It can be incredibly difficult to keep on top of all of your procurement contracts. As the SBM is in charge of a multitude of things, including procurement, catering, equipment, stationery, facilities management products and temporary staff – among other things – it can be hard to keep track of all of the different contracts you’re juggling – so, what happens if you lose track of a contract?
The start of a new year always feels like a good time for getting your ducks in a row. As an SBM, the to-do list is never ending, so it can sometimes feel like you don’t have the time to set aside to get organised. However, losing track of your responsibilities can quickly equal disaster and more stress; this is especially the case if you begin to lose track of the many contracts you are managing.
Schools’ buying hub suggests that there are three key problems which can appear when you lose track of contracts.
Not having the time to consider the options
It is in the supplier’s interest to keep your business and simply ‘roll over’ your contract. Time is of the essence when it comes to procurement and, if you don’t have enough time to consider the different options the existing company offers, or options that alternative companies might propose, then you are at the mercy of the current supplier. Without the time to question, challenge and benchmark you are also handing leverage to the supplier to determine the terms of the contract, leaving you with no option but to sign up or face either a closure or worse terms with an emergency provision from elsewhere.
Losing out on an opportunity
Failure to give yourself enough time to re-procure means you don’t have the opportunity to consider better, more efficient ways of delivering the service. This can result in you losing out on an opportunity for better services as well as lost efficiencies and lost savings. Schools are obliged to be good stewards of public money and, as such, a failed procurement process which doesn’t end up benefitting the school could result in reputational damage.
Breaching procurement obligations
Schools are subject to strict financial and procurement regulations called Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and certain contracts over a monetary threshold sometimes require at least three-to-six months to procure due to the nature of the tender process and the time it takes for the evaluation of tenders. If you simply continue an exisiting contract you are effectively awarding a contract without competition and that puts your school at risk of breach of the regulations and potentially open to legal challenge by other potential suppliers.
Most contracts tend to end around summer time, so beginning to take a look at them in January will give you plenty of time to prevent these problems from arising. Setting aside a small portion of time in your week to look over the contracts and contact your current suppliers and potential new suppliers could save you time, money and unneeded stress in the long-term.