19th February Journal Column

Web-LogoBy Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

I’ve always been a big supporter of collaborative working. I understand why some people want to achieve success on their own, but I also don’t see anything wrong with getting a little help along the way. If there’s someone out there to help you, meaning you’ll reach that end goal a little quicker, then why not?

The British Standard (BS) 11000 standard gives you the knowhow to get the most from collaborative working. It helps you build and benefit from partnerships by sharing resources, costs and contacts, as well as improving opportunities.

BS 11000 Collaborative Business Relationships provides an eight stage approach to help organisations work with other organisations more effectively, regardless of size and sector.

The approach involves stages such as awareness, understanding business objectives, an internal assessment to evaluate how your organisation is best positioned to collaborate, finding the right partnership, working out how to reach a mutual and maximum benefit before recognising internal and external changes before disengagement.

The framework enables organisations to apply good practice principles to their own way of working and has wide applications for public, private and not-for-profit organisations on how to manage valuable business relationships within the supply chain.

For those organisations with well-established processes, the framework provides a common language that can help engagement, whilst for those starting out it creates a road map for the journey.  There are simply no limitations to which organisations can benefit from BS 11000.

BSI was the first certification body to be recognised by the Institute of Collaborative Working’s (ICW) BS 11000 Certification Validation scheme. Following on from the success of BS 11000, the standard has now been developed into a new international standard – ISO 11000.

Whilst the International standard principally addresses the management system of an organisation, it also recognises that effective collaboration requires two or more organisations to work together.

ISO 11000 will incorporate the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) management structure whilst still using the eight stage model of BS 11000, which is currently under public consultation until 7 March 2016.

The essence of collaborative working is to reduce barriers between those in the construction or project team, thereby improving communications, reducing conflicts and, therefore, improving outcomes.

Last year the winner of the Constructing Excellence in the North East ‘Project of the Year’ award came from a collaborative working project and it was an outstanding example of how partnership collaboration can achieve an end goal.

Branching out to international standard only opens more doors and offers more opportunities to businesses of all sizes in all sectors. It will be interesting to see what the outcome of the public consultation is… I’ll definitely be checking back in with this come March.