Steps of cross-sectoral collaboration
Contact potential partners
The creation of or participation in a cross-sectoral collaborative space starts with the simple but crucial step of contacting the sectors with which you wish to collaborate. Establishing initial contact can happen by making a quick phone call, sending an email, or participating in trainings, conferences and other networking activities. Introduce yourself, talk about your sector, its mission and its accomplishments, and do not forget to mention that you are interested in collaborating by sharing what it is that you are looking for and what you have to offer.
Define the goal and objectives of the collaboration
Each of the participating sectors benefits from a collaboration in numerous ways. Nevertheless, it is essential to undergo a joint process of reflection on the values, vision and the goal inherent to the collaboration. Next, it is important to define concrete objectives and short- and long-term results, as well as the means and resources needed to achieve them. This should also include deciding on the indicators, targets and evaluation methods that will be used to evaluate the attainment of each objective. It is strongly recommended that this process of reflection be incorporated into an action plan that each of the partners can use as a foundation. This action plan will also facilitate the evaluation of the actions.
Define the structure and objectives of the collaboration
An efficient collaboration is based on a structure and procedures that have been clearly defined by the partners involved in order to assist in its smooth operation and address everyone’s expectations. This implies :
- Defining everyone’s roles and responsibilities.
- Establishing rules of procedure when planning and conducting meetings. For example, determining the means of communication, the frequency of meetings and the person or people responsible for following up and drafting the agenda and the meeting minutes;
- Allocating leadership roles in an equitable manner and clarifying the decision-making process.
Evaluate and share the results of the collaboration
An evaluation is important in order to measure the results achieved by the action plan, but also to evaluate the assessment of the collaboration by the partners involved. Do not forget to take the time to celebrate your accomplishments and share your experiences as well as the successes of your collaboration. Here is a list – by no means complete – of collaboration evaluation tools available online for free. You can use them as is, modify them to suit your needs, or draw upon them.
- Self-evaluation Tool for Action in Partnership (Bilodeau et al., 2014)
- In French only : Grille d’analyse du partenariat (Fortier, 2016).
In English : Partnership Assessment Tool (Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research, 2004-2019)
- The partnerships analysis tool : A resource for establishing, developing and maintaining partnerships for health
promotion (VicHealth, 2011)
- Trousse d’évaluation participative (Kranias, 2018) – available in French only
“This is one of the things I like a lot about networking outside of our organization. For example, I attend community dinners which require that I go somewhere else each month. This increases my visibility among youth and intervention workers, and they get to know me. When you call me to engage in friendly contact, it makes things more fun, more personal. That way,
when it’s time to do more specific tasks and start working together, we already have an idea of how that other person works.”
— Community intervention worker
- Bilodeau, A., Galarneau, M., Fournier, M., Potvin, L., Sénécal, G. et Bernier, J. (2014). Outil diagnostique de l’action en partenariat. (2014). Recovered from the website of Chaire de recherche du Canada Approches communautaires et inégalités de santé (CACIS) : (PDF) (Only in french)
- Bodkin, A. and Kranias, G. (2017). What successful partnerships do : 6 key activities. Recovered from (PDF)
- Fortier, J. (2016). Grille d’analyse du partenariat. Repéré sur le site de Institut sur le vieillissement et la participation sociale des aînés de l’Université Laval : (PDF) (Only in french)
- Health Nexus. (2014). Terms of reference builder. Recovered from (PDF)
- Health Nexus. (2017). Planning for partnership.Recovered from (PDF)
- Kranias, G. (2018) Participatory Evaluation Toolkit. Recovered from the website of Health Nexus : (PDF)
- Leclerc, B-S. et Lessard, S. (2015). Évaluation de la qualité d’un partenariat dans le cadre de la mise en place d’une intervention intersectorielle de type école, famille et communauté. Recovered from (PDF) (Only in french)
- Marion, E. (2018). Construire la collaboration intersectorielle pour favoriser la réussite scolaire des jeunes en situation de placement : naviguer entre problématisations et controverses (Thèse de doctorat, École nationale d’administration publique, Montréal, Québec). Recovered from (PDF) (Only in french)
- Public Health Agency of Canada. (2016). Canadian Best Practices Portal : Key Element 6 : Collaborate Across Sectors and
Levels. Recovered from (link)