Spencer Group is region’s first to be awarded national certification

Spencer Group has become the first company in East Yorkshire to be awarded a prestigious certification for collaborative working.

The Hull-based engineering group was awarded the new BS 11000 certification following a stringent audit process.

The standard developed by the Institute of Collaborative Working and British Standards Institution (BSI) with industry and government; and provides a framework to support collaborative business relationships between suppliers and clients.

Jim Bouston, Head of Collaborative Working at Spencer, said: “We are delighted to have received BS 11000 certification, which further reinforces our commitment to delivering the highest possible standards across all of our works.

“To ensure we develop and maintain our status, I was appointed to the role of Head of Collaborative Working. I am responsible for all collaborative relationships to champion, maintain and continuously improve the processes and systems we have created in line with the BS 11000 standard to support each relationship and project.

Our strategic business objectives also include a focus on collaboration to reinforce the culture across the business and have focused our core values to support the process of building our competencies and skills towards working on collaborative projects with our partners.

“The Spencer business model is built on the ethos of honesty, transparency and working with the client from day one of a project. This accreditation is deserved recognition of our steadfast commitment to that.”

“We began the process in June 2014, with a GAP analysis workshop to outline and understand how the business currently works in comparison to the BS 11000 standard.”

Spencer was assessed twice and tasked to provide evidence of collaborative working for a number of relationships to gain the certification, which was completed within six months – a process that usually takes over a year.

In order to improve awareness of collaborative working, Spencer has created a BS 11000 training module on its internal e-learning software Spencer Online Learning Opportunity (SOLO) to demonstrate the key business and partner benefits from collaborative working.

The company also operates its Spencer Online System (SOS) – a collaborative web-based communication and document control system which offers clients access to their projects.

The accreditation also cements Spencer’s commitment to providing the best possible service to its clients. The majority of Spencer’s work is delivered through frameworks which involves working closely with the client to develop, design, deliver and commission projects.

The first of two audits was carried out in September with the second being completed in December 2014.

Spencer received praise from the auditor after it included site personnel in its audits to highlight the specific ways in which it already collaborates and how BS 11000 will benefit Spencer and its partners.

Jim said: “The auditing process is extremely thorough and we wanted to demonstrate to the auditors that Spencer was not trying to secure this accreditation from a standing start. As a group, we have been implementing new ways to collaborate for some time, realising the importance of ensuring we not only provide the best possible service to the client, but we are safe in the knowledge that our partners and supply chain will do so too.”

“This accreditation is about smarter collaborative working that brings value to all parties, including the client. It is about establishing and developing relationships and making a real difference, it is not about vanity.”

What is BS 11000?

As the successor to the PAS 11000 management system, BS 11000 provides a framework for collaborative business relationships, to help companies develop and manage their interactions with other organizations for maximum benefit to all.

Using an eight stage approach, the framework is designed to enable organizations of any size and sector to apply best practice principles to its own ways of working, to get the very most out of its business relationships.

The eight stages of the standard are:

  1. Awareness – undertake a risk assessment, establish executive sponsorship and identify business objectives
  2. Knowledge – establish a platform of knowledge on which to develop a programme

for developing relationships

  1. Internal assessment – undertake a SWOT analysis and Maturity Assessment Profile to evaluate levels of competence
  2. Partner selection – identify and select suitable partners and how you can work together for mutual benefit
  3. Working together – establish a way of working together with joint objectives
  4. Value creation – create added value derived from a partnership by creating an

environment where all are encouraged to contribute

  1. Staying together – implement, monitor and measure agreed processes and systems to ensure the partnership is maintained at its most effective level
  2. Exit strategy – define an exit strategy at the outset to define the parameters of

disengagement for the relationship itself