A Self-Assessment Tool for Partnerships

The Partnership Self-Assessment Tool helps improve partnership effectiveness at all levels of development. This resource may be used by program administrators in a variety of ways, and provides them a list of principles to help guide engagement, communication, and partnership activities.


The Partnership Self-Assessment is a tool to help partnerships at all levels of development to assess and improve the effectiveness of their collaboration. It is based on, and meant to be used in conjunction with, the Guide to Successful Partnerships for Child Care.

The Guide contains 10 principles of successful partnerships and a number of strategies related to those principles. The 10 principles were developed based on feedback from successful partnership project leaders throughout the country regarding the factors that they view as most critical to partnership success. They are:

  • Principle 1: Successful partnerships have clear goals.
  • Principle 2: Successful partnerships aim to achieve positive results and regularly measure their progress.
  • Principle 3: Successful partnerships involve families and include them when developing programs and services.
  • Principle 4: Successful partnerships are broad-based and include key stakeholders from the beginning.
  • Principle 5: Successful partnerships involve powerful champions and make their initiatives visible to the public.
  • Principle 6: Successful partnerships establish clear governance structures that define partner roles and responsibilities.
  • Principle 7: Successful partnerships establish and adhere to a set of ground rules that guide the partnership in its work.
  • Principle 8: Successful partnerships are flexible, adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, and adapt to changing conditions and resources.
  • Principle 9: Successful partnerships enable all partners to benefit by drawing on their strengths and contributions.
  • Principle 10: Successful partnerships work to maintain momentum and to sustain their work over time.

The Self-Assessment Tool allows partners to rate their progress in implementing individual elements related to each principle. The ratings for each principle can then be entered on the summary chart to provide an overall picture of the effectiveness of collaboration, which areas are strong, and which areas need improvement. Partners can then find ideas and strategies for strengthening their performance under specific principles within the Guide to Successful Public-Private Partnerships for Child Care, and within other tools and materials developed by the project.

Options for Using the Tool

The Partnership Self-Assessment Tool can be used in a variety of ways depending on the level of development and the priorities of a partnership. For partnerships that are just getting started, the Self-Assessment Tool provides a list of principles and tasks that can guide the process of engaging partners and developing partnership activities. For partnership projects that are more established, the self-assessment can be used as one component of larger efforts to evaluate partnership progress.

The Self-Assessment tool involves essentially assessing the process of bringing partners together and working to achieve desired results. Other tools have to be employed by partnership projects to measure whether they are actually making progress toward their desired results. If a partnership finds that they are not achieving their desired results, the self-assessment tool may help to determine why.
The Self-Assessment Tool can also be used as a relationship-building tool by providing an opportunity for all of the partners involved in a project to assess and discuss their perceptions of partnership progress.

Building and maintaining effective partnership projects require dedicated time and ongoing attention to the collaborative process. The Partnership Self-Assessment Tool can help partnerships to focus on, assess, and improve the quality of their collaborative efforts. Full text» [PDF, 944KB]

See also:
    A Guide to Successful Public-Private Partnerships for Child Care

A Self-Assessment Tool for Partnerships. NCCIC/QUILT Project. 2006. English. [PDF, 994KB].

Last Reviewed: October 2012

Last Updated: November 13, 2014