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How will this tool help?

Whatever your pathway to scale, collaboration with new stakeholders is crucial. This may include implementing, referral, or technical partners. Establishing criteria for prospective partners is crucial, guiding recruitment efforts toward those who align with strategic objectives. This tool will help define partner criteria, instil confidence in collaborations, and start to map out potential partners, offering a systematic approach to building strategic alliances.

Doing this has a number of benefits:

  1. It can help you to ‘recruit hard and manage easy’ – it is easier to promote quality in your scaling model by ensuring that partners have appropriate skills, qualities, and knowledge at the outset rather than trying to correct mistakes after they arise;
  2. It can promote reasonable expectations and accountability, as well as allow partners to ‘self-select’ (saving you time and effort in the recruitment process).


To use the tool worksheet, please follow these steps:

  • Make a copy to your own Google Drive folder: Click file -> Make a copy > Entire presentation > Select your personal Google Drive folder, OR
  • Download a copy to your desktop: Click file > Download > Microsoft Word (or other file type)

Step 1

Identify the essential and desirable criteria

In the worksheet, use the following table to map out the essential and desirable criteria that any prospective partner would have to evidence for you to be confident working with them to deliver your solution at scale. 

Consider what you expect partners to do* and the qualities needed to meet those expectations. You will also want to consider what a prospective partner needs to have in place before engaging with you and what skills or qualities can be developed later. 

* Please refer to the roles and responsibilities tool if necessary.

The categories help structure your brainstorming, but please consider any other factors you believe would be necessary for your scale model. 

Bear in mind that different partners may have different criteria – you may need to complete this exercise multiple times depending on your proposed scaling model.


Step 2

Reflect on your partner profile

Take a step back and reflect on your partner’s profile. For each criteria that you have set, answer the following questions:

  • What was your reason for setting this criteria?
  • Are you confident this criteria is required to allow a partner to deliver impact? Have you properly categorised that criteria as either essential or desirable?
  • Must this criteria be satisfied before working with this partner? Is it not something that a partner can develop in their role?
  • Are the criteria, assessed as a whole, overly restrictive?


Step 3

Assess prospective partners

In the worksheet, use the table below to map out potential partners that you believe could fit your partner profile. This map could include specific organisations or a general class of partners (such as CCGs, Academy Trusts, etc). You should assess the pros and cons of each group concerning your partner profile and any other factors you consider relevant.

Reflect on the following questions:

  • How easy was it to map out your potential partners? 
  • What might this tell you about your implementer profile? Is it too restrictive or permissive?
  • Do you have any other reflections?

Step 4

Test your partner profile in practice to assess

  • Are your chosen criteria appropriate for identifying partners who can deliver your solution’s impact at scale?
  • Are the partners who meet your partner profile interested in and capable of working with you?



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