Pre-Contract Related Services
Commercial Bid Support
Blake Newport’s commercial expertise is regularly deployed to support its clients to win new contracts or renegotiate existing arrangements.
Whether a client is a customer, supplier or sub-contractor, Blake Newport identifies the risks associated with entering into a commercial agreement, and conducts negotiations to neutralise or minimise risk exposure. This leads to a contract agreement where risk apportionment is commercially prudent and the client has complete visibility and can fully determine the risk-reward relationship. The client can therefore avoid being bound by a contract that will inherently cause problems in the future.
Across a wide range of commercial formats, from Systems Integration Programmes to ICT Outsourcing and Off-shoring, the Blake Newport team has well-honed contract analysis, negotiating and drafting skills. We are capable of working independently or in conjunction with internal departments such as commercial, legal and procurement. We also frequently work alongside external legal counsel.
Blake Newport has considerable procurement expertise developed and fine-tuned over 30 years of trading as commercial experts which is coupled with a wealth of experience on most forms of contract, be they PFI, PPP, Outsourcing, Target Cost or Design and Build.
We know that each deal is different and that there are a number of factors that would need to be analysed, reviewed and discussed with our clients in order to determine the optimum procurement vehicle for the project at hand. Key issues that would need to be addressed include:
- Establishing and interrogating our client’s priorities and approach towards quality, price, time, safety and ultimately risk
- Do any TUPE issues exist?
- The need (should one exist) for a degree of parity with the existing commercial models and contract agreements currently in use with other suppliers
- The number of strategic partners required for the service provision
- The level of granularity that our client wishes to contract at for the services it wishes to buy. In certain circumstances Output-Based contracts can be very effective and allow suppliers to leverage their existing services and technologies which can lead to vast time and cost savings, however, there is a degree of less certainty with this approach.
Regardless of the roadmap ultimately selected the following commercial activity would be required:
- Establishing procurement principles
- Project start-up
- Creation and ongoing management of the risk allocation model
- Business case development and governance throughout the procurement process
- Devising the optimum procurement strategy
- Carrying out a market assessment
- Market creation
- Production of client requirements
- Identification of business critical activities and key services
- Consideration of any Transformational activities
- Supplier selection
- Proposal evaluation
- Contract preparation
- Bid evaluation and negotiation
- Contract award
- Project closure / handover to contract management team
Frequently Blake Newport is called in to provide:
- Transitional Services to our clients for the period immediately preceding and following the signature of a contract
- Transformational Services where a deal has been renegotiated and there is a need to manage the contract and the new deliverables that are due as part of a transformation offering as well as ensuring that the commitments are met for the ongoing “Business As Usual” services which are to be provided until the end of the Transformation.
In addition to our pre-contract capabilities we assist a large number of our clients with the handover from a bid team to the delivery team on new business and also on significant contract changes. Typically one to two months before a deal is signed a small Blake Newport team will be co-located within our client’s bid team. Our role does not extend to the bid itself, but rather we start to collate the following aspects from the draft contract at that stage:
- Obligations and deliverables of both parties
- Deliverables due in the first 90 days of the contract
- Important client information
- Revenue Chargeable items
- Risks and Risk Mitigation
- Opportunities for growth
- Open issues.
By integrating with the bid team before the contract is signed and in advance of them moving to the next deal, we ensure that the key knowledge is retained in the organisation and captured in the handover documentation. There will be numerous obligations that require fulfilment in the first 30, 60 and 90 days and by having Blake Newport in place on the ground with an intimate knowledge of the deal from day one provides our clients with a real tangible benefit and advantage.
This ‘contract handover’ documentation can be manipulated to brief senior management at a high level and can also be used to provide a detailed briefing of the shape of the deal to the delivery teams and project managers.
A further use for the documentation can be in the guise of an obligations tracker which can be created from the handover document and used as an effective method of managing the current and immediate obligations for yourself and your trading partner; be they customer or supplier.
Due to the current trend for contracts to be either extended at the end of their term or renegotiated part way through, more and more projects are having to manage the challenges of changing the way products and services are consumed whilst in tandem continuing to use and pay for the original services until this change is completed.
Blake Newport has significant experience in Transformation Management. From drafting and negotiating the requisite provisions of the contract to the day-to-day contract management of the arrangement. We understand that just because a new deal is signed it does not mean the services can immediately be provided in a different manner. We know that the project will not stop until Transformation is delivered. Some Transformation periods can be in excess of two years on complicated long-term arrangements.
Whilst ensuring that both Transformation and ‘Business As Usual’ services are aware of each-other’s progress, we know that the Transformation activity and section of the contract will more than likely be completely different in its requirements and deliverables to the original deal.
There will be milestone deliverables, possibly an increase in service levels and a decrease in price over the Transformation period. It is essential that a regular review of both parties’ deliverables is carried out as time is scarce.
Whether you are a supplier and need to protect your time and revenue entitlement or a end-user organisation that needs to ensure your suppliers remain on schedule and to budget, Blake Newport has the experience and capability to guide you through this complicated process when you will still be transacting with the same trading partner on a day-to-day basis in the provision of ‘Business As Usual’ services.
Business Case Development
In today’s economy of competitive margins and increased regulation stemming from SarbOx and the like, businesses have significantly increased internal approval processes – “Governance gateways”. These governance gateways assist in ensuring the business only enters into commercial negotiations for Services that are within the businesses gift.
Signing the wrong deal can kill reputation and choke a business. We live in a world where large organisations face pressure to delight their shareholders, protect their employees whilst operating in an environmentally responsible way. Nowadays negative PR and loss of face in the press can have disastrous effects on a lot more than your share price.
Blake Newport’s experience in both the public and private sectors greatly assists our clients in getting through the governance process as quickly as possible; ensuring full stakeholder buy-in through a process of highlighting and addressing deal principles and key risks as early as possible.