Value 2: Collaboration before Competition

Gary Bishop writes about our second value, Collaboration before Competition…

I’ve spent most of my working life in the voluntary sector, mainly working in small charities and social enterprises but also for the Cooperative movement and one very large charity. It might surprise a lot of people to discover just how competitive and corporate the charity sector is, competing for limited funding pots, public sector contracts, high calibre staff and even clients and service users. I’ve seen and experience competition in all these areas.

This value is really important to us at Justlife because we are convinced that new thinking, energy and innovation come through collaboration. We are not motivated by growth, though we’ve experienced a fair amount of it over the last 10 years, we are motivated by finding the best possible ways to meet needs and address problems which people in unsupported temporary accommodation face. We know that we have an important part to play but often those best solutions will not be provided by us, we need the skills, experience and resources which others can bring to make any kind of dent in the huge amount of unmet need.

In practice that means we don’t generally enter into competitive tendering, especially where there are other providers doing a perfectly good job and the tendering process appears to add no value to the service users. It also means we work really hard in all our interactions to encourage other services, support co-working and bring down barriers which inhibit transformation.

At Justlife we know we’re better together – that’s the way we do it.