Background Effective contract management drives value for money and delivers successful contractual outcomes (Cabinet Office, The Sourcing playbook: Government guidance on service delivery, including outsourcing, insourcing, mixed economy sourcing and contracting, 2021). If not carefully managed, notice periods are missed, but resourcing operations is a challenge (Copeman et al., 2017), and reactive management is costly. Contract maintenance is therefore critical to the success of contract administration (Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, 2013).
Aim To create a bespoke data management solution to collate and manage any data efficiently and create a central platform for managing contracts effectively, and reduce the financial and operational risks presented by poorly managed contracts, and to spread this best practice across the organisation.
Method We identified a risk in that contracts can carry extensive complexity and financial risk. We held a meeting and agreed to create a Contract Register module and collate key contractual information and copy of contract. A template was prepared for recording extant contracts, and the Contract Register was populated, setting trigger fields to give notice period warnings to named contract owners, and agreed on best practice regular review triggers for higher risk contracts, with an activity log facility to document any changes or meetings with the contractor or raised issues with performance delivery.
Results The module is currently in use for the Estates team, and now flags expiring contracts in a timely manner allowing a sufficient time period to conduct an effective contract review or to initiate a procurement exercise if so required. This will be expanded across all other departments for full contractual visibility for all services and closer management of financial and operational risks of respective contractual commitments.
Conclusion Contracts can be complex to manage and financially cumbersome when overlooked (Carter, Kirby, Jackson, 2014). Our contracts are now risk managed pro-actively through our bespoke Contract Register, which provides reports on contracts due for renewal or review. Going forward, we intend to share this learning and platform with other departments and hospices.
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