These resources are designed to help voluntary and community organisations (VCOs) understand the opportunities and challenges of collaborative working, the different partnership structures or models that can be used, and the types of agreements associated with them.

These resources are primarily aimed at smaller organisations that are new to the current collaboration environment, but will also be relevant to those VCOs that have more experience of commissioning.

What these resources are for

These resources are intended to:

  • provide practical information to inform planning and decision-making about partnerships;
  • provide practical activities and template documents as starting points for the various stages of putting together a real partnership;
  • give organisations more confidence and determination to enter into discussions about collaboration, rather than reject collaboration as an option without due consideration.


The diagram below provides an overview of different approaches to collaborative working and the generic stages of developing a partnership, and indicates where these resources fit and how they relate to each other. As noted, however, collaboration can be complex, and the distinctions between different approaches can be less clear in practice than this diagram suggests.

The need for legal advice

You will see that each template contains a note/disclaimer - not to put you off using them, but to help ensure they're used in an informed way. All the templates are based on real documents and intended to be used in real situations. They're as simple as possible, so you can enter relevant names, dates, etc. and they're ready relatively easily. However, all agreements and contracts potentially have a legal status, and words can have specific meanings that may be different to the meaning you intended them to have. Of course, demanding that you must always get legal advice before using these templates isn't helpful to small organisations, given the potential cost. But Voscur cannot accept responsibility for difficulties that may arise as a result of adapting and using these resources. We would therefore encourage common sense and a second opinion. Use your trustees and their contacts to get an informed view of when different documents are appropriate and when you really do need to get independent legal advice.

To get started with the resources, click the diagram below - it will open in a new window. The blocks on the left of the diagram indicate the various stages of developing a collaboration, and the key questions you are likely to ask at each stage. The corresponding blocks on the right show you which resource will help you answer those questions.

Or for further background information about the resources, and guidance about how to use them, click one of the links on the right.     

  Background and context


Click the diagram below to view the Collaboration Support Resources overview. Individual resources are below.


If you have any other questions about these resources and Voscur's support for collaboration, please call 0117 909 9949 or email

Or click here to view the overview diagram.

Collaboration Support Resources available:



These resources were produced as part of Building Health Partnerships, a project commissioned by the NHS Commissioning Board, NAVCA, IVAR and Social Enterprise UK.

NHS Commissioning Board     NAVCA


IVAR     Social Enterprise UK