Category Archives: Managed Services

Four supplier relationship lessons learned from the failure of the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT)

Posted on by Allan Watton NHS

Selecting and managing suitable suppliers often requires a much greater emphasis on communicating your business outcomes to them, along with much more subtlety and finesse in managing the emotional stakes, than many realise. The importance of strong supplier relationships from the outset cannot be overstated and to achieve your business objectives it is essential that both sides feel adequately incentivised. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, as programmes, projects, and the

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Posted in Cut Costs, IT Contract, IT Dispute, Managed Services, Performance Improvement, Project Management, Public Sector, Risk Management | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 5 steps to a successful service delivery partnership

Posted on by Allan Watton Innovation Partnership

The degree to which organisations engage in the strategic commissioning process can, however, greatly affect the future of their relationship with their service provider, and can even dictate whether they save money or incur costs that they never budgeted for. While saving money is often the main reason that companies go down the external service provision (or outsourcing) route, there are other potentially positive factors to consider. Outsourcing could improve

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

Posted on by Allan Watton insource or outsource

Cutting costs is always high on the agenda. With the constant pressure on all to deliver against business targets during austerity measures, many organisations have looked to accelerate this process by, to some extent, outsourcing both back and front office services. Because the results have been very mixed, we are currently seeing lots of organisations trying to determine whether to go for second or third generation outsourcing/commissioning, or to bite

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Now Liverpool Direct is unwinding too…3 lessons learned to avoid the same thing happening to you

Posted on by Allan Watton training

It was only last week that we were (or so we thought) reporting on BT’s latest public sector partnership issues with One Connect and Lancashire County Council… and yet it’s BT’s relationship with Liverpool County Council that is in the spotlight today as Liverpool Direct has announced that it too is looking to wind down its operations. They say that bad news comes in threes. If you include BT’s breakup

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The Failure of Southwest One: What Can We Learn?

Posted on by Allan Watton SouthWest One

In 2007, Somerset County Council struck a deal to outsource various services to a joint venture company. That company — Southwest One (SW1) — was intended to serve as a trailblazer that demonstrated how public and private organisations could work together to benefit the communities of the South West and further afield. However, at the end of March the death knell of the relationship was marked by news that Somerset

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Posted in Contract Management, IT Contract, IT Dispute, Managed Services, Outsourcing, Performance Improvement, Project Recovery, Public Sector, Risk Management | Tagged , | Comments Off

How to Use an Expert to Fix a Failing Provider Relationship

Posted on by Richard Kerr Superglue and a broken ornament

It’s a common situation. An organisation is very disappointed with what they perceive to be unsatisfactory service delivery from a strategic provider and they want out of the contract. They appreciate that exiting a service provider, complex IT or strategic commissioning contract can open up a proverbial hornet’s nest, so they bring in an expert to assist in facilitating a relatively smooth process. If at that stage Best Practice Group

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Should Local Authorities Overcome Their Fear of Strategic Commissioning?

Posted on by Allan Watton How Local Authorities Can Overcome Their Fear of Strategic Commissioning

Although Councils are tasked with slashing budgets whilst maintaining (or even increasing) the quality of public services, the endorsement of strategic commissioning as a potential solution is seen by many councillors as dangerous ground upon which to tread. In fairness, their reticence is understandable. We recently reported that Cornwall County Council leader Alex Robertson was ousted from his role in the wake of his attempts to finalise a hefty strategic commissioning contract.

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Why Strategic Commissioning Must Not Be Shunned by Struggling Local Authorities

Posted on by Allan Watton Why Strategic Commissioning Must Not Be Shunned by Struggling Local Authorities

Cornwall County Council leader Alec Robertson was ousted from his role last week in the wake of his attempts to finalise a hefty strategic commissioning contract. Robertson planned to outsource various Council services in a deal worth £300m. This followed the resignation of his deputy leader, Jim Currie, who protested Robertson’s eagerness to proceed vehemently. If this news demonstrates anything, it is that strategic commissioning is clearly under a great

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Managed Service Provider Up For Sale? 3 Risks to Consider and 3 Steps to Take

Posted on by Allan Watton Northgate Managed Services

The news last Thursday that Northgate Managed Services has put itself up for sale comes as little surprise to those of us with extensive experience in the managed services sector. The company has been struggling to provide any significant return for its group and in turn, its investors. Despite a turnover in excess of £128m in the last financial year, Northgate MS made an operating profit of just £200,000 — and that

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Back to Basics: The Importance of Culture in a Service Commissioning Partnership

Posted on by Allan Watton The Importance of Culture in a Commissioning Partnership

There are many factors that you must bring under consideration when entering into a service commissioning partnership. You are no doubt familiar with the “usual suspects” — price and capability. It isn’t unreasonable for them to be key considerations — after all, the success of any commissioning partnership is typically defined by its cost and service delivery quality. But that does not mean that price and capability should be the only considerations.

