Select Page

Neill Carruthers, Director of Collaborative Work for Network Rail Infrastructure Projects, played an important role in developing the company`s alliance approach. “The alliance model is now our most advanced form of supply chain cooperation,” he says. “We have invested a lot in the development of the alliance – workshops for our own employees before the start of the buying process and joint workshops afterwards. The principles by which we value partners as fit for alliancing are, in this sense, the same as those we apply to ourselves. The integrated management team, made up of representatives of the main players in the project, is at the heart of each alliance. As part of a simple alliance agreement, all important decisions are taken unanimously. “One of the fundamental points of pure alliance is behaviour,” says Webb. “The old type of procurement has fuelled mistrust. The information was shared on the basis of knowledge needs and people protected their own businesses and resources. “Alliance work has already been established between Network Rail and its customers for operational activities such as our alliance with South West Trains, but the extension to investment projects represents another opportunity for collaboration,” he explains.

For all this, in order to gain popularity as a contractual model, it is probably necessary to move from culture to the distance from accusations and litigation. The railway and health sectors, in particular, have recognized the need to improve supply chain relations by strengthening cooperation and efficiency. There is no doubt that previous projects and recent economic conditions have highlighted the need for innovation and cutting-edge thinking and an environment of openness and trust. The traditional conventional way of thinking, which aims above all to limit their own risks and exposure, can very easily undermine an alliance. However, after the arrival of Network Rail and nhs, parties in other sectors could begin to recognize the potential benefits by accepting alliancing as a credible alternative in the post-Brexit period. Among the common essential features of a “pure” alliance agreement are: over the past two years, several projects have been established as alliances throughout the network. The most advanced of these is the $250 million (SAIP) area improvement program. Faced with the debate on the rising cost of capital infrastructure investments, a new project model, which could only lead the way, is quietly taking hold in the British rail industry. Pure alliancing is a form of project organization based on an Australian model – the simple alliance agreement – in which employers and contractors sign a contract in which they are obliged to work closely together as an integrated team for the duration of a project. The Alliance`s management team, along with representatives from Network Rail and Balfour Beatty, reinforced the idea of the project as a new organization by renaming F2A – First to Alliance – with its own logo, branded pencils and cups. The increased requirements of the NHS in the face of austerity measures have led to an increased need for integration and efficiency. The NHS Five Year Forward View, published in 2014, has instructed commissioners and health care providers to provide integrated patient care under alliance contracts.

The hope was that enhanced cooperation between suppliers and commissioners, with a common commitment (and incentive) for the project, not for individual organisations, would promote decision-making, accountability, mutual expertise and, ultimately, the provision of a more connected supply. Such projects have only a stand-alone trade agreement. In the case of previous models, the commercial agreement prevailed over a separate operating contract and generally overlapped with litigation.