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Assessing co-location partner compatibility

Before making the decision to co-locate, agencies should assess their compatibility to make sure co-location will be a good fit for all parties.

What compatibility looks like

Strategic alignment

  • Working in the same sector.
  • Dealing with similar subject matter areas – for example, housing or child welfare.
  • Sharing stakeholder groups, such as similar customers.
  • Sharing similar approaches to service delivery.

Cultural alignment

  • Sharing similar approaches to workplace design and occupancy models, or wanting to explore new ways of working.
  • Sharing similar cultural characteristics – for example, organisational values and leadership styles.

Operational alignment

  • Having similar approaches to security.
  • Having similar approaches to technology – for example, compatible operating systems.
  • Sharing similar functional needs – for example, needing secure storage and interview rooms.
  • Compatible operational facility policies and practices – for example, visitor management, mail delivery, storage allocation and kitchen equipment and supplies.
  • Sharing similar property transaction requirements, such as lease timing or desired location.

Assessing compatibility with a workshop

We recommend assessing compatibility by running a workshop with all your potential partner agencies.

You can use our prompt questions to guide the discussion, or we can facilitate a workshop for you.

We recommend:

  • using a dedicated, independent facilitator who’s not a decision maker – this could be a change manager, an external party or we can facilitate a workshop for you
  • participants discuss both the strategic needs of the business and the detailed functional requirements
  • agreeing clear actions to document the discussion and progress the steps needed to approve any recommendations.

Workshop outcomes

The outcome of your workshop should fall into one of three categories:

1. Co-locate

If you have high strategic alignment, minimal operational differences, and few cultural differences, you're good candidates for a fully-integrated co-location solution.

2. Pursue

If you have low or high strategic alignment between functions, and a moderate amount of differences in operations and culture, you would need to tailor a co-location to suit your needs. If you have:

  • high strategic alignment, you’ll be good candidates for a fully integrated co-location solution. You’ll need to agree on how to overcome any conflicts within the operational and cultural factors.
  • low strategic alignment, you may want to consider slightly more autonomous co-location solutions. This would allow agencies to operate separately within a tenancy while still getting the benefit of sharing a space. You’d still need one agency to take the role of lead agency and manage the lease.

3. Co-tenancy

If you find that you have low strategic alignment between functions, as well as significant operational and cultural differences, co-location is probably not the right solution for you – consider co-tenancy instead.

In a co-tenancy, multiple agencies are located in one building but each manages their own individual tenancy (and lease) with the landlord. Some areas may still be shared, for example the kitchen or large meeting rooms.


What's next

If co-location is the right solution for your needs, your next steps are:

  • defining roles and choosing a lead agency
  • tailoring the co-location to everyone's needs
  • signing a memorandum of understanding and a co-location agreement.

Setting up a co-location