Partnerships - From Concept to Reality
II. Beginning Stages
Note: These frequently asked questions are not intended to be legal advice regarding any specific partnership activity, but rather a way to facilitate the Department's consideration of partnership issues. Employees considering partnership legal issues should consult with their supporting Solicitor's Office attorneys early in the process, and often as the partnership is carried out.
Partnerships have the potential to take a very wide variety of forms. The Department recognizes that almost any time that a federal or non-federal individual or entity is working together with the Department, that working relationship may be considered a partnership. However, many of these relationships, such as procurements and contracts, intergovernmental personnel assignments, and individual volunteer relationships, are covered by well-defined and well-established sets of rules. These topics are too broad to be effectively addressed in the Primer or these FAQ's. As a result, the Primer and these FAQ's use the term " partnership " to refer to situations when the Department or its agencies work together with non-federal groups or entities in a cooperative manner to foster the objectives of both parties, in circumstances other than those listed above.
The easiest way to begin to explore the legal and practical aspects of developing, executing, and closing out partnerships is to follow a basic time line: starting with the plan, idea, or proposal for a partnership; through the initial stages of development, including arranging funding, establishing agreements or other means to accomplish the goals, and addressing the practical aspects of how the partnership will perform; considering issues that arise as the partnership operates; and finishing with matters associated with wrapping up partnership activities and terminating the partnership.
The frequently asked questions in this part are organized chronologically along the lines of how a partnership would develop. The FAQ's are designed to help readers use this Primer more effectively. (See other parts for definition of Partnerships and explanations of Partnership-related concepts and authorities).