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Evaluation of a multi-agency partnership approach to the development of sports safety policy in New South Wales, Australia
  1. R G Poulos*,
  2. A Donaldson
  1. Correspondence School of Public Health and Community Medicine, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia

Abstract

Previous Australian research indicates industry support for a state-wide, all-of-sport policy to promote a strategic, evidence-based, sustainable approach to sports safety. A multi-agency key stakeholder partnership, directed by a credible industry leader was identified as key to the policy development process. In 2009 we used telephone interviews, a partnership analysis tool, and document and observational analysis to evaluate the creation and implementation of a partnership approach to sports safety policy development. The state department of sport led the partnership which included state sporting organisations, government departments and non-government organisations. Participants identified that the partnership approach to policy development provided the opportunity to incorporate multiple stakeholder perspectives, promote policy ownership within the sector, increase policy impact, establish a standard approach to policy development across sports-related issues and raise the profile of sports safety. There was strong support for collaborative sharing of resources, knowledge and experience across stakeholders. The majority of participants were satisfied with the establishment, operation and outcome of the partnership. However, some participants indicated that a partnership approach to policy development was not commonplace in sport, and therefore there was some confusion around why some non-sports sector partners had participated. A credible industry leader, a dedicated and experienced partnership manager, and a neutral, respected facilitator all contributed to the success of the partnership. Repeated evaluations of the determinants of an effective partnership are recommended, and investment in addressing deficiencies is required.

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