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Contract management – what happens after the contract is signed?

After a contract or agreement is signed, there will always be some form of action that needs to be taken to fulfil the contract.

Take your employment agreement for example. After you signed it, you turned up to work on your first day, likely saved a copy so you could refer to it later if needed, and you continue to abide by the terms of your employment.

Keeping track of contractual obligations can be trickier in large organisations like Universities, where contracting decisions may be made by many individual staff members from different areas over time.

Each agreement made on behalf of the University imposes obligations which are just as binding as any legislative or regulatory requirement. In fact, there are often more tangible and damaging consequences for breaches of contractual obligations.

Throughout the life of a contract, active management is critical to ensure there is a record of contractual requirements, and that anyone who is required to act is aware of what they need to do. It also allows the University to take appropriate steps in the event that the other party doesn’t deliver on their end of the contract. Contract management is not just paying or remitting invoices when they arrive; it is active management of the relationship between the University and the contractor.

So what do you need to do?

1. Appoint a Contract Manager

Before finalising a contract, appoint an ongoing contract manager who will be responsible for managing the University’s obligations and rights under the agreement. This should generally be someone with oversight of the arrangement, if not day-to-day involvement. Having a contract manager who is across the contract’s current progress will enable you to detect any performance issues as early as possible – and deal with them straight away.

2. Manage relationships

Having professional, constructive relationships with everyone involved in the contracting process – both internal and external to the University – provides a good foundation for achieving the contract’s intended outcomes and for dealing with any performance issues that arise. Aim to keep communication between the parties open, professional and courteous, and focus on working together co-operatively to find the best resolution for everyone.

3. Formally Lodge the Document

Signed agreements are important University records and must be lodged with Records Services as required by the University Records Policy and the State Records Act 1997 (SA). The University Contracts Register can help you with this process.

4. Keep a Contracts Register

The Contracts and Agreements Policy requires each academic and administrative unit to keep a central register of contracts they are responsible for managing.

To keep administrative burden to a minimum local areas are encouraged to use the University Contracts Register. The register:

  • Provides a secure web based database to record your area’s obligations under current contracts;
  • Monitors contract expiry, renewal or other key dates to ensure they are not missed;
  • Generates a legal document lodgement form to assist you in saving documents according to legislative requirements;
  • Generates snapshot reports that can be analysed for business management and strategic purposes; and
  • Makes it easy to hand over contract management responsibilities in the event of change in personnel.

To request access for a delegate in your area, please complete the Request Form and email to helpdesklegal@adelaide.edu.au. Training and support is available for users or teams who would like assistance in using the register.

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