1. Understand your Contract
  2. Communicate Regularly
  3. Plan for Renewals

Your Open Competitive procurement is complete and you have a fully executed (i.e. signed) Contract. You should have read and approved your Contract as part of the Award process, and now it’s your responsibility as the university’s relationship manager to ensure its successful completion. Contract management ensures successful completion of the work, mitigates risk, and fosters a healthy relationship between the University and its Vendors.

Understand your Contract

Your Contract outlines the expectations you and your Vendor have of each other. In order to effectively manage your Contract, you must understand what it contains up to and including any applicable policies or regulations.

Your Contract includes two main parts:

  1. Legal Terms and Conditions: The main body of your Contract contains the legal terms that govern all parties’ obligations, rights, and responsibilities. For example, acceptance of the goods or services, change orders, confidentiality, dispute resolution, and termination. Any adjustments to the Terms & Conditions must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate campus department.
  2. Schedules: At a minimum, your Contract will contain a schedule (i.e. appendix) containing your Statement of Work (SOW). The SOW was drafted based on your RFx scope, with the addition of what your Vendor proposed as well as any changes made during negotiations. It contains project information such as the term (start and end) of your Contract, the relationship managers (i.e. key contacts), deliverables, timelines, and fees.

If you are unsure about any portion of your Contract, email ProcurementServices@carleton.ca for support.

Communicate Regularly

One of the most critical aspects of contract management is establishing clear and timely communication between all parties.

  1. Be balanced: Remember to share what is going well! It’s not unusual for feedback to only be delivered when we are unhappy, but being fair and balanced is important in developing a good relationship with your Vendor.
  2. Be open: It’s important to be open to feedback from your Vendor as part of your ongoing communications. While holding everyone accountable to the Contract is important, we also want to work collaboratively with our Vendors when identifying issues, risks, or contingency plans in order to help all parties move towards our shared goal of a successful Contract.
  3. Review deliverables: The expected deliverables, reporting, quality standards, and timelines are well-defined in your Contract. Regularly evaluate your Vendor’s performance against the Contract, and maintain records of deliverables received and accepted.
  4. Document progress: Ensure that any communication related to the Contract is documented. This includes sharing meeting minutes and following up on phone conversations with an email when required. This documentation will serve as a valuable reference point in case of any disputes or misunderstandings.

Remember that your Contract should cover everything that your Vendor will provide as well as how they will complete the work. If you determine that changes are required, contact ProcurementServices@carleton.ca to discuss the process of issuing a change order.

Plan for Renewals

Procurement Services will contact you approximately 3 months in advance of any optional extensions available in your Contract, and approximately a year before the final end date. If you have questions or concerns about your Contract, contact us early! Procurement Services is here to help guide you through any performance challenges that may arise.

An Open Competitive procurement will take a minimum of 3 months to complete, and in many cases much longer. Planning ahead is important to avoid any lapses in service, and Procurement Services recommends that you also keep track of when your Contracts will expire. HINT: did you know that eShop has a “Contracts” module you can search using the Contract Reference Number provided to you upon Contract execution? Look for the Icon for the Contracts module menu item in eShop icon in the eShop menu bar.