AbstractThis article presents an analysis of the policy rhetoric of partnership and the reality of the process of partnership working using data from a qualitative case study of a sub-regional partnership. The purpose of the partnership is to widen participation in post-16 learning in the Black Country, a part of the Midlands in England. Data collected through observation of partnership meetings, in-depth interviews with members of the Partnership Board and documentary analysis provide a rich insight into the work of the partnership and the processes that have shaped its lifecycle. The findings reveal that at one level of analysis, partnership can be interpreted as a pragmatic response to New Labour's policy initiatives in the post-16 sector of education and training but this reading of the data does not explain the ability of the case study partnership to sustain itself over a period of over five years. A deeper analysis of the stages in the lifecycle of the partnership indicates that shared goals underpinned by mutual values and trust amongst key people in the partnership constitute the 'social glue' that hold organizations and individuals together to provide the basis of effective and sustained partnership working.
CitationJournal of Further and Higher Education, 29(3): 211 - 219
PublisherRoutledge (Taylor & Francis)
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education