Collaboration 2021


Permanent Joint Operating Bases, Infrastructure Service Provider (PJOB ISP) Cyprus, Gibraltar, Falkland Island and Ascension Islands, Mitie

Sponsored by: Kier Places

Collaboration 2021

Operational since 2012, the Permanent Joint Operating Bases, Infrastructure Service Provider (PJOB ISP) contract involves more than two thousand personnel from both Mitie and Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) who, together with their supply chain partners, deliver FM across four sites of strategic defence importance to the UK (Ascension Island, the Falkland Islands, Cyprus and Gibraltar).

The logistic, climatic and cultural challenges to the two organisations’ shared goals and objectives have been overcome through a collaborative delivery model awarded BS11000 (collaboration standard) and ISO 44001 (collaborative business relationships) certification.

Service delivery varies by location but includes maintenance (preventative and reactive), accommodation, grounds maintenance, airfield maintenance, airside and help desk services, Nuclear and marine support, as well as both minor and major project works, are also included.

Aligning the two organisations’ objectives has required creation of a single partnering charter to drive common objectives and the behaviours necessary to achieve them. A relationship management plan provides a starting point for anyone new to the contract while a single page, poster-sized version of the partnering charter outlines the goals and behaviours expected for everyone supporting the contract and Mitie’s customer base. The charter is reviewed annually.

When first set up, the programme saw baselining of UK and overseas management teams’ practices and processes, with psychometric profiling of senior management teams to produce profiles for teams and individuals based on their collaborative potential. Collaboration improvement plans were then developed for each site.

Monthly and quarterly joint reviews are facilitated over teleconferencing with senior leaders, as well as the UK senior leadership team (including a customer representative) covering such items as:

  • Contract performance (KPIs / Graphs of delivery against targets)
  • Issue resolution
  • Best practice development and lessons learned
  • Capturing of potential escalation risks
  • Identification of new opportunities

Results gleaned

Continuous improvement is managed through the results of assessments, enabling all parties to actively monitor and manage improvement.

Having top-down endorsement and understanding of the collaborative management system has been crucial to changing team behaviours, making them more collaborative and ensuring robust collaborative management systems are in place.

A contract-specific SharePoint, developed to ease the capture and sharing of contract-specific data and metrics, has proved instrumental in knowledge sharing.

Example: A project team was established to restructure and consolidate the location’s existing supply chain seeking to reduce operational supply chain costs by 55%, actually achieving 61% and establishing a tiered supply chain network. Suppliers were reduced from 200 to five and a new process for handling and packing equipment to survive the 8,000-mile journey was implemented. Savings of £635,000 were realised.

Both Mitie and DIO also talk of their ability to tackle unplanned, urgent operations such as transferring 165,000 litres of sullage (waste water) from a ship. The two partners are now working towards the award of contract extensions for the South Atlantic Islands and Cyprus, which will allow for continuity of service ahead of planned strategic changes to the MOD contracting model.

DIO and Mitie are now exploring how to expand and improve contract delivery for additional works in the South Atlantic. And they are looking at how to better communicate and manage the improvements identified as part of an ongoing review of the collaborative relationship management system.

Key learnings

Mutual governance of the contract has been key to monitoring the success of the partnership, with a clear collaboration-based management system in place from mobilisation and beyond.

It’s been important to recognise the unique logistical and climatic challenges associated with operating in locations as remote as Ascension Island and the Falklands. Gibraltar requires close work with Government representatives as well as unions while in Cyprus, Mitie and DIO have fully integrated the supply chain delivery partner (CSP) into the organisational structure: they are included in all stakeholder planning and monitoring meetings.

Working groups, formed to facilitate the opportunities, risk management, issue resolution and manage change process, are led by appropriate role rather than organisation.

These collaborative working behaviours are seen by both organisations as ‘trailblazers’ in the central government and defence community, both organisations often asked “to evidence our contract for purposes of bids and the letting of contracts. This can include utilising methodology and documentation that we use as standard that could be incorporated into new contracts.”


“It has been very difficult at times but our pragmatic and collaborative approach, an open and honest dialogue and the timely sharing of knowledge has enabled us to overcome many of the challenges we have had, and continue to face.”