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Today we’d like to share with you an extract from a report we issued last year (sponsored by BravoSolution) based on our research around collaboration in UK public procurement – Procurement Collaboration in the UK Public Sector – Key Issues, Successes and Recommendations.

In it we look at some of the survey results, including how satisfied organisations are with their collaborative relationships, and then we get into which categories might best suit collaboration. Finally, the “critical success factors for collaboration” are shown in a table based on our respondents’ views.

You can download the whole research report here, free on registration.

The Survey Results

The interviews provided a wide range of comments, insights and ideas. We have distilled some of the most important of those into the next section on findings and recommendations. The survey also produced a range of data; we will not go into all the details here, but here are five key points:

  1. Most organisations are reasonably content but not delighted about their collaborative activity. We asked “how content are you overall with the results of your collaborative activity”? On a nought to ten scale, around 62% of respondents scored 5, 6 or 7. This suggests there is room for improvement – incidentally, no-one scored ten out of ten, but 2 respondents scored their satisfaction at zero!
  1. We asked which categories were most suitable for collaborative activity. The table below shows the results. There may be an element of familiarity here; perhaps in some cases there is a lack of experience of trying to work collaboratively in certain areas that leads people to suggest they are intrinsically unsuitable. On the other hand, that very lack of experience might be because these are difficult categories.

Figure 1: Category Suitability for Collaboration

Best for collaboration – strong agreement Majority respondents positive, some doubts Limited potential
Office products

IT Hardware


IT software / services


Temporary labour

Professional services

Fleet and transport

Waste management

Medical products

Learning and development

Facilities management


Social care

We asked in the survey about the most important success factors for collaboration to work well and asked respondents to nominate three from our list. Perhaps not surprisingly, having a “clear strategy” and understanding the reasons for collaboration came top, with stakeholder buy-in close behind.

That reflects findings from the interviews too (see later section). Real-life experience suggests that top management support is not enough in itself to make collaboration work. Whilst that factor is important, collaboration must gain wider acceptance from key stakeholders such as budget holders and users.

Figure 2 – Critical Success Factors for Collaboration

A clear strategy – understanding why we are doing it 76.5%
Buy-in from internal stakeholders (e.g. budget holders) 68.6%
Communication between all participants 47.1%
Selection of the right suppliers 43.1%
High-performing CBOs or shared services operations 29.4%
Top management support 27.5%
Getting buy-in from procurement staff 9.8%
Other 5.9%
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