Blog: The importance of a Contracts Register
We often ask: “Do you have a contracts register?” when contacting or visiting schools. The response is varied and mixed, with some schools immediately producing one on request and others left scratching their heads.
What is a contracts register?
A contracts register is a full and comprehensive list of all the ‘contracts’ or ‘purchase arrangements’ that your school is currently signed up to. This could be via a simple spreadsheet or word document that lists each contract/arrangement.
Lots of School Business Managers sign contracts for various supplies and services and then as time goes by the paperwork can get filed away or lost and the particulars of when a contract starts, its end date and agreement on terms and prices can get forgotten. This can leave you at a huge disadvantage when a contract renewal letter arrives on your desk out the blue giving you a week’s notice and not enough time to consider alternatives.
What does a good contracts register look like?
A good contract’s register includes the following:
- A list of the contracts
- Description of what that contract provides
- The name of the supplier
- The Start Date of the contract
- The End Date of the contract - Whether there are any extension options for that contract e.g. “contract can be extended for 12 months”. Termination deadlines or number of days notice required by each supplier in order to terminate your contract (this is particularly prevalent in energy contracts where in order to leave and switch to another provider you will usually need to serve termination months in advance of your contract end date).
- The annual value as agreed
- The ‘whole life value’ as agreed (the total cost over the life of the contract)
Why have a contracts register?
There are some very good reasons:
- It ensures all the information of your contracts is kept in one easy to access place
- It gives you forewarning as to what contracts are due to expire
- It gives you time to consider alternatives e.g. if you know a contract expires in April, you can start looking at alternative deals in January
- It provides an auditable record of your contracts
- It enables you to benchmark your contracts with other deals
- It provides you with an idea of spends that are not covered by contracts
- It ensures suppliers cannot confuse you with alternative facts and dates
- It ensures you are not rushed into ‘rolling-over’ contracts
If I want to put one in place for my school, where can I start?
We offer a contracts register ‘template’ which can be accessed here. All you need to do is to complete it with the information of each contract.
It does take a little bit of time, but once done it will save you money in the long run as you will be able to plan better and have more time to procure your new contracts on better deals.
If you need help putting one together then our team in the North West can visit you at your school, just contact the team at email@example.com. Once done we can then analyse your contracts register to benchmark against other deals to ensure you are getting the best value for money.