Perceptions of success of a local UK public health collaborative

H. J. Littlecott, K. R. Fox, A. Stathi, J. L. Thompson

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Successful public health initiatives require multi-sector collaboration. AVONet was a UK collaborativedeveloped to provide evidence-based strategies for active ageing. This study explored the success ofAVONet in the achievement of its objectives as perceived by all partners. A convergent parallel mixedmethodsdesignwas employed, utilizing a quantitative survey and qualitative semi-structured interviews.Data collection was undertaken in September 2010, 18 months after establishing the collaborative and 6months after funding had ceased. AVONet partners (n = 24) completed a 27-item survey. A sub-sampleof four academics and four practitioners participated in semi-structured interviews. Quantitative andqualitative comparisons were made between academics’ and practitioners’ perceptions of success,potential for sustainability and satisfaction with structure and relationships. Participants perceivedthe AVONet collaborative positively. Significant between-group (academic v practitioner) differencesin survey responses were observed for success (U = 19.5; p = 0.003) and structure (U = 125.5; p = 0.001).Strong positive correlations were observed between success and structure and balance between informationtransfer and exchange (r = 0.756; p < 0.001). Interviews confirmed positive perceptions andperceived importance of the collaborative and highlighted the need for further integration and tangibleoutcomes for practitioners. Suggestions to enhance sustainability were provided, such as smallerworking groups and local council-led governance. Perceived success in building a multi-sectoral collaborativecan be achieved during a 10-month period, despite differing needs of contributors. For collaborativesdeveloped as a result of external funding aimed primarily at facilitating research, involvement ofpractitioners at an early stage may help set more comprehensive goals, supportive communicationstrategies, and increase potential for sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-112
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Promotion International
Issue number1
Early online date27 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


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