1.4 Who is in charge of the ‘partnership’ function?

Partnership is everyone’s business; as such there may not be a single staff member dedicated solely to partnership coordination. This also means that the ‘partnership’ function can sometimes fall through the cracks. Establishing and maintaining productive partnerships requires the input of many, at both strategic and operational levels.

Position Key responsibilities
National or field-based partnership focal point Main focal point for liaison with partners on all routine programme and operational matters. Should be appointed for each project/ project partner (often, this is the  programme manager)

Programme coordination team (ACD programme, programme coordinators)


Selection of partners, establishment of partnership (incl. joint programme design and planning, negotiation, contracting), nurturing and monitoring the partnership, oversight of implementation of joint programme, joint learning


Finance and support staff


Assist with operational aspects of partner selection, contracting, financial management and compliance, logistics, procurement and audit

Safety and Security staff

Country Director and senior management team

Involved in risk analysis and support partner security management

Oversight of CO partnership policy and procedures, strategic identification of partners and nurturing relationships, high representation and if needed, dispute resolution.

CI Humanitarian Partnership Coordinator Provision of remote support on partnering in emergencies, CARE-wide lead on ‘localizing aid’, CARE-wide monitoring and reporting against Charter for Change commitments and  respect of Partnership Principles; coordination of CARE-wide learning on joint/partnered responses.


Managing partnerships  involves a number of CO staff including:

  • Country Director
  • ACD and programme coordinators
  • Partnership focal points (if they exist)
  • Project and field staff
  • Finance, procurement and audit staff
  • Safety & Security managers

While many staff members may be involved, it is critically important that clear roles and responsibilities be defined for establishing and managing the partnership, for communicating with the partner agency, for authorising decisions and for resolving disputes. A good model involves appointing a single, appropriately senior field-based staff member as the focal point for all dealings with the partner, backed up by a senior management team for higher-level issues, such as building the strategic nature of partnerships and resolving issues that have escalated.

. However, in partnered or joint emergency responses, it is very valuable (if not essential) to have a senior staff member dedicated to partner liaison. A sample job description for a Partnerships Coordinator is available at Annex 12.1.