Sunday, 12 January 2014

Listen to people's stories and feedback

A half – way house for young offenders had always been able to build good relationships with the youths in its care, the police and the other local authorities and services it needed to work with in partnership.

Quite suddenly, however, this ability to build positive relationships disappeared, almost overnight, and nobody could figure out why.

That is until one of the assistant cooks working in the kitchen just happened to mention that the police liaison officers had recently changed, and that whereas the original ones took off their hats, jackets and lapels before they entered the building, the new ones did not.

She had noticed that this caused anxiety and suspicion amongst the young people at the centre and that their behaviour had altered accordingly. This was not surprising given their history and previous experience of the police; it was more or less a conditioned response.

As soon as the new officers were given this feedback and they began taking off their hats, jackets and lapels before entering the building, the anxiety, suspicion and negative behaviour began to disappear and relationships gradually returned to normal.

Listen to the stories and feedback of your partnership's people. Informal feedback from perhaps unexpected sources can help identify problems accurately and enable them to be addressed quickly and effectively.

For more about collaboration go to: Sleeping-with-the-Enemy-Achieving-Collaborative-Success-2nd-Edition

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