Hostname: page-component-797576ffbb-k7d4m Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-12-05T01:22:14.742Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Capacity building with older people through local authority and third-sector partnerships

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 November 2013

Independent Researcher, Birmingham, UK.
Institute of Local Government Studies, School of Government and Society, College of Social Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK.
Address for correspondence:Robert Dalziel, Independent Researcher, 12 Vista Green, Kings Norton, Birmingham B38 9PD, UK. E-mail:


In May 2010 a Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition Government was elected in the United Kingdom, which immediately started to plan a programme of wide-ranging cuts in public spending. However, in the face of severe economic problems the new government retained the outgoing government's emphasis on active ageing. This paper examines capacity-building partnerships between local authorities and third-sector organisations in LinkAge Plus (LAP) pilot areas in England, which were set up to find better ways to meet the needs of older people and empower them to become active citizens. The study on which this paper reports used theory on partnerships and collaboration to interrogate LAP pilot evaluation reports, along with current thinking on capacity building and work designed to improve services and outcomes for older people. The main findings are that capacity building in partnerships stimulated joined up working, which resulted in improved knowledge and skills in providing existing services. At the same time, new services emerged that meant older people were more involved in networking activities and social capital was created through their engagement in policy making, identifying needs, service design and finding solutions to problems. However, there were few instances of ideological activity that challenged established values and ways of working to go beyond traditional health and social care approaches in the delivery of services for older people. The potential impact of ongoing cuts in public spending are also considered.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Andrews, R. and Entwistle, T. 2010. Does cross-sectoral partnership deliver? An empirical exploration of public service effectiveness, efficiency and equity. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 20, 3, 679701.Google Scholar
Astley, W. G. 1984. Toward an appreciation of collective strategy. Academy of Management Review, 9, 3, 526–35.Google Scholar
Atkinson, R. 1999. Discourses of partnership and empowerment in contemporary British urban regeneration. Urban Studies, 36, 1, 5972.Google Scholar
Audit Commission 2008. Don't Stop Me Now: Preparing for an Ageing Population. Local Government National Report, Millbank, London.Google Scholar
Barnes, M., Skelcher, C., Beirens, H., Dalziel, R., Jeffares, S. and Wilson, L. 2008. Designing Citizen-centred Governance. Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York, UK.Google Scholar
Bovaird, T. and Tizard, J. 2009. Partnership working in the public domain. In Bovaird, T. and Loffler, E. (eds), Public Management and Governance. Routledge, London, 233–49.Google Scholar
Bowling, A. 2008. Enhancing later life: how older people perceive active aging? Aging and Mental Health, 12, 3, 293301.Google Scholar
Cabinet Office 2010. The Coalition: Our Programme for Government. Available online at [Accessed 12 July 2011].Google Scholar
Cabinet Office 2011. Giving White Paper. Available online at [Accessed 12 July 2011].Google Scholar
Cairns, B. and Harris, M. 2011. Local cross-sector partnerships: tackling the challenges collaboratively. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 21, 3, 311–24.Google Scholar
Civil Renewal Unit 2004. Firm Foundations: The Government's Framework for Community Capacity Building. Available online at [Accessed 23 April 2009].Google Scholar
Cropper, S. 1996. Collaborative working and the issue of sustainability. In Huxham, C. (ed.), Creating Collaborative Advantage. Sage, London, 82100.Google Scholar
Davis, H. and Ritters, K. 2007. LAP National Evaluation Team Interim Findings. Warwick Business School, Coventry, UK.Google Scholar
Davis, H. and Ritters, K. 2009. LAP National Evaluation: End of Project Report. Department for Work and Pensions, Warwick Business School, Coventry, UK.Google Scholar
Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) 2008. Communities in Control: Real People, Real Power. Available online at [Accessed 3 June 2009].Google Scholar
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) 2005. Opportunity Age: Meeting the Challenges of Ageing in the 21st Century. Available online at [Accessed 23 April 2009].Google Scholar
Department of Health 2006. Our Health, Our Care, Our Say: A New Direction for Community Services. Available online at [Accessed 3 May 2009].Google Scholar
Diamond, J. 2008. Capacity building in the voluntary and community sectors: towards relative independence – limits and possibilities. Public Policy and Administration, 23, 2, 153–66.Google Scholar
Diamond, J. and Liddle, J. 2005. What are we learning from the partnership experience? Public Policy and Administration, 20, 3, 13.Google Scholar
Durose, C. and Lowndes, V. 2010. Neighbourhood governance: contested rationales within a multi-level setting – a study of Manchester. Local Government Studies, 36, 3, 341–59.Google Scholar
Eden, C. and Huxham, C. 2001. The negotiation of purpose in multi-organizational collaborative groups. Journal of Management Studies, 38, 3, 374–91.Google Scholar
Edward, P. 2002. Active Ageing: A Policy Framework. World Health Organisation, Second United Nations World Assembly on Ageing, Madrid. Available online at [Accessed 28 April 2009].Google Scholar
Fredericksen, P. J. 1996. Community collaboration and public policy making: examining the long-term utility of training in conflict management. American Behavioral Scientist, 39, 5, 552–67.Google Scholar
