There are real benefits for both sides when public and private sector work together on digital inclusion programmes. At its most basic, you're matching people who need help with people who want to help - which is a fundamental benefit all round.

And once you start working on a PPP, there are lots of places it might take you. But how do you find the right partner and work together in a way that works for everyone? Here's what we learnt about partnerships over the last few years.

How do you find a partner?

Sometimes, a partnership just happens and a private company will offer help to a public organisation in need! But more usually, the public partner needs to do some work to find the right match...

Two women fist bump at adjacent desks
  • Look local and do your research: who’s got presence in your area? What brands are ESG-engaged? Who has a vested interest in digital inclusion? 
  • Have your own house in order: make sure you have clear digital inclusion goals and a strategy that your partner can understand and align to/ match.
  • Know your audiences/ beneficiaries and their needs. Evidence those needs!
  • Have clear asks of the PPP in line with your strategy, audience and needs.

How do you set the relationship up to succeed?

You need to work together and share...

  • Clear (and realistic) definitions of success!
  • Meaningful measures of success that you can measure. Build this at the start, don't add it on at the end. 
  • Language: define what you mean by certain terms so you're talking about the same thing.
  • Be realistic about timescales. Both organisations will have different priorities and ways of getting things done. Always be generous.

How can the public partner make it work?

  • Have a dedicated ‘point person’ who holds the relationship.
  • Provide consistency of opportunity, especially for face-to-face volunteer placements
  • Identify locations/ fixed areas where people can help 
  • Consider pilots/phasing
  • Be open to creating online opportunities, particularly remote/ hybrid ones
  • Remember: employee volunteer experience matters – make it as ‘easy’ and rewarding as possible

What should the private partner do?

  • A dedicated ‘point person’ who holds the relationship - you need one on both sides.
  • Clarity & openness about your goals and how their goals align with them.
  • Internal capacity to manage employee volunteers placements, whether face-to-face or online/ hybrid
  • Provide proper training, support & resources for volunteers: don't assume they know everything. There's more about how we can help here.
  • Manage any placement preparation such as DBS checks.
An older and younger man using a laptop together

What you both need to do!

  • Take time to understand each other's world and context. It's really worthwhile
  • Fix a regular time to talk and stick to it.
  • Share digital inclusion friends, dreams &challenges.
  • Flexibility, willingness and honesty are all crucial. If it’s not working, say so!
  • Celebrate success: events, awards, reports, conferences - value what you've achieved and share it!