This toolkit is designed to help new health justice partnerships (HJPs) get started and existing partnerships either document or review the way in which they work together.
This resource is a response to HJP practitioners asking for guidance on developing an MOU. We are here to support best practice in this important work so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions. We can also support you in setting up and building an effective HJP.
Why sign an MOU?
Predictability and understanding in partnership relationships is fundamental to their success.
An MOU is a useful tool that can:
- document the intentions of how two or more partners are going to work together;
- set a framework for collaboration between two or more partners; and
- ensure that values, intentions and scope of each partner’s contributions are clear and agreed; but
- be easily adapted as circumstances change.
Without an MOU it is easy for misunderstandings to arise between partners about their respective responsibilities.
You do not need to use this template, but we strongly recommend:
- having an agreement;
- ensuring that the agreement covers key matters (see the Checklist attached to this guide);
- making sure it has been looked over by a lawyer, is easy to understand, and helps your partnership operate effectively.
Whether you are using this template or another format, keep in mind that there are no right answers or options. Your MOU should be true to your partnership. Also remember that effective partnerships are context specific, adapted to meet the needs of the communities that they serve.
MOUs should be drafted in the spirit of partnership. They are not commercial contracts, and are not intended to be legally binding. There should not be any traps for either party. Obligations should be kept as even and as clear as possible between partners.
When you have finished adapting the template, remember to delete notes, and check that the document numbering and any cross-referencing is correct.
Who should use this toolkit?
The template MOU and this guide are designed for partnerships where two organisations plan to retain their separate identities but come together to deliver health justice outcomes. (It is not an agreement to set up terms of referral from one service to another, nor is it an agreement to establish a single organisation that employs both health and legal professionals).