especially important in implementation research partnerships, where there may be divergent views around national/country data ownership)
Grievances and conflict resolution Allows partners to jointly construct their preferred way of addressing tension or conflicts in their relationships (well in advance of a conflict arising)
Partnership review processes Promotes mutual accountability by providing space for partners to review the effectiveness of their partnership and relationships with each other. This is “by the partners, for the partners”, rather than an external evaluation
Managing arrivals (new partners) and departures Allows partners to jointly construct how new partners might be brought into the partnership, and how to manage the exit process should an existing partner wish to leave the partnership
Sustainability and “moving on” Enables partners to consider ways to institutionalize partnership activities (within their own organization or by scoping an alternative source of support) beyond the lifespan of the project, or have early conversations around how to approach project completion and moving on