The power of partnership

8 May 24

Norse Group chief executive Justin Galliford makes the case for working together in the public sector amid the ongoing financial challenges.


The financial struggles of the past few years may have resulted in some high profile failures, but they have also highlighted the benefits of cooperation. Collaborative working is now clearly understood to be vital across all organisations in all sectors.

And nowhere is it more fundamental than in the functioning of local government and the wider public sector. With money so tight, we need to pool resources, share ideas and work together for the common good. Central government, industry and trade unions are now realising that they, and society, will only be able to operate effectively and efficiently by working towards shared aims. 

Local government has a long tradition of collaboration; and we are seeing an increasing appetite for partnership working. Rochford District Council and Brentwood Borough Council provide a fine example. Their website, proudly displaying a “Two Councils, One Shared Vision” logo, provides strong support for collaborative working when they declare that, “while retaining their local identities both councils wish to harness their combined capacity to help shape their communities now and in the future.”

Their commitment to residents and stakeholders, their willingness to capitalise on mutual opportunities, and their ability to pool resources are not unique to these councils. And this way of working is not confined to collaborations between local authorities.

Driven by necessity – including, above all, the need to save money – councils are also bringing service providers into their partnerships. High Peak Borough Council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, for instance, have been working together as a “Strategic Alliance” for several years, and now have a joint venture with Norse Group to deliver repairs and maintenance, capital projects and FM across their combined estates. This model has replaced traditional outsourcing and is a shining example of the partnership ethos.

As their partner, we have seen at first hand how they are enjoying greater economies of scale and increased efficiency. I believe that as the financial squeeze is set to continue more and more local authorities will recognise the need for collaboration, and we will see a continuing move towards partnership.

  • Justin Galliford

    Chief executive of Norse Group. Wholly owned by Norfolk County Council, Norse’s turnover is over £350m. The company operates local authority partnerships across the UK, providing a wide range of services including waste and environmental, highways, FM, property consultancy and care homes.

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