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Back to Basics: 5 Things You Must Do During a Commissioning Contract

Posted on by Allan Watton 5 Things You Must Do During a Commmissioning Contract

At Best Practice Group, we regularly get involved in established commissioning partnerships that are in dire need of revitalisation. More often than not, a client will seek out our services with the aim of dismantling their commissioning agreement with minimum damage caused. They are typically surprised when we tell them that we can in fact repair and replenish the partnership to such an extent that it meets (and exceeds) desired outcomes.

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Adult Social Care – Key Steps to Reducing Costs and Improving Performance

Posted on by Allan Watton Improving Adult Social Care Services: What Local Authorities Should be Doing

The following post focuses on one of the key issues explored in our new white paper on Adult Social Care Services. Download your free copy here. The age of austerity for public services is an established fact. The pain has been real, and continues to be both for Councils and for those who rely on their services. Against this backdrop, Councils will continue to be experiencing an ever-increasing demand for

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NHS Trust Hit with Huge Monetary Penalty – Could It Have Been Avoided?

Posted on by Allan Watton NHS Trust Hit with Huge Monetary Penalty - Could It Have Been Avoided?

At Best Practice Group, one of our greatest frustrations is seeing major service provider relationships erode in a very public manner, when better management could not only have prevented such an outcome, but served to benefit both parties and led to a healthy long term relationship. That is why today I want to explore a recent incident in which Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust was charged with an enormous

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Your Service Provider’s Duty to Warn

Posted on by Allan Watton duty to warn

Have you ever been hit by unforeseen cost increases to your contracts? Did you feel your service provider really should have known about these costs and warned you about them in advance? Have you gone on to pay these costs? A recent court case judgment has re-enforced the ‘duty to warn’ that professional service providers (such as strategic/outsourcing/technology partners) have to their clients. The case, J Murphy & Sons Limited

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Posted in Contract Management, IT Contract, IT Dispute, Managed Services, Outsourcing, Project Recovery | Tagged | 6 Comments

Is your Vendor Threatening to Quit your Project unless you Pay them more?

Posted on by Allan Watton Low offer vendor contract

A new court ruling will make them think again… DE BEERS v ATOS ORIGIN [2010] Have you ever had this happen to you? A vendor commences a major project – perhaps for a large software initiative, service commissioning or outsourcing. Part way through – say 6-12 months and they complain that you keep changing your mind (although you are pretty sure you don’t) about what you wanted; or perhaps they say

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Posted in Cut Costs, IT Contract, IT Dispute, Managed Services, Outsourcing, Performance Improvement, Project Recovery | Tagged | 1 Comment

Partnership for Schools finally axed

Posted on by Richard Kerr Free BSF ICT Services Guide

We read that Partnership for Schools (PfS) the government quango that was in charge of the £55 billion Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative will be abolished by April 2012. Considering the BSF programme was scrapped in Summer 2010 this one has run for longer than many. It seems that patience finally ran out when PfS seemed serially unable to publish correct lists about which Schools would remain in

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Success for Michael Gove over the cancelled Building Schools for the Future (BSF) Programme…or was it?

Posted on by Allan Watton BSF Judicial Review

The judgment in the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) proceedings was handed down last month. The action was brought by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Waltham Forest London Borough Council, Luton Borough Council and Nottingham City Council, Newham London Borough Council and Kent County Council.  Michael Gove’s statement on the judgment is can be found here. This case has turned out to be a bit of a pyrrhic victory for the

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How using Agile Project Management TREBLED the cost and timescales of a major project

Posted on by Allan Watton Agile Project Management

We have recently been instructed to review a major software development project for a client in the insurance and financial services field. Using the ‘Agile’ project management methodology to develop the project rapidly in five stages, the end to end cost of this project was supposed to be £2m and completed in 18 months. As we review the current status of the project, it looks like this: Costs have escalated

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