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

NAO Report: NHS England and Capita Outsourcing Challenges, 4 Lessons

Outsourcing challenges, what can we learn from the recent NAO report into the seven-year contract NHS England entered into with Capita in 2015 and worth a reported £330m? The contract was to deliver the transformation of primary care support services for tens of thousands of primary care practitioners. The reported aims of this contract were: To reduce costs by 35% in the first year of the contract To reduce ongoing administrative

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Carillion and others: The risk of ‘step-in’ service providers taking advantage

Carillion and others: the risk of ‘step-in’ service providers taking advantage of you and what to do about it (A070)

With Brexit, local elections, superpower posturing and international poisoning scandals to push the news media forward, the troubles caused by Carillion will seem like a long time ago to most. But, for the company’s employees, its suppliers whose businesses relied so heavily on the outsourcing giant, and for the clients that found themselves at the mercy of the Official Receiver with their ‘Special Managers’, PWC, the sense of dread that started

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Agreements to Agree: Three Reasons why This Last Resort now has Legal Teeth

3 Reasons: Agreements to Agree now have Legal Teeth

Many pressures beset those responsible for large-scale projects, forcing them to choose between a fastidious approach to procurement and project management, and meeting the time restrictions or budgetary constraints they are often required to work under. These are the circumstances in which corners can be cut, in which mistakes might be made or in which people can be convinced to enter into an ‘agreement to agree’. We would urge anyone

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5 Reasons why ICF teams should shout louder about their successes

5 Reasons why ICF Teams Should Shout about their Success

There are two schools of thought on the best way to be recognised for your efforts in the workplace. Some are brought up to believe that hard work is all that’s needed – nose to the grindstone 12 to 16 hours a day, being the first in and the last out of the office, doing your job better than anyone else. This will surely win you the recognition you deserve.

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How to Structure Your Contracts to Drive Innovation


In some circumstances, the reality of strategic relationships can be far removed from the academic ideology of partnership perfection. There are many agenda, personality, and behavioural-led reasons why such relationships don’t always achieve everyone’s expectations. When we look for the reasoning behind such relationship breakdowns, they are many and varied and are usually specific to the individuals within the organisations that govern them. However, one of the common traits we

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10 Steps: To Figuring out if IT Project Termination is Right for you

10 Steps: To Figuring Out if IT Project Termination is Right for you

If matters have come to a head and no matter what you’ve tried, your IT vendor is simply unable to deliver its solutions to your expectations, then you may have to begin the process of project termination. This decision should never be taken lightly. Project terminations can be costly, disruptive and can leave you mired in legal red tape. Only after you’ve attempted to re-align the project, build trust and

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Is the strain of Brexit really behind excessive government contract extensions? 7 reasons to renegotiate your own agreement

Free ebook download, click here!

The government is under a great deal of strain at the moment; Brexit negotiations are ramping up, the local elections have just been held, and the latest controversy with Russia is reaching boiling point. So, it’s not surprising to have regularly seen and heard the political opposition accuse the government of taking its eye off whatever ‘other’ ball they wish to point at. The one we’ve heard consistently reported on

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How To: Build Trust in IT Project Relationships

How to: Build Trust in IT Project Relationships

If you have an IT Project that needs to get back on track, clear communication with your vendor is critical. For this to work, you need to build trust. Following the key steps below will help to ensure that both sides are clear about your expectations, that the system will be fit for purpose once implemented, and that your vendor knows how it will achieve this.  Executives who have not

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7 Outsourcing Contract Clauses to Avoid at all Costs

7 outsourcing contract clauses avoid at all costs

Outsourced relationships can sometimes be punctuated with opportunities for controversy. Among them, should you already be part-way through such a relationship, would be to ask yourself how much you trust your vendor, or for that matter how much they trust you. But ask this you must, for only once you know the answer can you then decide whether you did enough due diligence on your written outsourcing contract before you

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PFI Finance – 12 Tips to Control and Reduce Your PFI Costs

PFI Cost Control

The day to day pressures of managing a PFI contract tends to lead one to focus on operational issues, yet the importance of devoting considerable time and energy to keeping on top of PFI costs cannot be undervalued. Take a short term approach, and failure to keep sufficient PFI financial controls could result in a more immediate issue, such as there being insufficient cash to pay the unitary charge in

