Interesting article about interagency collaboration, written by Marty Grace (School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Victoria University,
, Australia), Louise Coventry, (School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Victoria University,
, Australia), and Deb Batterham (Hanover Welfare Services, Research and Policy,
This article reports on research into the relationships that a group of case managers formed with local service providers in order to deliver integrated, “joined-up” services to young people experiencing homelessness and unemployment in the state of Victoria, Australia. Using a two-part customized survey tool, we explored the number and nature of relationships with other agencies. Two focus group discussions contributed to the interpretation of the survey findings. We found that these case managers maintained many relationships, mostly with housing and employment service providers. These relationships were predominantly cooperative in nature, and most could not easily be characterized as collaborative. Our research supports the view that, in an increasingly complex social service system, other forms of cooperation are usually appropriate for achieving the types of interorganizational relationships that are important to assist shared clients. Furthermore, this research supports the notion of a relationship continuum, finding that ratings of relationship elements were positively correlated with relationship type. This research indicates the importance of considering the pragmatic, contextual and situated practices that comprise interagency relationships, their fitness for purpose and the importance of cooperation for effective service provision.
For more information, please read the Journal of Interprofessional Care, December 6, 2011, Early Online.