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Cross-Sector Collaboration for Better Social Outcomes

June 07, 2018

EVPA partnered with MAZE - Decoding Impact, a Portuguese Social Finance intermediary, to issue a report on cross-sector collaboration for better social outcomes

Effective cross-sector collaboration encompasses projects where the public, private and social sectors collaborate in different ways (e.g. financially, operationally, etc.), working towards common societal objectives and outcomes.

The report draws on live cases to explore the implications of cross-sector collaboration, preconditions for success, governance arrangements, actionable learnings and key challenges.

Thanks to the support of a task-group composed of renowned practitioners in the VP/SI sector, we identified the following success factors for cross-sector collaboration:

  1. Boldness: tackling complex social challenges demands bold leadership, willingness to iterate and great flexibility to learn and adjust along the way. Successful projects generate momentum for a cross-sector partnership to engage in innovative or even disruptive strategies.
  2. Responsible leadership in cross-sector partnerships: initiatives where the leading partner assumes an inclusive approach seem to achieve larger impact. Irrespective of its sector – social, public or private – the leading partner must be able to involve all other project partners in setting the objectives, implementing the action and measuring outcomes. This will increase the chances of success of the project and help it achieve greater outcomes.
  3. Engagement and co-creation: the more each party is engaged in the process, the more traction it can generate. A strong sense of co-creation fosters a strong motivation and alignment of incentives. Taking time to build the relationship between all parties and building the case for collaboration from the outset is crucial before entering a project.
  4. Making a match: initiators must find the right partners to cooperate with, in order to ensure a well-running design and implementation of cross-sector collaboration for social outcomes. Often, the right partners are not necessarily the most senior, but the most committed.

Recording: EU Webinar #11: Fostering public private collaboration to address social issues

During a webinar on 12 December 2017, we discussed the topic of Public Private Collaboration. EVPA has mapped initiatives across Europe where joint efforts from the public and private sector are brought together to tackle social issues.

VP/SI practitioners currently engaging in Public Private Collaboration projects have presented their experience and learnings. 

Celia Tennant (CEO, Inspiring Scotland), shared her vision on how to create strong and sustainable relationships with central and local government for resource allocation towards social issues. Hannah Goldie (Manager, Social Finance UK) and Bex Evans (Associate, Social Finance UK and currently seconded to SafeLives) presented The Drive Project and shared the learnings from designing and implementing a multi-agency approach to address the issue of domestic abuse.

These collaborations have a varied range of intended outcomes: inform public policy, improve efficiency of social services and/or build ecosystems for social innovation.


This article was written by

Bennet Barth Bennet Barth

Joana Cruz Ferreira Joana Cruz Ferreira

Antonio Miguel Antonio Miguel

Priscilla Boiardi Priscilla Boiardi


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