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A partnering crime


I read with interest the Debate on partnering (NCE 31 May).

I am surprised that the argument against partnering, expounded by Karen Gidwani, revolves around whether or not there exists a suitable contract form for this arrangement.

Surely the point about partnering is that it is about the state of mind of the parties, as Nigel Curry argues, not about the form and detail of the contract.

Partnering requires trust and openness between the parties. This is an issue requiring the development of a particular culture, which is not going to be addressed by any form of contract on its own, no matter how well drafted.

It has been said that a successful partnership is one where the conditions of contract remain firmly locked away and failure occurs when they emerge. As the Egan report stated 'Partnering involves two or more organisations working together to improve performance through agreeing mutual objectives, devising a way for resolving any disputes and committing themselves to continuous improvement, measuring progress and sharing of the gains.'

That surely is the basis of partnering, not the detailed wording of a contract!

David Chadwick (M) dchadwick@anglianwater. co.


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