Why choose alliancing

Alliancing is a way of working that focuses on relationships and creating an environment of trust, collaboration and innovation

The benefits of alliances come from the strong foundation of collaborative decision making. This requires clarity about the common goals and collective commitment to achieving them. There is team and individual accountability within an appropriate governance and management structure for the ‘virtual organisation’. With these in place there is a high trust environment that enables:

  • collective ownership, responsibility and accountability
  • collective response to external influences and risk
  • best for system decision making
  • pooling of skills, assets and experience
  • hard conversations and working through potential conflict
  • flexibility to evolve over time

Alliancing can be applied to many different situations such as delivery of services, design, research and development, innovations, wholes system oversight. We have put some examples below of the way alliances have been used.

We want to integrate a set of services


Alliances are ideal for enabling individual services to work together to a common goal and one set of whole-system outcomes . There is no need for a new organisational form or a lead contractor/sub-contractor hierarchy.

  • The owner can focus on their system leadership role rather than multiple individual contract management
  • Value is created by harnessing the skills, assets and experience of all members equally
  • Shared opportunity and responsibility means strong sense of “your problem is my problem, your success is my success
  • There is a single point of accountability through the alliance leadership team
  • The outcomes, defined by the owner, drive all alliance activity
  • The commercial arrangements are tailored to the situation
  • Alliances work both in competitive tender process or negotiated with existing providers.

We want to accelerate a cross-organisational programme


Alliancing unblocks typical issues that stall complex change programmes. Compared with a traditional Programme Board, a Programme Alliance creates a step change in commitment to achieve the common goals. Separate projects within the programme can be grouped under the overall alliance.

  • Risks, resources and interfaces between projects are managed on a strategic basis
  • There is principle based, unanimous decision-making
  • The common goal and each member’s alignment with it is established at the outset
  • Differences of opinion and even conflict are addressed in a safe, collaborative environment
  • The principles for new behaviours refocus relationships on genuine collabroation.

We want to work with partner organisations to be stronger together


Alliances between providers allow for collaboration without the need for a new organisational form. Each member maintains their individual identity. Indeed, this is important as it is mix of the unique contribution of each member that creates the added value.

  • The shared goals and what each party brings is clarified
  • Expectations are set by ensuring there is clarity about what each party seeks to get
  • Principle based, unanimous decision-making avoids dominance of larger members
  • Defining the principles for new behaviours gets genuine collaboration
  • Even if a joint venture/special purpose vehicle is required, success is maximised by following an alliance approach in developing the ways of working between parties.

We want more than an informal collaboration but not a financial risk sharing alliance


Bringing people together in an alliance to design a new model of service or the route to it is a great way to  establish alliance working and behaviours at a low risk for all parties. This can be a precursor to moving to an alliance for delivery with financial implications or can be stand alone. The alliance can include relevant stakeholders and specialist advisers.

  • People are invited into the decision-making and into collective accountability for those decisions
  • Different perspectives and experiences are valued equally in making decisions unanimously
  • Focus on relationships and behaviours creates a safe environment for hard conversations
  • There is commitment to a collective agenda beyond individual or organisational ones
  • Getting used to the alliance way of working means the transition towards delivery is accelerated.

We need to manage complexity and interdependency across a whole system


An alliance with a strategic leadership team can provide strategic oversight for a multi-organisational landscape. The mandate is to focus on the interfaces and efficiencies between parts of the system regardless of their performance, contractual and commercial arrangements

  • There is unified system leadership which remains stable while different elements of the system evolve and mature over time
  • The relentless focus on the common goals transcend individual organisations drivers and positions
  • Transparency on misalignments addresses potential blockers for whole-system achievements.

If you are considering whether alliancing or alliance contracting would bring added value to your situation please feel free to contact us. We would be delighted to talk with you.


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