Clause 7 – Engagement – Setting governance and management
Once the partner(s) are selected the focus shifts to ensuring that the relationship is placed on a sound foundation. Establishing the right platform on which to create a collaborative relationship is crucial. Clearly there will need to be an agreed contract however it is important to work jointly on setting out the appropriate governance model that will support collaborative working.
It will be helpful to agree a joint relationship management plan which may be established as an annex to any contract but will become a working document for the parties to manage the relationship.
Establish governance, joint objectives and leadership
Operations are likely to reach beyond those initially involved. So, in establishing the relationship, it is important that there is joint executive sponsorship to provide overall support. You will need clear and transparent agreement on the desired outcomes and objectives of the relationship. You also need to ensure there is joint ownership of the principles that will govern the behaviours of those involved.
It is advisable to undertake a joint assessment of the competencies and skills of those to be engaged in delivery and where appropriate agree a joint development plan. Establishing a management team together with a clearly defined profile of roles and responsibilities ensures that all participants fully understand their contribution.
Establish organisational structure, roles, responsibilities and processes
Effective management of knowledge and information is crucial to ensure that the partners are clear on what should be shared and how to share it.
As the relationship becomes established, it is advisable to establish a plan for effective communications for all stakeholders.
When first establishing the relationship it is valuable to undertake a joint review of the delivery processes. This will establish the platform for effective performance and provide a basis to ensure prior to formally contracting that all key issues have been jointly addressed.
Establish performance measurement
In any relationship it is important to understand how the relationship and delivery performance will be measured. Ensure that performance incentives also support required behaviours.
Measurements might be cost reduction, internal efficiencies, tangible benefits derived from innovation, partner incentivisation, alignment, behaviours and trust.
Establish joint risk management and exit strategy
Key to maintaining a successful relationship is to ensure there is an effective joint management of risk, including any risk on the part of partners which may impact the relationship. It is important to emphasise the mutual aspects of risk, as the internal risks of a partner can affect the level of engagement.
Establish contract agreements
Whatever contracting model is used it should be jointly agreed and evaluated against the relationship approach. It should also be compatible with the joint principles, aims and objectives.