ISO44001/BS11000: collaborative business partnerships

This paper is in 3 parts, namely:

  1. An introduction for Key Performance: where we might help support organisations, typical applications, initial marketing proposition
  2. Brief introduction to the standard: mostly the core diagram showing the 8 phases
  3. Benefits of ISO44001/BS11000


Key Performance helps companies become more effective or efficient. This may be achieved via a leadership training programme or a much larger change programme. Companies need to be assured that our intervention will in some way give them increased competitive advantage. A key strategy for many companies is to form partnerships with other organisations in order to gain some form of competitive advantage. Historically there is evidence to suggest that partnerships have not achieved the goals they were originally set.  Indeed many have been costly and embarrassing failures. Few have achieved the original goals and fewer still have created extra added value. Key Performance can provide the practical advice, support to make partnerships actually deliver enhanced value and massive competitive advantage. We would use BS1100 as a framework, but within that framework we could help organisations to:

  • Develop their partnering strategies
  • Develop collaborative leadership models
  • Develop supply chain relationships
  • Develop joint products and services
  • Facilitate the cultural fit
  • Help them develop agreed processes, protocols etc.
  • Provide independent expertise as and when needed
  • Help joint communications
  • Facilitate joint workshops
  • Build joint teams

The exact nature of our support will vary depending on the particular companies, their size, their industry etc. BS11000 provides a basic framework. Peter Westbrook is an accredited facilitator of the framework can envisage the sort of extra help companies will need (such as those listed above).

The MOD are now actively encouraging partnership frameworks between supplying companies (ignoring the fact that they need it more than anyone else). Companies will need to show that they are doing it to a good plan: hence the importance of BS11000. Other possible applications could be:

  • The Big Society: i.e. local partnerships
  • Large construction/infrastructure projects
  • Innovation across groups
  • New complex products and services
  • Alliances
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • The NHS i.e. GP Commissioning groups
  • Local enterprise Partnerships (LEPs)
  • Joint ventures
  • Business critical supplier integration
  • Enhancing Systems Thinking

There are more applications and in the course of time there will be ways of enhancing the basic BS11000 framework. It will also open the door to various other needs. However, please note that 99.9% of organisations do not know about the standard AT ALL!

Brief introduction to the standard

There is plenty of evidence that collaboration in whatever form (alliance, partnership, Joint venture, eco-system) can if appropriately integrated and executed provide a value business model and enhanced performance. The risk is that if adopted as bolt on to existing business processes or left to propagate the principles of collaboration by osmosis, it will likely be deemed a failure or worse be counterproductive in the longer term. BS 11000 is a world first and offers the opportunity to organisations to adopt a recognised model for building their collaborative approaches and benchmark themselves against industry good practice.

The adoption of a standard provides the foundation and catalyst against which organisations can develop the right strategy and encourage sustainable relationships that can deliver value based performance.


Benefits of working with ISO44001/BS11000

Collaborative business relationships have been shown to deliver a wide range of benefits, which enhance competitiveness and performance whilst adding value to organisations of all sizes. The publication of the ISO44001/BS11000 is a landmark for business. It is the first National Standard in the world to address collaborative business relationships. It does not represent a one-size solution, but rather provides a consistent framework, which can be scaled and adapted to meet particular business needs. Collaboration between organisations may take many forms from loose tactical approaches through to longer term alliances or joint ventures. The structure of the framework is drawn from the CRAFT framework and methodologies supported by a wide range of tools and guides, which have been established over some 20 years of involvement in relationship management.


ISO44001/BS11000 does not enforce a single rigid approach but has been focused on providing a framework that can complement existing approaches where these are already in place. It also recognises that every relationship has its own unique considerations. For those organisations with well established processes the framework provides a common language that can aid implementation and engagement. For those starting out on the journey the framework creates a road map for development.

The adoption of any standard has to be balanced against the value that it can deliver to the organisations that chose to utilise it, whether this is for improving internal  performance or to enhance confidence in the market. In this respect ISO44001/BS11000 is no different to other internationally recognised standards such as ISO 9000. The BSI certification programme, launched in April 2009, establishes a measurable independent assessment for internal benchmarking of continuous improvement and people development together with independent validated pan industry recognition of an organisations collaborative capability in the market place. At a more detailed level some of the benefits already recognised by multinational organisations include:

  • The standard creates a robust framework for both the public and private sector to provide a neutral platform for establishing effective collaborative programmes for mutual benefit.
  • Its core value is commonality of language and application between delivery partners leading to improved / better integration.
  • Acting as a bridge between cultures to form a more robust partnership or alliance, it reduces confusion, provides confidence to participants and lays a foundation for innovation.
  • As it was developed through Pan-industry input and thus is not sector specific providing a basis for broader adoption and engagement, providing a common foundation and language for relationships between the private and public sector, international cultures to provide uniformity of understanding.
  • It provides a platform for developing repeatable models to enhance communication and engagement and thus build confidence.
  • The standard provides a basis for benchmarking the collaborative capability of organisations both internally and externally through BSI independent assessment     which will enhance partner evaluation and selection together with establishing market differentiation.
  • It establishes a consistent yet flexible approach that provides a foundation for efficiency and repeatability across programmes and increased opportunity to focus on developing value.
  • It will aid the development of capability at the working level.
  • It creates a measure to promote customer confidence and a focus for more effective joint risk management both related to the challenges of specific programmes and those linked to relationship aspects of collaborative working. It reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings, a mismatch of objectives, constrains hidden agendas and reduces the probability of conflict.
  • It establishes a consistent and structured approach to facilitate a focus on integration of collaborative working within operational procedures, processes and systems. Thus creating a platform for more effective governance, speed the development.
  • Establishes a baseline to support resource development and training to increase collaborative capability to enhance skills and interchange ability of personnel

In short a standard framework that will promote better engagement and effectiveness through strengthened business processes, whilst improving risk management, enhancing dispute resolution and providing a basis for skills development. Most importantly of all improve the potential for sustainable relationships that deliver value.

ISO44001/BS11000 Collaborative Business Partnerships


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