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Table 3 Strengths and weakness of the use of standardised partnership assessment tools

From: An exploration of inter-organisational partnership assessment tools in the context of Australian Aboriginal-mainstream partnerships: a scoping review of the literature

Strengths Weaknesses/limitations
• Useful in providing ‘snapshots’ on the strengths and weaknesses of partnership practice [62] Provide little in-depth contextual data to assist the reflection on and evaluation of partnership outcomes [62].
• Provide easily accessible, simple and cost-effective means to measure the basic characteristics of a partnership’s work and the collaborative progress during the lifetime of the partnership [62] Generally inadequately capture the complex, dynamic and context specific nature of partnership working. Halliday et al. believe that formal tools are open to misinterpretation if used as a ‘stand-alone device’ [60]
• Data obtained can provide a developmental framework for establishing an effective partnership and can be used in all transitional stages of partnership development, including formation [84] • Overreliance on standardized guidelines and analysis tools may not only deny the complexity and idiosyncrasy of collaborative situations, but risk surfacing the tension and exploring the pluses and minuses of alternative ways of addressing issues [85]
• Partnership tools can help build knowledge and capacity in local communities that endures beyond the periods of funded program implementation, thereby enhancing the benefits gained from local community partnerships [84] Application of partnership tools can be time consuming
• A structured tool can help to discriminate between performance of different partnerships and also between different aspects of partnership working [57]. • The need to demonstrate ‘value for money’ and tangible outcomes for partnerships funded by short term government initiatives can result in the use of an ‘auditing tool’ to show success rather than supporting ongoing development through the exposure and discussion of partnership strengths and weaknesses [84]