Day 2 (morning)

Part 1

Process map contract management


3 hours

It’s time to start mapping again! This time it’s contract management.  Therefore you might want a slightly different group to include reps who manage contracts – for most councils contract management is operated within services rather than a central team.  It is also usually only one part of someone’s role with a range of other competing demands.

What it does mean is that consistency of approach across the council is really important, and local authorities have found it useful to use process mapping to guide the review or production of a contract management framework.

Contract management is different from procurement as it does not have so many prescribed steps, but it does have stages, and that can be reflected in the process map.

The swim lanes stay the same, but your stages are different based on:

As with mapping your procurement process, you can think about what you would like to improve as you go through the different stages or complete the “as is” process to review once the mapping is finalised.

You should be an old hand at this now as completed the process mapping for procurement, using the codes and symbols to mark areas of improvement and use the flip chart paper to record what you want to change.

However, as contract management tends not to be a central function people will do things differently in their service areas, so some hints…

Hint 1

Hint 2

Hint 3

The terminology will vary considerably – see if you can get a common set of terms including roles, documents, assurance process, etc.

Use best practice – there could be great things hidden away in services, with an opportunity to share them as good practice to implement across the council.

Don’t reinvent the wheel – you might find a service has created their own tool or template if something wasn’t centrally available. Use and adapt it to be relevant to others in the council.

As you go through your process mapping for contract management there will be a number of recurring activities at different stages.  It’s worth making a note of them so you don’t keep repeating on your process map…these can include documents kept live, recurring activity and repeated reporting:

  • Issue payments based on agreed mechanisms / performance
  • KPI reporting including on social value  
  • Risk, issues and change logs    
  • Escalations  
  • Communication plan
  • Briefing to stakeholders
  • Horizon scanning for changes in supply and demand  
  • Lessons learnt

A final thing to think about is how contract tiering or categorisation fits within your process mapping.  Tiering is when the value and level of risk of a contract assesses how much management and assurance is needed. Therefore if you are looking at your whole contract management process cover the activity require for high value contracts because....

  • It’s easier to reduce the requirements for lower value contracts
  • When testing with different councils the activity tends to be the same but applied proportionately

Finally, when reviewing the process the questions to ask can be similar to those when mapping procurement - relating a streamlining and reducing bottlenecks (see stage 3) - but with a contract management twist.  

Some common issue to emerge from contract management are listed below:  

A contract plan outlining key details can be really useful as part of the handover from procurement.

Do other services in the council have a contract with thesame supplier? If they do, share notes and create efficiencies by joining forces.

Set out the terms of reporting with the supplier early on,actually should/could be in the specification?

Seems obvious, but monitor performance – 85% output when you asked for 100% is not delivery. That includes monitoring social value results, not leaving them to the end of the contract to find out they have not been achieved.

Be reasonable with supplier requests for change, but careful it doesn’t change the fundamental nature of the contract on what you agreed to purchase for the cost. You might also need to re-run your governance (or procurement!) if changed significantly.

Don’t wait until the end of the contract to prepare for re-procurement – scan the horizon for the changing needs of the user and the changing environment for the supplier.

Have a process for escalation if you are worried about a contract – whilst a risk register is a good thing to have, don’t just rely onred ratings being picked up. Be proactive.

A Contract Management Assurance Board can support contract monitoring and troubleshoot if things are not going so well.

Even though most contracts are managed within directorates, having a corporate framework with templates would help in having a consistent approach across the council.


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