Gray, B. 1985. Conditions facilitating interorganizational collaboration. Human Relations, 38, 10, 911–36.Google Scholar
Gray, B. and Wood, D. J. 1991. Collaborative alliances: moving from practice to theory. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 27, 1, 322.Google Scholar
Hardy, C., Lawrence, T. B. and Grant, D. 2005. Discourse and collaboration: the role of conversations and collective identity. Academy of Management Review, 30, 1, 5877.Google Scholar
Healy, J. 1998. Welfare Options: Delivering Social Services. Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, Australia.Google Scholar
Hilton, J. 2008. Streamlining the Assessment of Attendance Allowance Applications with Social Care Assessment: An Evaluation of Two London Pilots. Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No. 534. Available online at [Accessed 23 April 2009].Google Scholar
Treasury, HM 2007. Public Service Agreement 17: Tackle Poverty and Promote Greater Independence and Wellbeing in Later Life. Available online at [Accessed 1 June 2009].Google Scholar
Treasury, HM 2010. Comprehensive Spending Review 2010. Available online at [Accessed 9 July 2011].Google Scholar
Hudson, B. and Hardy, B. 2002. What is a successful partnership and how can it be measured? In Glendinning, C. (ed.), Partnerships, New Labour and the Governance of Welfare. Policy Press, Bristol, UK, 5167.Google Scholar
Huxham, C. 1993 a. Collaborative capability: an intra-organizational perspective on collaborative advantage. Public Money and Management, 13, 3, 21–8.Google Scholar
Huxham, C. 1993 b. Pursuing collaborative advantage. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 44, 6, 599611.Google Scholar
Huxham, C. 1996. Collaboration and collaborative advantage. In Huxham, C. (ed.), Creating Collaborative Advantage. Sage, London, 119.Google Scholar
Huxham, C. 2000. The challenge of collaborative governance. Public Management, 2, 3, 337–57.Google Scholar
Huxham, C. 2003. Theorizing collaborative practice. Public Management Review, 5, 3, 401–23.Google Scholar
Huxham, C. and Vangen, S. 1996. Working together: key themes in the management of relationships between public and non-profit organizations. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 9, 7, 517.Google Scholar
Huxham, C. and Vangen, S. 2004. Doing things collaboratively: realizing the advantage or succumbing to inertia? Organizational Dynamics, 33, 2, 190201.Google Scholar
Huxham, C. and Vangen, S. 2005. Managing to Collaborate: The Theory and Practice of Collaborative Advantage. Routledge, London.Google Scholar
Huxham, C. and Vangen, S. 2009. Introducing the theory of collaborative advantage. In Osborne, S. P. (ed.), The New Public Governance? Emerging Perspectives on the theory and practice of public governance. Routledge, London, 163–85.Google Scholar
Immergut, E. M. 1998. The theoretical core of the new institutionalism. Politics and Society, 26, 1, 5–4.Google Scholar
Johnson, C., Wiggan, J, and Kawalek, P. 2008. LinkAge Plus Pilot Salford. Evaluation Report, Manchester Business School, Manchester, UK.Google Scholar
King, C. and Cruickshank, M. 2010. Building capacity to engage: community engagement or government engagement? Community Development Journal, 47, 1, 528.Google Scholar
Lasker, R. D., Weiss, E. S. and Miller, R. 2001. Partnership synergy: a practical framework for studying and strengthening the collaborative advantage. Milbank Quarterly, 79, 2, 179205.Google Scholar
Logsdon, J. M. 1991. Interests and interdependence in the formation of social problem-solving collaborations. Applied Behavioral Science, 27, 1, 2337.Google Scholar
Lowndes, V. and Sullivan, H. 2004. Like a horse and carriage or a fish on a bicycle: how well do local partnerships and public participation go together? Local Government Studies, 30, 1, 5173.Google Scholar
Milbourne, L. 2009. Remodelling the third sector: advancing collaboration or competition in community-based initiatives? Journal of Social Policy, 38, 2, 277–97.Google Scholar
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Local Government Association (England and Wales) 2003. Capacity Building – Developing the Potential. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, London.Google Scholar
Putnam, R. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Simon and Schuster, New York.Google Scholar
Ritters, K. and Davis, H. 2008. Access to Information and Services for Older People – The Joined Up Approach. Department for Work and Pensions Working Paper No. 53. Available online at [Accessed 4 May 2009].Google Scholar
Sowa, J. E. 2009. The collaboration decision in nonprofit organizations: views from the front line. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 38, 6, 1003–25.Google Scholar
Wassmer, U. and Dussauge, P. 2011. Value creation in alliance portfolios. The benefits and costs of network resource interdependencies. European Management Review, 8, 1, 4764.Google Scholar
Watt, P. and Blair, I. 2009. LAP: The Business Case. Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No. 573. Available online at [Accessed 12 April 2009].Google Scholar
Watt, P., Blair, I., Davis, H. and Ritters, K. 2007. Towards a Business Case for LAP. Department for Work and Pensions Working Paper No. 42. Available online at [Accessed 12 April 2009].Google Scholar
Willis, M. 2006. Partnership action learning. In Rigg, C. and Richards, S. (eds), Action Learning, Leadership and Organisational Development in Public Services. Routledge, New York.Google Scholar
Willis, M. and Dalziel, R. 2009. LAP Capacity Building – Enabling and Empowering Older People as Independent and Active Citizens. Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No. 57, Department for Work and Pensions, London.Google Scholar
Wilson, L., Crow, A. and Willis, M. 2008. Village Agents: Overall Evaluation Report. Institute of Local Government Studies, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.Google Scholar
Wood, D. J. and Gray, B. 1991. Toward a comprehensive theory of collaboration. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 27, 2, 139–62.Google Scholar