Unlocking impactful change in society

Today’s complex societal challenges, spanning refugee crises, poor education outcomes, and climate change, cannot be tackled by governments alone. At times of turbulence and uncertainty, how can public officials effectively collaborate with external partner organisations, in both private and non-for-profit sectors, to unlock efficient and successful programmes? 

Leading Cross-Sector Partnerships is an interactive, three-day programme designed to enable public leaders to adopt a more strategic approach to contract management and deliver more impactful partnerships. Blending theory with practice, this programme explores the fundamentals of cross-sector partnerships, highlighting innovative case studies that embed impact measurement and relational practice to achieve meaningful social change. Participants will develop frameworks and practical tools - including template clauses - to move partnerships towards success and drive positive impact.  

Developed by experts from Oxford University, the course is a response to the frustrations reported by practitioners in government towards short-term and transactional approaches in managing complex, multistakeholder partnerships. The course provides strategies to facilitate more relational partnership models. It equips participants to tackle today’s complex challenges, with an emphasis on building coalitions for impactful partnerships, while navigating potential organisational obstructions related to procurement, audit, and risk management.  

The programme fosters a systems-strengthening approach and learning culture within impact-focused partnerships, addressing long-term implications and learning agendas. 

At a glance
Applications for 2025 are now open
Programme dates14 – 16 May
Duration3 days
Cost£3,750 – includes accommodation and all meals
Alumni discountBlavatnik School alumni are entitled to a 25% discount

The course was fantastic. Really inspiring, thought-provoking and useful for seeing different ways of inspiring cross-sector partnerships and therefore outcomes. Great, knowledgeable, motivational teaching staff, really well organised, curated and a great group of fellow students that it was also inspiring to be with. Highly recommended! 

Janet Phillipson, Head of Commissioned Rehabilitative Services Strategy
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Course Topics
  • Assessing partnership models, managing contract tensions, and embedding outcomes 
  • Balancing formal contracts and relationships for better outcomes 
  • Building coalitions, overcoming organisational obstacles 
  • Exploring 'relational' contracting, mitigating risks 
  • Strengthening systems and fostering learning in partnerships. 
Participant Profile

This course is open to mid-senior policymakers in strategic partnership roles, or those who are about to take on roles that require an understanding of Public-Private Partnerships and the public contracting landscape for social programmes.

We also welcome those at the top of their department who wish to gain a more rounded understanding of cross-sector partnerships and market stewardship. Additionally, the course is open to those working in philanthropy, in the not-for-profit or private sector who wish to gain a deeper understanding of partnership options with government.

Application Process

Admission to the Leading Cross-Sector Partnerships programme is selective and based on professional achievements, organisational responsibilities and personal motivations. To apply, complete the online application form and attach your CV and organisational chart. You will then have a phone interview with the Programme Director to determine eligibility.  

Course Logistics

Facilitated by the Government Outcomes Lab team at the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford, the course is highly immersive and interactive. Lectures, case studies, simulations, panel and peer-to-peer discussions will offer a forum in which to discuss challenges and develop step-change approaches. The Oxford experience will include dinners with fellow participants and faculty members at historic Oxford colleges. 


The total cost of the course is £3,750. This includes tuition over three days from world-class experts and academics, accommodation, and meals. The course fees exclude overseas transport, visas or other incidentals. 

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The Oxford Experience

Our programmes immerse you in the intellectual culture of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Its excellence and international profile rivals that of any university in the world, and the University has been educating global leaders for over 800 years.

Our residential programmes, as well as our fellowships, offer opportunities to explore the city and its famous colleges. Many include walking tours of the city’s most important historical and politically relevant places, as well as formal dinners in centuries-old Oxford dining halls. And you will get the best of both the old and the new by being based from the ultramodern award-winning Blavatnik School building.

Whether in residence or online, you will be tapping into the extraordinary depth and breadth of research excellence found at Oxford University, as well as its power to convene people from all over the world. All our executive programmes are led by a member of the Blavatnik School faculty, who are leading Oxford professors and associate professors.