Steps of Twinning

The following are the key stages in setting up a partnership:

Step one: Find a partner

Ensure compatibility by making an exploratory visit. Check that you have enough in common to sustain a relationship. Decide on the type of relationship you seek: formal/informal/time limited/focused on one issue. Set out the initial possibilities for joint activities.

Step two: Formalise the relationship

Make the relationship official through a charter or agreement. Agree a strategy or work plan for your activities and projects with your partner, together with funding possibilities and a flexible timetable. Communicate your aims and objectives to secure support and involvement by politicians, council officers and the wider community and invite input.

The strategic plan should consist of three sections:

1. the aims and objectives of the partnership, encompassing all components of the organisation and community;

2. a methodology, explaining how the aims and objectives will be achieved; and

3. a list of desired outcomes and benefits, providing a starting point for reviewing and evaluating the project.

The plan should be accompanied by a flexible timetable, with deadlines for activities and a list of both the resources available and those required.

It is possible that each partner could have different aims for a link, but as long as there were broad agreement, it should be possible for both sets of objectives and projects to be undertaken. A strategic plan will not only ensure that participants have a clear idea about the purpose of the partnership, but would also serve to inform other people about the partnership for the purposes of transparency and bring new participants on board.

Step three: Augment the partnership

Set a schedule for activities. Assign responsibilities for each function. Plan, consult and inform.

Step four: Follow up

Monitor activities, review procedures and improve as necessary. Continue to communicate aims, objectives and achievements to the wider community.

Example: Link with France


1. To forge educational links, relating to the teaching of modern foreign languages and the authority's objective to introduce French to primary schools.

2. To promote cooperation between small businesses.


1. Organise a seminar for teachers on funding opportunities from the British Council.

2. Include teaching staff on next exchange visit to France.

3. Organise a programme of visits to local schools by next incoming French delegation.


1. To develop ten friendship links by the end of year.

2. To develop four EU funded projects for schools, under the Comenius programme.

This is the eigth of a series of articles about twinning published by the Local Government Association (LGA) on their website. The original can be found here Copyright in this article belongs to the Euoropean and International Division of the Local Government Association who have very kindly given us permission to use it, for which we thank them.