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Christian Service News

Issue 37 (Oct 2002)

Topic : Director's Column

Building Strategic Partnership

Mr Ng Shui Lai

Strategic partnership is a well-accepted business practice for many years. It is a proven effective method for businesses to build wide alliance and to streamline their cost. It allows businesses to concentrate on their core operation and necessary outsourcing; thus improved quality. While this method can be effective in the social welfare sector, it is; however, a rather new concept in the industry. The social welfare sector puts great emphasis on human dimension and therefore is reluctant to work with anyone who "does not understand social welfare". However, when social welfare issues become more and more complicated while the demand for service quality reaches its height, a social welfare organization will have an increasing difficulty to provide top quality services on its own. The time has come for the social welfare sector to consider forming strategic partnership with other sectors in the society. It seems that such approach will be equally beneficial to the social welfare sector as it has been to the business world. Nevertheless, the key is to help the strategic partners understand social welfare.

There are added values in building strategic partnership. Clearly, monopolization of any sector in a community will not help in its development but thwart its growth. It is when all sectors in our community are involved that we build a better society. By building strategic partnership, the social welfare sector actually provides a platform and a channel for other sectors to participate in social welfare service. This is indeed an effective way to get the whole community involved.

Another added value is to bring in various expertises to the social welfare field. Nowadays, problems that individuals and families encounter are multi-dimensional. Methods of interventions used by the social welfare sector in the past may be proven ineffectual or inadequate in today's society. Hence, various aspects of professional input are much required. For instance, an effective intervention plan for a pathological gambler may include the services from social worker for coordination and counseling, psychiatric professional for pertinent treatment, lawyer for related legal services, financial expert for debt management, and so on .

We are living in an increasingly complex world. While compassion, commitment and dedication remain as the foundations of social welfare service, clients and communities demand a high standard of service quality and efficiency. Henceforth, I believe building strategic partnership is one of the most proficient answers to this new challenge.