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Insource or Outsource? 3 key steps to decide the best route

insource or outsource

While large single supplier outsourcing relationships were all the rage a few years ago, we are definitely seeing a trend to either multi-sourcing or bringing services back in-house. The perception is that ‘in-house’ seems to be ticking the boxes On paper, the high-level business case often stacks up to recommend bringing services back in-house. After all, the perception is that all of the margin the vendor is making could be

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8 procurement tips to ensure that your project delivers the business case

project delivers the business case

Not every project can be handled in-house. There will be times when the resources, skill-sets and specific expertise of strategic suppliers will be needed and your business case will help you come to that conclusion. Once you have come to the conclusion that outside help is required to deliver your project, then how you go about successfully procuring and contracting for it becomes all-important. How you approach this will go

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5 tips to setting up and delivering successful shared services

shared services

As shared services continue to gain popularity within the public and private sectors, understanding how to effectively set up and deliver them is key to saving the time, money and resources that was intended at the outset. This article will guide you through the five crucial steps that you need to follow if you wish to reap the full benefits that service sharing can provide. From simplifying service delivery to

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Capita’s ‘shock profit warning’ – 4 continuity lessons should your supplier announce major challenges

When reports from The Guardian stating that the “grim state of Capita’s financial position emerged just two weeks after the collapse of the construction firm Carillion”, one had to wonder what classified this as key news. News, maybe, but with the Labour party leveraging it to make Capita’s situation a political platform for change – not surprising given the concerns they have raised on the subject of the outsourcing of public

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6 Ways you could be inadvertently sabotaging your outsourced relationships


When things go wrong in outsourced relationships, the parties will often scratch their heads, blame the other side and then look to escalate or resolve the situation that has brought them to this point. Escalation could mean anything from resorting to damages allowed for in the contract, through to legal action. Resolution may be proactively encouraged through your Intelligent Client Function (ICF) team or through instructing a third-party facilitator, such

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8 SAP implementation due diligence lessons inspired by Npower’s £26m in fines and customer losses

Npower SAP

Npower has faced many challenges over the last few years. At the centre of the most recent of these is the reportedly long-running billing issues the company and its customers have suffered from since IBM installed a new SAP billing system in 2011. It was reported that the resulting misalignment between the system and Npower’s customers led to years of problems, fines, and a flood of people looking for a

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NAO Report on £122m Failed Procurement by Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

procurement failure court

In October 2017 the NAO produced a report on The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) Magnox contract after losses and legal proceedings necessitated an investigation into what went wrong, and why this £6bn contract was being cancelled at a nine-figure cost just a few years into its 14-year life. This article aims to review the key principles that brought the NDA to this point, how your organisation can avoid procurement compliance

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UK Government’s Supplier Code of Conduct; 8 Ways A Supplier Can Evidence Its Compliance

8 elements intelligent supplier

Many public sector projects and service delivery relationships have the potential to be lucrative undertakings for both strategic suppliers and their clients if approached in the right way. However, the popularity of such contracts also has a tendency to attract the ‘yes-man’ from some suppliers. And, while it may be beneficial for the client in the short term to have all its requests agreed to with little critical friend challenge

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New Government Report for Improving PFI Value: 7 steps to get a better PFI deal

pfi nationalisation

Leading government efficiency-focused think tank IfG (Institute for Government) and US project management association PMI (Project Management Institute) recently released a new report titled ‘How to get better private finance deals for infrastructure’. The report took an interesting view of the way government makes its decisions between public and private sector funding on major national projects. And with the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the Carillion situation, funding these major project relationships

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Ambiguous contract terms being used against you? 4 little known facts to stop the unfairness and add clarity

Contract Management

This article aims to offer some useful advice on how to handle the rather delicate negotiations required to provide clarity in what can be regarded as otherwise unclear expectations, roles and responsibilities between you and your supplier. We all know that ambiguity in written contract terms and schedules is something that should be avoided as much as possible. The business impact of such ambiguity often leads to serious misunderstandings –

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