8 ways your school can improve your supplier contracts?
Your school can improve contracts with contractors in several ways, including:
Clearly defining scope and responsibilities: A well-defined scope of work and a clear understanding of responsibilities between the school and contractor can help avoid misunderstandings and disputes. A procurement consultant can help with this process as it is vital that your school understands what your paying for and said contractor must be help accountable to provide the service they are charging for.
Outlining performance expectations: Clearly outlining performance expectations, such as timelines, quality standards, and deliverables, can ensure that both parties have a clear understanding of what is expected. This can be referred to as defining the Service Level Agreement (SLA) and how it must be upheld by the contractor to ensure your school is experiencing accurate response times.
Establishing clear communication channels: Establishing clear and open communication channels between the school and contractor can help resolve issues quickly and avoid misunderstandings. Your school should have an account manager who can be the first line of contact for all contractor issues.
Specifying payment terms and conditions: Clearly specifying payment terms and conditions, such as payment schedules and dispute resolution procedures, can help ensure that both parties are aware of their financial obligations.
Negotiating fair pricing: Negotiating fair pricing can ensure that the school is not overpaying for services, while still providing a fair wage to the contractor. The best way to find out if your school is paying too much is to to test the market via a tender project.
Our tender service does not cost your school so you can test the market with us for free, so why not find out if you are paying beyond the average.
Including a dispute resolution mechanism: Including a dispute resolution mechanism, such as mediation or arbitration, can help resolve conflicts that may arise during the contract period. Your supplier contract should have resolution times stipulated in them so you can hold the contractor accountable if they fail to meet your agreed times.
Incorporating a termination clause: Incorporating a termination clause, which outlines the conditions under which either party can terminate the contract, can provide both parties with a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities. We often advise schools to include a notice period of at least 6 months, this will allow your school to tender without rushing and having to worry about a tight deadline.
Regularly reviewing and updating the contract: Regularly reviewing and updating the contract can ensure that it remains relevant and in line with the school's changing needs. We advise that monthly or termly meetings are held with the contractor to review how KPI's are being met. The quantity of review meetings does depend of the value of contract as higher value contracts tend to have more regular reviews.
Overall, it is best to speak with a procurement consultant who can help advise on the best ways to starting incorporating improvements to either existing or new contracts during a tender project.
Article written by Mike Newell
Mike Newell is the Managing Director and lead consultant at Procurement for Schools, Mike has a range of public sector expertise and has served as an Exec at the London Borough of Hillingdon Council where he made a major contribution. Mike now supports schools with his public sector knowledge and is devoted to giving back and to making a real difference.