Organisations have long recognised that close, constructive working relationships are good for business. Many more are now realising that a structured, systematic approach to defining benefits, processes and competencies that will support delivery of such collaborative relationships is fundamental to success.
A structured approach to supporting effective business relationships led to the development of BS 11000, published in 2010. This has now become an International Standard – ISO 44001.
The specification is designed to be applicable to organisations of any size or structure.
What is ISO 44001
The objective of this Standard is to provide a framework that is integrated into an organisation’s established operations, activities, processes and procedures, to optimise the benefits of collaboration.
The standard addresses both the overall requirements to establish a management system and operational process requirements for organisational relationship engagement. The framework addresses a number of themes that cascade from the high level management system. These evolving themes impact the behaviours and organisational culture of collaborating organisations to ensure they are effective, optimised and deliver enhanced benefit to the stakeholders through collaborative approaches.
Its overall aim is to help organisation establish and improve how collaborative relationships work. It is not designed as a ‘one size fits all’ standard. The variety in the nature of collaborative relationships, from internal divisions to multi-party consortiums, means that consistency within a framework is sought, with application tailored to the specific requirements of the organisation involved.
Why Implement the Framework Specification?
ISO 44001 places a strong emphasis on value, trust and improvement. It provides a framework for achieving mutual goals, boost performance and more effectively share knowledge, skills and resources. Effective collaborative relationships lead to increased efficiency and effectiveness through creating value. It also supports transparency and understanding of governance processes in partnership arrangements. This leads to better cost and risk management, as well as levels of innovation not normally achieved in typical relationship.
The National Audit Office (NAO) undertook research to examine how organisations have been able to realise improvements in the successful delivery of projects by working in collaborative partnerships. The resulting summary report, published in November 2006 arrived at three key conclusions which are equally valid today:
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