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An overview of BS11000 Stage 1 : Awareness

BS11000, the British Standard for Collaborative Business Relationships is the first of its type in the world to formalise how organisations approach mutual relationships and this Blog is part of a series where we look at each stage in a little more depth.

BS11000 Stage 1 : Awareness

Stage 1, as part of the Strategic Phase of the Standard is really the process of changing from aspiration into action. Many organisations appreciate the significant benefits associated with collaborative working but approach their relationships in a non-structured manner. Stage 1 lays down the foundation to allow a business to really set about committing to at least explore the value of collaboration and more importantly to secure to high-level internal sponsorship from Senior Executives to make it happen, ideally from someone that truly embraces these principles.

Once internal support is determined, the Stage prompts an organisation to really test the value of working collaboratively by ensuring that strategic business objectives are identified and the potential value of collaboration is defined, as well as considering any associated potential risk. These are subject headings that will require continuing review as the process develops.

Assuming that all involved are still enthused at the prospect of collaboration, potential relationships and specific opportunities need to be identified and prioritised, remembering that not all relationships need to be fully collaborative and indeed some should remain solely transactional. It is important that clear measurable procedures are defined for assessing these relationships and are not simply based on personal relationships,  experience or opinion. By this stage, you are hopefully building up a head of steam and fully engaged staff will have started drafting implementation plans for each of the relationships and opportunities that have been identified.

In the background you should be applying the corporate governance required by preparing specific policy and reviewing the suitability of internal procedures, where necessary bridging the gap to support the approach to collaborative working as well as considering  the behaviours and competencies required to make them work effectively. Part of this process must be a commitment towards continual improvement and policy should be made available to interested parties and stakeholders.

Equally, an organisation needs to assess the competency and behaviours required to support a collaborative approach on a corporate and individual basis and shortfalls will need support to address them. Key individuals, roles and relationships should similarly be identified.

Awareness-300x197For those of you that are already familiar with BS11000, you will be aware that it revolves around a Relationship Management Plan (RMP) and this is the ‘collaborative heartbeat’ (thanks Tim Fitch) to a successful relationship. In fact the RMP has many guises, it is a live, working document that initially starts life as a solitary piece of work (referred to as a Corporate RMP (CRMP), setting out an organisation’s plan, before evolving to a more focussed Project RMP (PRMP) and then ultimately developing to mutually accommodate the views and working practice of potential partners, merging into a revised joint document referred to as a Joint Project Relationship Management Plan (JPRMP)  – bingo !

But we are running away with ourselves now and without wishing to frighten anyone off, let’s get back to Stage 1, which only requires the initiation of a [Corporate] Relationship Management Plan and its development through the progression noted above is defined through the following seven stages of BS11000.


The above text spells out in very broad-brush terms the initial Stage 1 process of BS11000 and for ease

of reference, listed below are the aspects that are necessary to satisfy compliance against the Standard :

  • Formal appointment of Senior Executive Responsible (SER) for development and implementation of collaborative business relationship management.
  • Set out and define collaborative working policy, including a commitment to continual improvement and ensure that this is effectively communicated.
  • Identify strategic business objectives.
  • Identify potential value of working collaboratively.
  • Identify all significant relationships and then segregate and prioritise these and the potential (or actual) opportunities and then prepare implementation plans for collaborative working, where appropriate.
  • Review existing policy and procedures and modify where necessary, to support collaborative working, competencies and behaviours. Ensure that you document
  • Draft and implement initial general and relationship-specific risk assessment and mitigation plans for potential collaborative relationships.
  • Prepare initial [Corporate] Relationship Management Plan for on-going development.

Much of compliance against BS11000 is being able to evidence the points above and it is much simpler to instil the importance of this during the initial stages; so ensure that a progressive file structure is created from the outset.  Documentation should be formally controlled.

In a brief Blog such as this, it is not possible to set out all of the requirements to ensure compliance against Stage 1 BS11000, so for those considering embarking on this journey, please refer also to Clause 3 of the Standard, along with Annex A for further guidance, or alternatively drop me a line  .

Keep up to date with developments by joining our group on LinkedIn.

Collaborative working and BS11000

I hope you found this of use.

PS – No sharks were harmed during the making of this blog.

Tim Fitch

Tim Fitch has extensive civil engineering leadership experience, gained particularly in the geotechnical and rail sectors, where he has helped niche businesses become market leaders, and quadrupled turnover in Taylor Woodrow’s rail division.

With a strong background in business development, Tim spearheaded growth at Vinci’s civil engineering division, deploying customer relationship and pipeline management techniques to grow the company’s work in the transport and energy sectors.

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