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

Ministry of Defence: £1.6bn project is years late – 7 steps to assure your own major project’s fitness for purpose and timescales

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is the UK government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and for the British Armed Forces. The MoD manages the day to day running of the armed forces, contingency planning and defence procurement. The military professional structure is embodied in the three single Services (the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force). The MoD procures everything from military fighting vehicles to education services.

Read More

Is PFI debt slowly killing King’s College Hospital NHS Trust? 6 Steps you can take to cut PFI costs, quickly

With the elections on the way, the NHS has predictably become a political football with accusations and counter accusations flying around in the mediasphere. One of the major points of contention is private-sector involvement in this much-loved public institution. The recent announcement of the financial deficit at King’s College Hospital NHS Trust – a figure reportedly not far off £200m for 2018-19, which includes the costs of their private finance

Read More

Was the Government too secretive over Brexit contracts? 4 lessons to consider when early contract termination is required

In a recent PAC (Public Accounts Committee) report titled Brexit Consultancy Costs, the committee brought to light the government’s £97m spend on consultancy firms (up to April 2019). It suggested this spend seemed to fail the government’s own standards in three important ways: too few of the contracts were being offered to SMEs as the government has suggested it aspires to do reports on the work the consultants were doing

Read More

4 lessons we can learn from The Salvation Army mandating its suppliers to provide wider ‘Social and Community Value’

The Salvation Army is an amazing organisation that supports the most vulnerable in our communities. It is now an entity that turns over some £300m, has over 8,000 suppliers, each of which gets a share of the £160m it is reported to spend each year. They are a highly influential force and in the spirit of continuing their ‘force for good’ they are contractually obliging their suppliers to provide not

Read More

Outsourcing Contracts: 10 clauses some strategic suppliers try to manipulate to their advantage

Outsourcing Contracts: The Top 10 Clauses that Service Providers Try to Manipulate

Having dealt with improving the performance of over 500 complex supplier relationships after the event of them already having been contracted, evidence continues to teach us that more than 50% of these high value contracts and critical service delivery relationships, fail to achieve their expected outcomes for either party. There are a multitude of reasons as to why we see so many poorly performing partnerships – from mistakes made before

Read More

Labour Threaten to Cancel Outsourcing Contracts: 4 steps to a successful alternative

The ‘will-they-won’t-they’ of political discourse these days, whether on the subject of Brexit or an election, has kept the media busy. You’ll often see reporting in one paper something that’s the polar opposite of what’s reported in another, as rumours circulate and hearsay is mistaken for fact. Labour’s Pledge. To Cancel Outsourcing Contracts Outsourcing can be a legitimate option for the public sector if it is approached in the right

Read More

4 Leading Lessons Learned from Successful ICF Teams

Intelligent Client Function - Lessons Learned

This is the second of two articles on the subject of the role of Intelligent Client Function (ICF) teams in managing the all too often complicated supplier/client relationship. The first article was titled ‘The 8 Intelligent Client Functions Skills to Drive Value in Supplier Relationships’ and was published here on our site earlier this month. That article focused on the reasons for needing a strong client-side ICF team, the importance

Read More

6 Steps to Building Deeper Supplier Collaboration in Complex Service Relationships

A Race to the Bottom on Price In recent years the trend in the outsourcing market has seen a race to the bottom on price. Certainly in the public sector this is due to austerity, as public sector entities were pushed to cut costs ever deeper. But it’s also in part due to the culture of some aspects of how public and private sector organisations treat outsourcing today. The immediate

Read More

8 Intelligent Client Function Team Skills to Maximise Value in Supplier Relationships

2013-08-19 Intelligent Capability - 160 x 216

This will not come as a surprise to many out there, but complex supplier relationships are, well, complex in nature and, therefore, will naturally be difficult to manage. If you have ever been involved in a sizeable client/strategic supplier 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

Read More

Institute for Government: Outsourced IT is more likely to be successful – 5 steps to improving commercial skills

‘It’s not the theory, it’s the execution’ is the essence of an article on outsourced IT that I read the other day in Public Technology. It made a poignant point about the difference between political and actual reality when it comes to public sector outsourcing. Attitudes to Outsourcing By their election, the Conservatives are the current masters of outsourcing. They are oft berated by the opposition for their ‘obsession’ with

Read More

Strategic Outsourcing: 5 Points to Drive Maximum Value when Building Service Requirements for a Long Term Partnership

Although, the current economic uncertainty has made organisations more cautious about entering into new outsourcing relationships, the total value of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and IT Outsourcing deals signed in the UK in the first half of 2019 reached £1.64 billion, according to the Arvato UK Outsourcing Index. From the report, energy and utility firms, followed by manufacturers, have been the most active buyers in the private sector. In the

Read More

Strategic Supplier Responsibilities: Is Your Supplier Relationship Faltering?


