The Culture Builders has been working with Scottish Water to develop a number of partnership frameworks that help it develop stronger relationships with long-term contractors that come together with the water company to deliver long-term infrastructure improvement projects. This work was partially driven by historical challenges faced by all the parties when working with other organisations, and also by Scottish Water’s desire to follow best practice around ‘Alliancing’ for commercial partnerships.
As a particular example, we recently developed a full behavioural framework for two of their large ‘delivery vehicles’ – that included half a dozen commercial partners between them. We took a highly collaborative approach and ran a number of open workshops and discussions that drew in contributions from across all of the partners. The aim was to create conversations around what ‘better’ could look like at key moments during the partnership – built around the project lifecycle and focusing in on key interactions.
We knew that the discussions at this stage were crucial to gaining both buy-in of the outputs and to start people thinking in a different way. It was also important that we helped keep the ownership balanced between all parties – there was a danger that Scottish Water, as the main contractor, would be seen to dominate the work – our job was to also challenge this when the possibility arose.
Through several rounds of input, we arrived at a core model, with practical ‘Do / Don’t Do’ behaviours articulated and plenty of examples of what ‘good’ looks like in practice. The time taken to engage all of the partners ensured we finished with something that really resonated with all partners, and gave workable steer to every team, regardless of function or position in the partnership.
From this work, we developed a set of toolkits and launch content that would encourage managers to discuss the content and ideas with their teams – identifying where they needed to put the most focus, and what parts of the behavioural charter were most important for them.
The charter has subsequently been used with other partnerships, and the approach for developing the content is currently being used by both the Quality Assurance team and the team managing the relationship with their key monitoring agency – The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) to deliver further work.