1 Look around and if there are other local authorities you can work with then you have made it to first base.
2 Consider whether these neighbouring authorities are close enough to make commissioning and hosting of services for each other a viable possibility.
3 Look at the services where it might work – ideally expensive specialist areas with a small number of clients within each council boundary.
4 Question whether you have the spare resources to set up a collaborative process with available staff time to work on it.
5 It might be worth investigating if you can find investment, such as from your regional centre of excellence.
6 If you believe your circumstances suit a collaborative approach then go for it! Before you do though you need to draw up legal agreements with your partners to ensure your relationship doesn’t fall apart if you later disagree over financial arrangements.
7 Meet with providers and negotiate new contracts using your newfound muscle as a group.
8 Ensure you always remember the interests of the clients and don’t be blinded by the incentive to save money.
9 Monitor the contract closely and assess whether you are getting value for money, and that it is an improvement on what you had when you used to go it alone.
10 If it goes well, spread the word and help your colleagues in other parts of the country benefit from your experience.