The dos and don'ts of contract management
Public sector procurement is constantly changing and evolving, mismanagement of your contracts can result in your school losing thousands of pounds, so we’ve come up with some dos and don’ts to help you manage your contracts better.
Do – Communicate effectively, you need to properly document any changes to the terms of the contract. When changing anything in the contract, you need to follow the procedures of the contract to ensure changes are properly recorded.
Don’t – Assume the other contract party is complying with the contract terms, it is your responsibility to monitor this, to ensure they are delivering against the contract.
Do – Meet with your suppliers on a regular basis to keep on top of your contracts. It’s good to make sure that both parties are delivering on what was set out in the contract, look at your SLAs – are they being delivered? Are your KPIs being achieved? Are you getting the value for money that you thought you were going to get? Is the social value in the contract being delivered? These are all key things to discuss during your meetings with the supplier.
Don’t – Instruct any party to start work until the contract is fully completed. You run the risk of them asking for more money for work they have carried out before the contract is signed.
Do – Comply with notice conditions. Suppliers can include difficult stipulations, for example, they can say that you can give 3 months’ notice but will stipulate in the contract that this can only be from a certain date, and if you don’t, then you aren’t able to give notice for another 12 months. It is important to read the fine print so that if you need to give notice, you can comply with the notice conditions. This is another reason why it’s important to assign the responsibility of the contract to someone.
Don’t – Change the scope of the contract without doing so through the formal contract amendment process. It’s important to document any change through the formal process of the contract, so you can supply evidence of documentation if any issues are raised around the change.
Don’t – Regard risk management as a one-off event, it needs to be continuously monitored throughout the length of the contract.
Do – Involve procurement services as early as possible in the procurement process. The earlier you involve them the sooner you can get what you need out of a contract.