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.

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  • 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

Interserve’s Administration: 5 steps to take now, should your supplier find itself in similar difficulties

Since Interserve fell into its pre-pack administration on 15th March, there have been many across the spectrum of suppliers and clients who have wondered what this actually meant for their relationships, projects and outstanding invoices. After all, the aim of a pre-pack administration is to give an organisation the capacity to stand up, wipe itself clean of all its debts and start anew as if nothing had happened. So, what

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Poor tender process: Government to pay £33m compensation over Brexit ferry contracts

The no-deal Brexit ferry scandal has been rumbling along in the media for months now. In summary, an agreement was made in December to handle the potential additional need for roll-on roll-off lorry freight capacity in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It was with three ferry companies – Brittany Ferries, DFDS and Seaborne Freight. However, one attracted more media attention than the others: Seaborne Freight. This article looks into

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Multi-sourcing: 7 Steps to Reduced Costs and Improved Services


Multi-sourcing offers a huge opportunity to both the public and private sectors in terms of achieving (and even surpassing) desired outcomes. The reasoning behind this is rather simple – it is, in principle, a far more streamlined and efficient version of outsourcing. Whilst “traditional” outsourcing hands the entire service to a main contractor, multi-sourcing utilises multiple “best of breed” providers, each with specific skill sets, all managed by the client. However, the

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Interserve has gone into administration: 8 tips to protect your interests

The last few weeks have been really challenging for outsourcing firm Interserve. A quick look through recent BBC headlines on the business says it all – ‘Crunch week for Interserve’, ‘UK outsourcing giant faces crunch vote’, ‘Interserve on the brink’, ‘No sign of Interserve’s biggest investor’, ‘Interserve faces administration’, ‘Interserve’s stock market decline’, ‘Interserve failure raises questions’, ‘Interserve completes fast-track sale’. Another one of the UK’s leading government contractors has

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Strategic Supplier Challenges? Do you really need to arbitrate? 5 ‘sanity check’ considerations for a successful resolution

We know from our own experience, and via the media of course, that many strategic supplier relationships have their ups and downs. Traditional good practice tells us that when a relationship is heading in a downward trajectory, we should consider contractual escalation points that are designed to put pressure on the supplier to positively encourage it to ‘up its game’. However, if you’ve tried this on your projects, you may

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Strategic Supplier Relationship Difficulties? 3 steps to a resolution by identifying everyone’s underlying interests

Successful strategic (complex) client / supplier relationships tend to have one thing in common – a collaborative mindset. This is one where parties not only work extensively together to achieve big, bold goals, but also where they overcome seriously challenging issues. To get to this mindset and achieve desired outcomes, parties must often pull in the same direction while being respectful of the other’s interests and expectations. In some relationships,

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Drafting Good Behaviour into Fit-for-Purpose Contracts

good behaviour

Welcome back to our two-part series on the whys and wherefores of developing a fit-for-purpose contract. In our last instalment, we considered the foundations of why a fit-for-purpose contract is so important. It focused on the reasons why the extra time and effort to create one helps to cut the cost of services, improve the chances of achieving your objectives and reduce management time in your supplier relationships. It also

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5 Foundations to a Fit For Purpose Contract to Drive Collaborative Behaviours

What is a ‘fit for purpose contract’? And how can it really drive collaborative behaviour? When it comes to complex service delivery relationships, the aim of a fit for purpose contract is for it to provide the operating foundations to drive ‘enabling’ behaviours between client and supplier. The ultimate objective of the contract is to aid a client in their efforts to achieve a defined ‘Future State’ of service operations in

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8 Questions to Determine the Root Cause of Poor Project Performance

To promote better productivity through more collaborative problem-solving it would be useful to shift perspectives, so that when things go wrong people recognise that it’s not always the other person’s fault. Often issues are multifaceted, and the longer that they are allowed to build up, the more difficult it can be to establish the root cause of the problem – usually a good place to start when looking to find

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Your Supplier Management Team is saving you millions – The 10 Commandments they live by