You may have experienced the sinking feeling that a strategic supplier relationship is not going the way you had hoped (and indeed planned for). In fact, you may well be experiencing that feeling at present. That being the case, it is of vital importance that you equip yourself with a solid understanding of both your rights and your strategic supplier’s responsibilities (contractual, statutory and implied). Our first recommended step is

Read More

Civil Service Business Case Review for Digital Projects: 6 procurement tips to ensure your project delivers the business case

According to the Government Technology Innovation Strategy policy paper, published in June, the UK is “a world leader in using innovative techniques enabled by technology to deliver outstanding public services”. The Government Digital Service (GDS) was created to support this work. But as technology rapidly evolves, new systems and processes need to be implemented for us to keep up with the rest of the world. One of the primary takeaways

Read More

Ministry of Defence pays Serco £10m in damages; 6 steps to avoid supplier challenges

In June 2018, control over the UK military’s Defence Fire and Rescue Services (DFRS) was awarded to Capita by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), but almost immediately that decision was called into question. Financial health warnings were cited as reason enough to question the tendering process for this £500 million 12-year contract. Fabian Hamilton, Shadow Minister for Defence, is cited as saying in the Commons “We know that Capita has

Read More

5 Tips to Accelerate Digital Transformation and Value via Effective Stakeholder Engagement

We have been engaged with many organisations to find fit for purpose solution partners to help them on their digital transformation journeys. However, we often come up against a key dilemma; some organisations focus almost entirely on the systems they are transforming and not enough on the affected processes and people whom the transformation will impact. Most organisations understand that shiny new tech is nothing without the support, engagement and

Read More

Ministry of Defence Outsourcing Contract Challenges – 4 lessons to avoid your outsourced service coming under fire

Seven years ago, in 2012, the British Army turned to outsourcing giant Capita for help in recruiting more regulars and reserves into its ranks. The Recruiting Partnership Project (RPP) was launched – a ten-year collaboration costing £1.3bn in its term. However, it has not been without its rough patches for either side. Not Achieving (all) Expectations – Outsourcing Contract Challenges Reportedly, each year of the partnership so far, the programme

Read More

5 Things to Look for When Choosing a Strategic Supplier

Your strategic supplier in whatever project you have decided to look for assistance on, is a linchpin to its success, to the value optimisation that is achieved throughout the process, and to the outcomes that are actually achieved. Choose your strategic supplier wisely and you minimise friction and maximise productivity – make a mistake and things could quickly unravel. Because of the importance of this decision we have put together

Read More

NHS Health Screening System Unfit for Purpose: 6 steps to minimising project risk and maximising contract performance

When you watch any of the multitude of medical TV shows, they will always wax lyrical about the need for early detection to minimise the impact of an illness or even to save a patient’s life. But a recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report found some very worrying shortcomings in 4 out of the 11 screening programmes operating in England. None of the screenings for bowel, breast or cervical cancer

Read More

Mid-term Contract Renegotiation: 6 steps to drive better value in your strategic partnership

The vast majority of outsourced relationships and complex projects are lengthy entities, often lasting five, ten, twenty years or more. It is likely that what may have suited your strategic partnership in the beginning will have moved on with what’s best for its desired outcomes today. In some cases, it’s the desired outcomes themselves that are likely to have changed and are no longer aligned to the strategic objectives of

Read More

Retailers struggling to get digital IT projects right – how recent case law can better assure success

The Retail Times recently ran a story on the state of IT projects in their sector titled ‘UK retailers spend almost £827,000 on failed digital transformation projects’. This was an average for each project the retailers invested in. Retailers Putting off Digital IT Projects The research came from an interesting report by Fujitsu. According to the research, challenges with IT transformation projects in the retail sector are getting quite bad.

Read More