Collaborative Relationships

ISO 44001

ISO 44001:2017 the International standard for Collaborative Business Relationships.

ISO 44001: Collaborative Relationships

What is 44001?

ISO 44001:2017 is the International Standard for Collaborative Working. ISO 44001 is a roadmap for establishing and managing collaborative relationships with suppliers (upstream), customers (downstream), partners (horizontal) and inter department or function (internal) in order to generate benefits for all parties.

ISO 44001 (superseding BS 11000) is about driving organisational mind set and culture toward collaboration, rather than being a document focussed on delivering contractual obligations.

ISO 44001 involves a structured approach to sharing resources, experience and skills supported by a method for creating, delivering and exiting relationships. Certification to this standard demonstrates that your business relationships are truly collaborative.



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Helps you with

  • Collaborative working
  • Relationship management plan (RMP)
  • Managing long term contracts between organizations
  • Avoiding conflict in contracts between organizations
  • Provides a framework for creating, managing and ending contracts 
  • Supports mutual understanding between organizations
  • Differentiating your oirganization during tenders

Benefits of Gaining Certification

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Ability to win more business

Procurement specifications often require certification as a condition to supply, so certification opens doors.

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Customer satisfaction

Deliver products that consistently meet customer requirements and a service that is dependable and can be relied on.

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Improved stakeholder relationships

Improve the perception of your organization with staff, customers and suppliers.

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Legal compliance

Understand how statutory and regulatory requirements impact your organization and its customers.

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Proven business credentials

Independent verification against a globally recognized industry standard speaks volumes.

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Reduced operating costs

Continual improvement of processes and resulting operational efficiencies mean money saved.

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Improved risk management

Greater consistency and traceability of products and services means problems are easier to avoid and rectify.

How does ISO 44001 work?

ISO 44001 involves a structured approach to sharing resources, experience and skills supported by a method for creating, delivering and exiting relationships. This standard is split into the following core elements:

  • Assessing your company – Understanding the readiness at a cultural and structural level to be able to operate a collaborative relationship approach. This is detailed and relationship specific, considering the practical elements the company should address before entering into relationship.

  • Relationship assessment and selection – The process by which the company considers who it should have a relationship with. 

  • Managing relationships – Consistently monitoring and improving the relationships with all parties. Achieved through the joint development and use of techniques such as service level agreements (SLAs), key performance indicators. 

  • Existing relationships - Having clear steps as to how the relationship will end. Ensuring continuity for your business and planning to ensure communication and execution of a relationship exit does not undermine key deliverables.

These core elements are brought together in the relationship management plan (RMP). This document is the focal point for delivering.

The standard, ISO 44001 consists of two parts. Part 1 outlines the collaborative working framework with Part 2 providing a practical guide to implementation.

Network Rail has been a leader in championing the introduction of collaborative working principles and certification within its supply chain. The requirement to work collaboratively within major infrastructure supply chains is expected to increase.

Is ISO 44001 certification right for my organization?

Collaborative working provides benefits to organizations in many sectors, especially for relationships or supply chains that are complex with high levels of risk and investment.

The ISO 44001 collaborative working standard is particularly of interest to organizations involved in the commissioning or delivery of major projects in sectors such as rail, construction, defence and utilities.

ISO 44001 certification should be considered to achieve the following objectives:

  • Successfully deliver projects that rely on a number of parties to achieve success

  • Building long term relationships that create an ecosystem of resource, skill and competence sharing

  • Manage risks associated with entering into relationships

  • Improve and demonstrate contract management and delivery. Providing access to new business opportunities within major supply chains.

Why choose NQA for ISO 44001?

  • NQA is truly focussed on working in partnership with its customers to drive improvement and business benefit. 

  • NQA has been supporting business for over 30 years and has extensive experience in construction, rail and infrastructure sectors. 

  • NQA is currently working with a number of major companies to support them in adopting ISO 44001.

  • We are part of the UKAS pilot scheme for ISO 44001, currently offering unaccredited certification. 

Steps to Certification

  1. Step 1

    Complete a Quote Request Form so that we can understand your company and requirements. You can do this by completing either the online quick quote or the online formal quote request form. We will use this information to accurately define your scope of assessment and provide you with a proposal for certification.

  2. Step 2

    Once you’ve agreed your proposal, we will contact you to book your assessment with an NQA Assessor. This assessment consists of two mandatory visits that form the Initial Certification Audit. Please note that you must be able to demonstrate that your management system has been fully operational for a minimum of three months and has been subject to a management review and full cycle of internal audits.

  3. Step 3

    Following a successful two stage audit, a certification decision is made and if positive, then certification to the required standard is issued by NQA. You will receive both a hard and soft copy of the certificate. Certification is valid for three years and is maintained through a programme of annual surveillance audits and a three yearly recertification audit.

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