The IPA, in conjunction with the Strategic Committee for the Criminal Justice sector and the Department of Justice and Equality, delivered in 2018-2019 the second Cross Agency Collaborative Leadership Development Programme.
This innovative, practice led programme helps senior representatives from eight organisations in the criminal justice sector work collaboratively on complex, cross-cutting issues of common strategic importance.
The process of working together brought new thinking to these strategic challenges, based on a more holistic understanding of a wider range of perspectives on the issues. Participants look at how to take a more joined up approach to policy development and implementation. This helps them together to identify new ways to resolve issues, which might otherwise have been addressed in ‘siloed’ or fragmented ways.
The experience on this programme reflects wider case examples and research in the area of collaboration. For a collaborative process to really work four key points emerge as central:
- Build the Foundation - build networks between the different partners or organisations to encourage more open communications, which can deepen trust and enhance relationships.
- Create a Common Purpose - be willing to forego individual, functional or organisational agendas for the common good and have courage to commit to a process, that can take longer but which ultimately leads to better outcomes.
- Cohesive Understanding of Collaboration - to build a common understanding of what collaboration actually is and enhance its practice across all levels. Collaboration needs to become part of the organisational fabric, role modelled and supported by the most senior management.
- Senior Level Sponsorship - critical to the success of this programme and collaboration initiatives is the level and degree of Senior Level Sponsorship. Otherwise, it is difficult to implement the fresh thinking resulting from the collaboration and enable the cultural change needed.
These points highlight how challenging true collaboration is in practice. This Criminal Justice Leadership Programme, which has been renewed for a third time for the 2019-2020 academic year, shows how it is possible and beneficial to encourage collaboration across agencies and to resolve common problems together. The process, while challenging, is rewarding and helps to ensure we leave a more innovative, dynamic and service focused public sector culture for future generations.
Pictured at the End of Programme Award Ceremony were (from left to right):
Back Row: Siobhán Bradley, Ben Ryan, David Heney, Michael Dobbs, Ed Connolly, Paul Gunning, Andrea Lennon, Lisa Scott, Margaret Griffin, Gerard Wall, Vivian Geiran, Mark Wilson, Tom Hannigan.
Front Row: Mary O’Rafferty, Angela Denning, Rob Rogers, Oonagh McPhillips, Fiona Larthwell, Helen Kealy.