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ISO 44001 – Developing Collaborative Business Relationships

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Developing Collaborative Business Relationships


Organisations have long recognised that close, constructive working relationships are good for business. Many more are now realising that a structured, systematic approach to defining benefits, processes and competencies that will support delivery of such collaborative relationships is even better for their business.

The Institute for Collaborative Working (ICW) recognised how a structured approach can support effective business relationships, and was the driving force behind the development of BS 11000, published in 2010, and was subsequently published as ISO 44001 in 2017.

The specification is designed to be applicable to organisations of any size or structure.

What is ISO 44001?

The objective of this Standard is to provide a framework that is integrated into an organisation’s established operations, activities, processes and procedures, to optimise the benefits of collaboration.

The standard addresses both the overall requirements to establish a management system and operational process requirements for organisational relationship engagement. The framework addresses a number of themes that cascade from the high level management system. These evolving themes impact the behaviours and organisational culture of collaborating organisations to ensure they are effective, optmised and deliver enhanced benefit to the stakeholders through collaborative approaches.

A specific requirement has been introduced to:

Focus on value creation and the establishment of a value analysis process.
Consider the implications of the supply chain and extended enterprise.
Ensure the evaluation of the business case has been specifically identified and expanded.
Highlight the need for a more defined engagement strategy.

Its overall aim is to help organisation establish and improve how collaborative relationships work. It is not designed as a ‘one size fits all’ standard. The variety in the nature of collaborative relationships, from internal divisions to multi-party consortiums, means that consistency within a framework is sought, with application tailored to the specific requirements of the organisation involved.

Why Implement the Framework Specification?

ISO 44001 places a strong emphasis on value, trust and improvement. It provides a framework for achieving mutual goals, boost performance and more effectively share knowledge, skills and resources. Effective collaborative relationships leads to increased efficiency and effectiveness through creating value. It also supports transparency and understanding of governance processes in partnership arrangements. This leads to better cost and risk management, as well as levels of innovation not normally achieved in typical relationship.
The National Audit Office (NAO) undertook research to examine how organisations have been able to realise improvements in the successful delivery of projects by working in collaborative partnerships. The resulting summary report, published in November 2006 arrived at three key conclusions:

Strong collaborative relationships go hand in hand with good project performance.
Successful collaborative working tailors best practice to specific project circumstances.
Measuring relationships can help underpin effective collaborative working.

These key points accord with the ethos and requirements of the specification. You can learn more about ISO 44001 in your organisation by downloading our ISO 44001 Guide.

(A more detailed version of this guide is also available – just email us