Post-Contract Related Services
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.
The days when contracts could simply be signed and put in a drawer and forgotten are long gone. Blake Newport can analyse contracts to determine where additional value can be leveraged by a more rigorous application of the contract, whether customer or supplier-facing.
We have a proven history of reviewing a problematic contract in isolation or whole suites of agreements where our client believes there is more revenue to be gained. Our expertise is unrivalled in analysing and recovering additional returns to maximise our clients’ revenues from existing contracts.
We are sensitive to the commercial climates our clients operate in and provide advice on how to recover any additional sums, missed opportunities (Indexation) or extra time on a project.
A tried and tested approach we use with a lot of our clients is to adopt a three phase approach whereby:
Phase 1 – Contract Review and Strategy
Phase 2 – Claim / Variation Presentation
Phase 3 – Claim / Variation Agreement.
There are various methods of undertaking work of this nature such as a remote desktop exercise or an on-site / on the ground activity or both – the optimum approach is discussed and agreed with our client depending on the contract, project and the stage of its lifecycle.
This is the key phase in that it provides the nature and extent of the commercial issues and opportunities and the strategy to be adopted in realising those opportunities. The timescales for the production of the Phase 1 report will be agreed as part of the scope definition for the services.
To ensure both Blake Newport and the client’s team are working with one common goal, there may be a necessity to demonstrate to the relevant delivery / account teams the historical benefits from similar initiatives Blake Newport has undertaken.
At the foundation of this Phase will be the use of any existing client policies and procedures, workflow diagrams, contract documentation, e.g. Contract Baseline Review / Contract Review and Handover Deal Summaries etc.
Phase 1 will be concluded by the presentation of a Blake Newport Commission Report. The report will include:
- Brief overview of the scope of the contract
- Synopsis of the status of the contract at the Report cut off date
- Overview of the commercial and programme status of the contract contrasted against the position as contemplated by the contract
- Schedule of key risks identified through the process
- Identified revenue enhancement opportunities and strategy covering the production and presentation of claims for additional costs and/or time
- Identification of priority claims – “quick wins”
- Time and resource defined programme for realisation of any claims including the effort “investment” required by the client.
Blake Newport will not proceed beyond Phase 1 until a strategy is agreed with the relevant Senior Manager from our client.
Phase 2 is the process of preparing and presenting the claims / variations. Again a timescale for this activity will be agreed at the outset of this phase.
Having gained a detailed understanding of the claims, margin enhancement opportunities and the Acccount team involved, Blake Newport will undertake the forensic work to prepare the audit trail of documentation and the detailed arguments to maximise the likelihood of successful recovery of the claims and margin opportunities identified.
At the end of Phase 2 Blake Newport will produce a dossier that will contain all the necessary documentation for the claim(s) to be submitted. All supporting evidence, relevant correspondence and information, contractual argument, scheduling impact statement (capturing Critical Path Analysis and Forensic Cause and Effect Delay Analysis) will also be included.
Phase 3 comprises the presentation of the claims and revenue opportunities in accordance with the strategy set out in Phase 1 coupled with the products of Phase 2.
As part of the strategy agreed at Phase 1 it should be decided whether our client opts to use Blake Newport as a direct part of the settlement process or indeed delegate responsibility either in whole or part to Blake Newport. On occasion the use of a third party such as Blake Newport to present, discuss, negotiate and agree difficult issues with our client’s trading partners can assist in preserving the relationship between our client and its customers/suppliers and can often break the deadlock that may exist around commercial issues that may have been prevailing for some time.
From our experience we would recommend our involvement in the settlement process to ensure that the opportunities are correctly pursued, coupled with our vast experience in such matters.
Contract Handover Services
Successful conclusion of contract negotiations by the bid team and contract signature signals the end of phase one of the contact lifecycle and the beginning of the transition phase to the project team. From the moment the deal is signed parties to the contract will be obliged to fulfil obligations and deliver these within agreed time scales. Therefore, it is a critical time to establish such things as:
- What the contract requires of the stakeholder
- Relationships (and tone of relationships)
- Key contract processes
- Actual project resourcing requirements
- Capturing bid team knowledge.
The first couple of months are pivotal in the success of the overall contract and its future operation – money is made or lost from day one. Blake Newport is well placed to assist at this vital point. We undertake a detailed analysis of often complex terms, conditions and schedules and distil this information into a form that can be used by all levels of our client’s organisation, from board executives through to management level and the delivery team. Our clients benefit from our significant expertise in this area by Blake Newport briefing client personnel. The provision of a complete yet comprehensible understanding of obligations is especially advantageous to the delivery team. Blake Newport facilitates a transfer of knowledge that leads to a smooth transition from contract signing into delivery, minimising risks and optimising growth and profit opportunities.
Final Account Preparation/Assessment
Toward the end of a contract there will be a requirement for the supplier to submit a Final Account. This document must contain key information to allow the end-customer to satisfy itself that all services and products have been provided. It is common for a final (usually significant) payment to be associated with its sign-off and frequently through incomplete submissions; suppliers are delaying its payment. There is usually a fixed timescale in the contract for the submission of the final account, which is a document that can take considerable time and resource to produce.
Our experience ensures that the documentation submitted is in line with the contract requirements. The final account may contain claims for loss and expense or an extension of time; areas Blake Newport are expert in assessing an producing.
When we act on behalf of end-customer organisation we rigorously interrogate the supplier’s final submissions in accordance with the timescales the contract permits us to do so.
Contract Close Out/Exit Arrangements
Contracts do not simply come to an end. Even after the completion, sign-off and final payment for the services provided it is common for certain obligations to survive and to ‘live-on’ past the term of the contract.
In large outsourcing arrangements where an incumbent supplier has not won a re-bid on an account there will be numerous issues such as TUPE to the new incumbent and transfer of assets that need to be dealt with usually in challenging timescales.
With three decades of commercial and contract experience Blake Newport regularly advises our clients on what to do when a contract comes to an end. On occasion it may be necessary for an organisation to seek a way out of a contract during the term of the agreement. Our experience will ensure our client’s are fully aware of their options and the consequences of doings so.
In addition to exit strategy and advice, Blake Newport assists our clients in assessing and capturing the lessons learned from the contract that has just closed. This fundamental feed-back can influence future decision and approach.
Dispute Resolution (including Claims Management)
Whether your commercial arrangement involves thousands or millions of pounds, despite all best intentions, there is a risk that conflict can arise and develop into a formal dispute.
Blake Newport was founded on the provision of independent expert assistance in managing claims of all sizes in a risk assessed and cost effective manner, helping minimise the impact on core business.
Claims resulting from scope change, supply chain problems and design crises have significant impact on the viability of projects and on the flow of cash, resulting in additional costs and failure to deliver to programme and budget.
We provide specialist claims management advice, including the preparation and defence of claims and represent clients in negotiations to reach effective settlement and minimise project and business impact.
We provide full quantum and programme planning and delay analysis services in the management of disputes commercially and in adjudication, mediation, arbitration, litigation and other formal and informal dispute arenas.
We act for and advise Suppliers, Employers, Contractors, Sub-contractors and Lawyers in the construction, engineering, IT and Telecommunications industries.
Our staff is primarily dual qualified with an industry based qualification backed up by a post graduate degree, enabling a comprehensive approach to the analysis and solution of problems.
Our varied experience, expertise and flexibility enable us to transfer our skills to analysing and resolving a range of problems in diverse commercial and public organisations.