The Co-location of YP4 and Centrelink in Bendigo, Australia: An Example of Partnership in Action

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Grace, Marty and Coventry, Louise (2010) The Co-location of YP4 and Centrelink in Bendigo, Australia: An Example of Partnership in Action. Journal of social work, 10 (2). pp. 157-174. ISSN 1468-0173 (print) 1741-296X (online)


Summary: One expression of partnership between two organizations is the sharing of office space, often known as co-location. In early 2006, case managers employed by Loddon Mallee Housing Services (LMHS), a community-based organization in the regional city of Bendigo, Australia, co-located with the Bendigo office of Centrelink, the Australian government’s statutory income support agency. This article explores Centrelink and LMHS staff and management expectations of co-location as well as the reality of co-location as experienced by the staff involved. It is based on interviews conducted with staff and managers before co-location occurred and again six months thereafter. • Findings: Co-location is a powerful strategy for strengthening inter-agency relationships. The Bendigo example of service co-location provides confirmation of the benefits of co-location suggested in previous literature, including greater respect and trust between professionals from different backgrounds and with different status; informal information exchange, learning and sharing; enhanced feelings of teamwork and belonging; improved morale among staff; and enhanced communication, learning and understanding of roles. • Application: This study found that key issues requiring attention by organizations contemplating co-location include building on pre-existing trust and goodwill; thorough planning, taking into account the potential impact of co-location on third parties as well as client and organizational priorities; attending to logistical details, taking particular account of timelines for connection of telephones and internet access; consulting widely and including all relevant stakeholders in decision-making processes; promoting flexible attitudes and openness to change among affected staff; and seeking to acknowledge and contain rather than remove differences in organizational culture and practice. Compatibility, rather than sameness, should be the goal.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1177/1468017310363642
Official URL
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Historical > FOR Classification > 1607 Social Work
Historical > SEO Classification > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work)
Keywords ResPubID21556, co-location, collaboration, human service, organizations, partnership, workers’ experiences
Citations in Scopus 1 - View on Scopus
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