Partnerships with the EPA

We work with partners to develop solutions to complex problems and to deliver better environmental and human health outcomes.

Partnerships bring together diverse expertise, knowledge and audiences. More and more regulators work with partners to develop solutions to complex problems and to deliver better environmental and human health outcomes.

Why you should partner with us

We recognise the value of working with organisations who have specific technical expertise, knowledge, skills and networks. Our partnerships help us to solve environmental problems and address environmental challenges together. They also allow us to increase engagement between the public, private, Not-For-Profit, community and education and research sectors, and accelerate the delivery of EPA priorities – water quality, climate change, environmental sustainability, emerging toxins, forestry and odour.

What guides our partnerships?

Our Strategic Plan 2021 – 24 and Regulatory Strategy, recognise that partnerships are a key engagement approach to support and deliver our initiatives.

We support the United Nations Development Goal 17 for sustainable development that states that a successful development agenda requires inclusive partnerships.

Our approach to partnerships

We see partnerships as collaborative relationships that deliver solutions to complex problems. Our partnership approach involves two or more groups coming together to address a common environmental challenge, combine resources and competencies and share risk to maximise value creation and deliver mutual benefit. They are context specific and formed to address a specific challenge or issue and they may be short or long term.

Every partnership is unique, but there are some key attributes that lead to effective partnerships.

Collaborative: longer-term, non-transactional relationship between multiple parties.

Cross sector: includes different stakeholder types such as government, civil society, business, NGOs, and academia. 

Shared interest: overlapping interest around an environmental challenge – if there is a shared problem, there is astrong reason to partner. 

Compatiblity: organisational mandates, risk appetite and conflicts of interest. 

Complimentarity: deliberately seeking difference in skills, expertise, channels and assets to improve or emphasize value. 

Sharing of risk: all parties share risk and have an incentive to engage.

Significant synergies – win/win:  the outcome from partnership approach is much greater than single organisation approach with conventional supply contracts or grants. Each individual partner achieves a net benefit.

The difference between a supplier and a partner

A partnership is a relationship based on mutual trust, openness, a long-term commitment for change, and a shared approach to risk and success that cannot be achieved through the efforts of either organisation alone.

The partnership approach will vary depending on the complexity of the environmental problem, the organisations involved, the capacity and resources to commit and the willingness to share risk.

Some problems will be addressed best through a supplier arrangement, others will benefit from a partnership arrangement.

The supplier/partnership relationship is a spectrum – relationships with more features from the left hand column are likely to be a supplier arrangement, relationships with more features from the right hand column are likely to be a partnership arrangement.

Conventional supply arrangement Full partnership arrangement
  • Low organisational diversity
  • Multiple diverse parties
  • Little overlap in environmental interest – problem sits with one party
  • Strongly overlapping environmental interests – shared problem
  • Risk transfer to third party
  • Shared risk
  • Standardised contracts / grants
  • Bespoke arrangement
  • Low management complexity
  • High management complexity
  • Task oriented
  • Shared tasks and complementary resources
  • Ongoing arrangements

  •  High partnership synergies

The partnership team

The key functions of our partnership team are to

  • build consistency of approach
  • support teams to explore, identify, establish and review strategic partnerships
  • increase visibility of partnerships across the agency and connect staff to resources and support
  • increase external visibility and provide a gateway for potential partners to engage with the EPA
  • develop tools to increase capability and support best practice
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