Best Practice Group

Do You Want To Make Your Strategic Vendor Partnerships Work?

71% of projects involving strategic vendors in IT, outsourcing, or shared services are delivered at double the budget and timescale. The information in this blog can help to prevent such outcomes.

Enter your email address below and click on "Subscribe" to receive updates on how to:

  • Improve the performance of your strategic vendor/partner
  • Get into new strategic partnerships faster and at a lower cost, but with higher levels of service outcomes
  • Build trust with your partners to drive innovation and lower costs in service delivery

Early Stage Contract Lifecycle Issues brought to light by the NAO Emerging Best Practices Report

contract start

Contract Lifecycle is the sixth article in our series of seven covering the key principles highlighted by the National Audit Office (NAO) in its report on emerging best practice in commercial and contract management. 140 projects were reviewed in its production; practitioners and stakeholders offered their views in discussions, interviews and workshops, and the end result is a well considered and insightful read, should you choose to do so. We

Read More

How to Renegotiate a Contract with Your Strategic Partner (in 5 Steps)

outsourcing renegotiation

There are many reasons as to why one would want to renegotiate a contract with their strategic partner but the thought of the uphill challenge puts many off. In this week’s blog, we will offer up tips for a positive resolution with the kind assistance of David Barrett from PROCURiSOURCE. By following the below steps you can effectively renegotiate an existing contract with a strategic partner in such a way

Read More

Contract Management Issues & Emerging Best Practice – NAO Report

contract management

The National Audit Office’s 2016 report on commercial and contract management in the public sector offers up a ‘gold mine’ of useful information for organisations across the public-private spectrum. Its segmentation of all the issues they identified into seven key principles offers an excellent overview of weaknesses that all companies suffer from to some degree, which is why we have dedicated an article to each. This being the fifth in

Read More

Outsourcing: 5 Mistakes You Must Avoid Before Choosing a Provider

Outsourcing Mistakes

Outsourcing is a tempting proposition for any company that feels the strain of a bloated workforce and high service delivery costs. After all, the theoretical arguments in favour of outsourcing are compelling – you leverage the expertise of an external party, who are better qualified to deliver a more efficient (and less costly) service. Unfortunately, a theoretical benefit does not always translate well into reality. At Best Practice Group, we

Read More

Intelligent Client Function: The 8 best team skills to drive maximum value in complex vendor relationships

2013-08-19 Intelligent Capability - 160 x 216

This will not come as a surprise to many out there, but complex vendor relationships are, well, complex in nature and, therefore, will naturally be difficult to manage. If you have ever been involved in a sizeable client/vendor relationship that starts to veer out of control, you’ll know how difficult it can be for all parties to recover lost commercial trust and confidence. This is why it is so vitally

Read More

Contract Approach: NAO Insights & Emerging Best Practices

Contract Management

If you are looking for ways in which to improve your commercial and contract management, then you are in good company. The National Audit Office (NAO) has spent years reviewing the public sector market to identify where weaknesses in processes and implementation exist with the aim of creating a more robust and widely adopted practice to improve performance, value for money, and the potential for outcome achievement. This research culminated

Read More

Market Management & Sourcing – NAO Insights Report (Part 3)

market sourcing management

This article is the latest in a series of seven tasked with reporting and commenting on the findings of the NAO’s 2016 report on insights and emerging best practice in commercial and contract management. Twenty issues were raised and grouped under seven headings – Commercial Strategy, Commercial Capability, Market Management and Sourcing, Contract Approach, Contract Management, Contract Lifecycle, and Transition and Termination – and our articles on each focus on

Read More

Commercial Capability Insights and Emerging Best Practices – NAO Report

commercial capability

The National Audit Office’s report ‘Commercial and contract management: insights and emerging best practice’, published at the end of last year, has been a mine of useful information. It sources some 140 projects alongside interviews, workshops and discussions. These have presented a broad-spectrum perspective of the state of public sector outsourcing today. The purpose of all this research has been to identify and share strengths and challenges that can be

Read More

Early Outsourcing Termination? Save millions on your exit fees with these six questions

Wouldn’t it be nice if client-vendor relationships always followed a clearly defined path with all parties focused on doing their best to live up to the business outcomes they agreed to at the outset? I can almost hear you nodding and sighing with wishful thinking, but, as we all know, in the real world, major contractual relationships are quite often rife with miscommunication, hidden agendas and ambiguity. In addition, there

Read More

Commercial Strategy issues highlighted within NAO’s Insights report on Emerging Best Practices


In November 2016, when the NAO released their latest report on the state of best practice in the public sector, titled ‘Commercial and contract management: insights and emerging best practice’ they presented one of the most considered documents on the subject created to date. From all of the research the NAO gathered – from stakeholder, supplier and practitioner discussions, workshops, commercial standards and 140 individual project reports – they determined

Read More

A bitter turf war in Government? Have millions been spent by two departments on potentially duplicate IT systems?

