Enablers v barriers of collaboration


  • A clear and shared vision
  • Trust at all levels of the collaborating agencies
  • Clear, shared resource plans
  • Agreed and realistic timeline and delivery pathways
  • Local cross-party political buy-in and explicit support
  • Robust governance architecture
  • All three blue light services have easily recognisable identities and retaining these are important


  • Current focus of collaboration
  • Funding streams and cycles
  • Organisational differences
  • Staff engagement and liaison with representative bodies require some attention
  • A number of instances where legislation was a barrier to collaboration were highlighted
  • Government departments need to set out a more, consistent and shared vision

Key findings

98% of emergency services respondents were involved in some form of collaboration with another emergency service and/or local authority.

90% of respondents reported that the extent of their organisation’s collaborative activities had increased over the previous 12 months.

72% of the respondents to the public opinion poll thought that the emergency services should work together more often to provide a better all-round service.

84% of the respondents to the public opinion poll stated that it was important for leaders to work together closely in order to protect the public.

76% of the respondents to the public opinion poll were confident that the emergency services worked together effectively to respond to emergencies.


“Closer collaboration has enabled us to maintain meeting the needs of our local communities”, Ambulance service respondent, England and Wales survey

“[A good outcome] would see a greater evidence based approach around ‘what works’ in emergency service collaboration” Police respondent, England and Wales survey

“Collaboration always requires extra work communicating, negotiating and sometimes compromising. However, if done well the benefits always outweigh the disadvantages” Fire and Rescue respondent, England

Successful collaboration occurs when there is a shared vision, trust and understanding between organisations and where effective governance structures are in place.


Level 1
Characterised by substantial support and deliverability

Level 2
Characterised by strong support but with more issues to manage/overcome

Level 3
Characterised by mixed support and with key barriers to manage/overcome

The creation of more single back offices

Adoption of shared key performance indicators

Further capital resource rationalisation

Adoption of co-located control rooms

More funding streams

Promotion of good practice

Sharing of individual service data

Further implementation of common protocols

Implementation of shared operational staff

Development of shared command structures

Address the disparity in data collection

Increase in joint training programmes

Supporting leadership

More direction from central government

More integrated local and national governance structures

The adoption of integrated control rooms

The adoption of one merged local budget

Alignment of terms and conditions

More comprehensive intra- service rationalisation

Police devolution

This research was commissioned by the Emergency Services Collaboration Working Group, through the Home Office. 1,069 individuals were polled across England and Wales.


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