Benefits relating to engagement with stakeholders (both those represented within the partnership, and those outside) also featured prominently in the responses. Partnerships were seen as able to obtain different perspectives from the public, and to bring the involvement process to people at the grassroots level that use the coast and marine environment. Other responses identified partnerships as providing a central point of contact for coastal issues in the region. Linked to this was a perception of partnerships as ‘conduits’ or ‘portals’ for communicating with the community about coastal issues, and for hearing community concerns. Some responses mentioned the partnerships’ role in securing community ‘buy-in’ for coastal initiatives.
An educational role was identified for partnerships, in terms of their ability to increase public awareness of environmental and coastal issues, and opportunities to promote a broader understanding of the maritime environment. It was perceived by some that if an organisation is a member of a partnership then this will be a way to raise its profile.
11.7 The local nature of partnerships was also valued, and some commented that partnerships helped to bridge the gap between different local interests. The local perspective also provided an opportunity for monitoring local change on a scale which may not be identified nationally.