It’s not unusual for senior management teams to be unaware of the significant value their supplier management and Intelligent Client Function (ICF) teams create for their organisations. And, because this value can often go unnoticed, those at the coalface can think themselves in a more thankless job than most. Recognising the Importance of the ICF Team As a senior executive in your organisation, you’ll already undoubtedly understand that your supplier

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5 Steps to Smarter KPIs to Achieve Your Business Outcomes

I know I speak for all of us when I say that delivering business outcomes using external outsourcing or technology partners is really easy… isn’t it? After all, you simply need to explain to your provider what you want to achieve, point them in the right direction and leave them to get on with it. Right? Err… maybe in an ideal world, but, as we all know, the reality of

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GMB Highlights 53% Increase in Public Sector Outsourcing; 3 Steps to Decide Whether to Bring Services In-house

We now know that unfortunately, Carillion was the single biggest outsourcing wake-up call the government has had to deal with. There were clear warning signs apparent in terms of its financial challenges. Despite this, the public sector continued to award the outsourcing giant new contracts. In the end, the enterprise that was ‘too big to fail’ succumbed to its liabilities and cashflow difficulties. It failed, and according to the FT,

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10 Tips for Good Contract Management to Drive Success in Major Projects

Many of our blogs refer to the importance of not only entering larger contracts in the right way but also the equal, if not greater, importance of managing these contracts and the providers they are with, once they are in place. All too often, once signed, a contract will be consigned to a dusty shelf in a back-office filing room, forgotten, for all intents and purposes, only to be referred

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How to Make Shared Services Work For You: 5 Key Steps

Shared services can offer significant benefits – such as improved savings, continuity and quality of service, systems and scalability. However, this is only if you can get beyond the challenges that naturally appear whenever you attempt to put together a number of service user parties, all with subtly or significantly different goals, work environments and egos, and hope they can all play nicely together. Engaging in a shared services arrangement

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Cabinet Office now expects ‘Living Wills’ from outsourcing firms – 3 checks to enact them

Carillion’s demise at the beginning of 2018 had an impact that stretched beyond the thousands of staff unsure of their employment future and the tens of thousands of businesses that found themselves out of pocket. The collapse of such a major player in the government contracts arena has at last stimulated change in the way the government is guiding the public sector in how it looks to interact with its

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Will Interserve’s reported financial challenges impact you? 7 steps to take now


A wave of media attention has been building over the last 18 months on the financial stability of a number of outsourcing giants, including Serco, G4S, Capita, Carillion and Interserve. Increasing attention is being focused on the last of this group: Interserve. With the announcement of its second debt refinancing in a year, inevitable comparisons with Carillion are starting to be made. So, what does this mean for Interserve’s future

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Has the budget announcement signalled the end of PFI? 6 ways to improve your own PFI

Is this the end for PFI (private finance initiatives)? Brought in by John Major in 1992, extensively utilised by the Blair government and every occupant of No. 10 since, no matter their political stripes, PFIs have, in recent years, become very unpopular. In the court of public opinion, it is perceived that PFIs can be a lose-lose. If the relationship fails, it is often the view the procurement system is

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6 Successful Negotiation Tips for Effective Strategic Relationships

Those who rise to a position where they are responsible for negotiations must ensure they, and those in their procurement teams, are skilled in the art of successful negotiation; practised in its use – especially under pressure – and confident in their ability to employ it to create a strategic relationship with the greatest chance of success. While many have the training and expertise needed in the discipline of successful

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10 Key Behaviours for Successful Collaborative Joint Working

“Austerity is over” the government has announced. In the private sector, there are many economic indicators that support this view. The reality in the public sector, however, is that on the ground not much has changed – government departments, local authorities, the NHS and emergency blue light services still have limited resources to work with, and each must maintain a frugal mindset, looking for every opportunity to do more with

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3 Step Success Strategy for your Business Critical IT Projects

IT enabled business change projects necessitate some of the most complex relationship arrangements of any outsourcing project. Often this is because of the tendency for such business critical IT projects to stretch boundaries, to look to create better, faster and more efficient results. However, even when you are not delving into the technological unknown, critical IT projects are likely to involve multiple vendors, technologies and people of a non-technical nature

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