Critical Reviews of Individual Contracts

Every now and then public sector organisations have concerns about a specific contract. This may be because it is a strategically important project that appears to be delayed and/or is likely to exceed its budget. It may be because there are suspicions as to the manner in which it was let or is being administered. Or, it may simply be because the size of the contract far exceeds that normally let by the organisation.

CAL provides independent assurance to organisations in respect of the robustness of budgets, the effectiveness of project management processes and the adequacy of progress reporting arrangements. CAL critically appraises contract management processes in order that action can be taken in a timely manner to rectify any weaknesses and highlights any lessons that should learnt and applied to future projects. The appraisals often include liaison with stakeholders in order to deal with any concerns that a contractor or service provider is not delivering a service in accordance with their expectations.

It is recognised that the concerns of some organisations may not be so strong that they merit a full review of a contract. In such circumstances, CAL carries out basic contract ‘health checks’ which quickly examine all facets relating to the scheme with a view to highlighting any areas that are deemed to require further enquiry.

Independent assurance regarding specific contracts is usually provided at the request of Project Sponsors, Heads of Procurement or Heads of Audit. Occasionally, Heads of Audit ask CAL to work ‘in tandem’ with one or two of their in-house staff in order that relevant skills and knowledge can be acquired and retained for future audit exercises.

CAL is often engaged to review a contract, or a series of contracts, following an allegation of fraud or malpractice. In such instances CAL fully appreciates the sensitivities involved and can be relied on to act appropriately and deal with all issues confidentially.