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Case study - Six Steps for Capable Ownership

Andrew Page
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Anglian Water began its journey to set up an alliance of organisations in 2004. Head of Commercial Services Andrew Page discusses the six key steps that continue to fuel its success.

Anglian Water’s Alliancing Journey.

Back in 2004, Anglian Water began its journey to set up an alliance of organisations as part of its Assessment Management Plan (AMP). Now, the business has seven different alliances, each of which cover many facets, from large scale infrastructure projects to IT solutions. Together, the Alliance is focused on Anglian Water’s investment programme to build a sustainable world.

1. Commitment starts at the top.

“We knew that changing the way we procured large programmes would be a challenge. We shifted the delivery of a multi-billion-pound regulatory investment programme to an entirely new commercial model. Our success was achieved by the unwavering commitment of our management board and investors, after 17 years, this commitment remains firm. As part of this process, our CEO continues to chair a quarterly Alliance Principals Group meeting with senior executives from each of our partnership organisations. This is a real, B2B conversation that not only demonstrates the commitment from our most senior members of the business but ensures that our focuses are consistently aligned.”

2. A Sustainable Commercial Model

“Adopting a sustainable commercial model delivers the efficiencies required by the owner and the returns required by each of our partners. A sustainable model must drive the right behaviours; behaviours that focus on delivering the outcomes required by the owner, whilst constantly delivering increased rewards to the shared Programme Pool. It’s important to note that this commercial model must also increase the size of the programme pool, and not increase the share generated for individual members.”

3. Choosing the Right Partners

“At Anglian Water, we understand that we don’t have all of the answers to every challenge. This is why our Alliance is made up of organisations that bring varied skill sets to tackle said challenges. We keep skills at the forefront of our minds when scoring tenders submitted for our alliances; fewer than a third of the marks available are for cost-based responses. We have a genuine focus on an organisations’ ability to demonstrate the right approach, the right people and partners, the right processes and systems, and the right environment.”

4. Creating Symbiotic Relationships

“Success requires an understanding that every partner in the enterprise has an equal voice. We have an unwavering acceptance that the enterprise will only succeed if all recognise the importance of each partner in delivering that success. These relationships are long-term, and the trust developed is an essential ingredient.”

5. Developing High Performing Teams

“In the early days it is all too easy to confuse great team spirit with a successful enterprise. The measure of the success of an enterprise is how it responds to challenges, and how open and transparent the team is. The key to success is absolute clarity of purpose around aligned outcomes. Anglian Water introduced a High Performing Teams development plan very early in the journey. It has proven to be an essential tool in helping newcomers adopt a new model and progress their journey with us.”

6. Deliberately Deliver Differently

“Anglian Water is now in its 17th year of its Alliancing-type delivery model. Throughout this time, we have had continuous support from the leaders of the business and have adapted the commercial models to meet each new regulatory period. We have worked through all challenges together, as an alliance. Each of our partners have been integral in delivering our Business Plan submissions to our regulators, this collaborative approach creates the conditions required for innovation and creativity to deliver our desired outcomes.”

Anglian Water’s alliancing journey is the cornerstone of what collaboration and alignment can achieve. As the regulated infrastructure owners in the UK increasingly look at various delivery models for major infrastructure investment, these are exciting times for further development of the P13 enterprise approach. We will continue to follow alternative routes for financing, designing, building, and operating assets that are our customers rely on in their daily lives.

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