The Conservative government has, for the best part of a decade, been fixated on the debt the country has got itself into. In his Spring Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that national debt stood at a figure of nearly £1.7 trillion with an interest cost alone of £50bn a year. He reaffirmed his party’s commitment to reduce this debt as a priority. Inevitably this will require further sweeping cuts throughout the

Read More

A Look Into The NAO’s Research On Emerging Best Practices And Lessons Learnt For Major Projects

In a recent article titled ‘NEW National Audit Office guidance for supplier operating standards that could change everything’, we took a look at the most recent update of the Government Commercial Function’s (GCF) eight ‘Commercial Operating Standards’ and discussed their significance for both public and private sector clients. The NAO’s own recent report ‘Commercial and contract management: insights and emerging best practice’ is one on which we have written several

Read More

New Government Commercial Operating Standards to Help Drive Better Value In Supplier Relationships

The National Audit Office (NAO) recently published an insightful report on the state of commercial and contract management best practice in the public sector. We have developed a number of articles on the subject matter contained within this report – the first being an overview titled ‘New NAO Report: 20 Key insights into emerging Best Practice for commercial and contract management’, the second being this one which focuses on a

Read More

Capita CEO resigns and company drops from the FTSE 100

Reports suggest that it has not been a good year for global outsourcing giant Capita. What with the company’s first profit warning in September, reported project issues and what seems to be a weakening market across some of its core sectors. But this month there have been two more announcements of note – Chief Executive Andy Parker’s resignation after just three years in the company’s top job, and Capita’s impending

Read More

Crown Commercial Service boss unable to evidence ‘value for money’ benefit of his agency in front of PAC enquiry

ccs value for money

A parliamentary enquiry into how the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) achieves value for money was recently undertaken, after which its Chief Executive, Malcolm Harrison, candidly suggested that due to a lack of appropriate focus initial expectations of the CCS had become unachievable. Paraphrasing his reported response to the enquiry, too much energy had been focused on the bespoke operational functions of their public-sector clients to the detriment of other benefits

Read More

Serco CEO suggests project risk weighted against them on major public sector contracts

Rupert Soames, the CEO of Serco (and grandson of Winston Churchill), recently gave evidence to PACAC (the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee). This was part of an enquiry into the work of the civil service as a result of a significant rise in outsourced contracts. Mr Soames is reported to have suggested that the government was knowingly overloading private sector organisations with far too much transfer of risk to

Read More

NAO Report: 20 Key Insights Into Emerging Best Practice For Commercial And Contract Management

The National Audit Office (NAO) recently created an insightful report into contract management best practice, combining wisdom gathered from discussions with those who operate these relationships at the coalface. It features analysis from 26 recent reports on projects that ranged from InterCity West Coast and Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust in 2012, to High Speed Two (HS2) and the General Practice Extraction Service (GPES) in 2016. The purpose of this

Read More

Cabinet Office report exonerates Atos of ‘sharp practice’ accusations by PAC

cabinet office atos

Tens of millions of pounds were spent by the NHS on a new system to centralise GP data, known as the General Practice Extraction Service (GPES). However, a furore followed the project’s conclusion because the service was found to have ‘fundamental designs flaws and did not work’. As a result, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) delivered a scathing review of Atos – accusing it of ‘sharp practice’ and of showing

Read More

How does our government spend £242bn of our public money a year? NAO report reveals all

How does our government spend £242bn of our public money a year? NAO report reveals all

In November the National Audit Office (NAO) released a new report on contract management, and because we found it so insightful we’ve decided to dedicate a few articles to the subject and to the findings of the report. This particular article takes a ‘big picture’ view of the statistics highlighted in the report. What do they tell us about the state of the outsourcing market in the UK today, do

Read More

A £285.5m reason why pre-contractual supplier due diligence is important to project success

helena airport due diligence

Innovation is the lifeblood of progress, but, as you will appreciate from many of our previous articles, this can only be realised if innovation is considered a process rather than a means to assured results. To drive the positive force of innovation, all involved must recognise that with the courage to try something new should also come to an appreciation that not everything attempted will be successful. Therefore, any attempt

Read More