A new British Standard that aims to help businesses work collaboratively has been officially launched.
The standard, BS 11000, provides a strategic framework for organisations to build and manage collaborative relationships with each other, and to ensure that the relationships are effective and optimised to deliver benefits for all stakeholders. The standard was developed by BSI and not-for-profit firm Partnership Sourcing Ltd (PSL).
Speaking at the launch of the standard at the House of Lords last week, Lord Strathclyde, leader of the House of Lords and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: "The significant challenges faced by both government and industry today require innovative approaches in all sectors as we strive to reduce the budget deficit and stimulate growth for the UK. This will require strong co-operation, collaboration even, between industry and government."
The launch follows Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude's announcement to key suppliers that the government would be opening the market to smaller suppliers and mutuals.
"We will expect you to partner with them as equals, not as subordinates," Maude said earlier this month.
BS 11000 can be used by any organisations in the public and private sectors, and outlines a framework that can be scaled and adapted to suite business requirements. It is based on the Public Available Specification, PAS 11000, which was a joint initiative between the Department For Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Confederations of Business Industry (CBI).
PSL's operations director, David Hawkins, said: "BS 11000 has come about because we recognised the growing trend for collaborative alliances, partnerships, networks and outsourcing programmes whose success rests heavily on the strength of relationships.
"We also realised that, in most cases, these are organic relationships supported by champions not embedded in the organisations and, so, potentially they are less sustainable.
He added: "We also saw that, left to themselves, highly promising collaborations can fail to build the foundations and, when the going got rough, they cracked. Estimates suggest that up to 80% of such arrangements are deemed to fail."
According to the BSI's website, the standard "can help build trust between your organisation and its partners. This in turn will help increase your joint efficiency, enhance transparency and openness, strengthen your ability to challenge and innovate, and understand each other's governance and assurance processes."