The establishment of a new contract creates a range of issues and potential risks that need to be managed. Good transition management should provide for a seamless implementation with minimal disruption to stakeholders.
Consideration of the requirements for a smooth transition to the new contract should have commenced during the planning stage of the procurement, and continued as the procurement process continued. Contract transition should be managed by the contract manager in close liaison with the new contractor and, if relevant, the previous contractor.
How do I manage contract transition?
Following the awarding of the contract, a meeting should be held between the contract manager and key personnel of the new contractor to:
- identify issues and risks, and ensure a joint understanding of what is required;
- agree on the process and timelines that will be followed;
- confirm key staff and their roles;
- finalise and agree on the contract management plan; and
- finalise administrative details.
You should also meet the previous contractor to discuss transitional issues.
Document the transition arrangements
For large, more complex contracts (ie with significant transitional issues or where major change is involved) you may wish to develop a contract transition plan that identifies key issues, risks, tasks, responsibilities, resources, timeframes, policies and procedures associated with the transition to the new contract. This plan would form part of the contract management plan.
Communicate with stakeholders
Communication is a key element of contract transition and managing the associated changes. Communication in relation to the new contract arrangements should occur with all stakeholders, including:
- the new contractor;
- the previous contractor (if relevant);
- staff impacted by the change;
- users of the contract;
- clients impacted by the new contract arrangements; and
- the agency's finance section (to ensure creditor and payment details are established).
This should ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the changes, any issues are identified early and that the new arrangements are implemented as smoothly as possible.
The progress in relation to the transition to the new contract should be evaluated throughout the transition period against the agreed tasks and milestones to ensure that problems are identified early and rectified.