Understanding the Contract Management Cycle

We conform to best practice recommended by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. This is explained in more detail in the Contract Management Cycle, below.

Visual representing the contract management cycle stages as set out below
Stages 1 to 4 - Strategy, structure and resources

Stage 1 - Define business needs and develop specification

We work closely with the University's Purchasing Department to understand business needs and develop an appropriate technical specification. We review all the strategic information available to ascertain scope, service levels and performance criteria. Part of this development process may include consultation with customers and stakeholders to ensure the specification aligns with specific business needs.

Stage 2 - Stakeholder management

The success of a contract is dependent on good stakeholder management. Having clarity about who does what in the management of a contract is important for communication at strategic, tactical and operational tiers of management. It also helps in developing a good working relationship between stakeholders and customers, and ensuring all parties involved in the contract (including customers) understand how to communicate with each other.

Stage 3 - Contract administration

Once the Purchasing Department has completed the tender process, we start to prepare the resources, processes and procedures to manage the contract. It is important the specification work completed in Stage 1 is reflected in the terms and conditions of the contract. The work in this stage may inform the way we want the contractor to work, therefore it's important to communicate these requirements during the contract mobilisation and implementation phase.

Stage 4 - Relationship management

The process of constantly reviewing the needs of stakeholders and customers is fundamental to a good relationship between stakeholders. This allows the contract to evolve over time and continually satisfy those needs. This stage relates to Oxford University stakeholders and customers only, and is not to be confused with supplier relationship management in Stage 10.

Stages 5 to 7 - Implementation

Stage 5 - Performance management

Developing a suitable performance management regime to measure the key aspects of a contract is essential for stakeholders and customers to understand how the contract is performing at any given point in time. This will help inform robust decision-making to change and evolve the contract, and ensure the contract remains fit for purpose.

Stage 6 - Payment and Incentives

The financial management and associated processes and procedures will depend on the commercial dynamic of the contract. Each process is informed by robust internal pre-defined financial protocols for each contract.

The financial management and associated processes and procedures will depend on the commercial dynamic of the contract. This process is illustrated in the Contracts Management Cycle document in more detail, showing an example only. Each process is informed by robust internal pre-defined financial protocols for each contract. 

Stage 7 - Risk and resilience

Every contract has risk attached to it. The management and control of this risk is essential to the sustainability and success of the contract. The Contracts team support and help in understanding risk to inform decision-making and facilitates positive change and evolvement of the contract over time.

Stages 8 to 10 - Development

Stage 8 - Contract development

Contracts will need to evolve and develop over their term, particularly those of five years or more. This is inevitable to address current challenges, whether internal (e.g. stakeholder and business need) or external (e.g. threats and legislative changes).

Stage 9 - Supplier development

In the same way the contract must develop in Stage 8, so must the supplier by following a process of continuous improvement. We work closely with our suppliers to develop their capacity and capability to deliver a sustainable and successful contract.

Stage 10 - Supplier relationship management

In the same way we manage internal stakeholder and customer needs in Stage 4, we are also receptive to the needs of the supplier as a valued external stakeholder. We must be sympathetic to the issues and challenges they may be facing and consider recommendations for contract improvement.

Stages 11 to 12 - Lifecycle management

Stage 11 - Exit and termination

There are different reasons why a contract may be terminated - for example, break clauses and poor performance. Whatever the reason, it is essential that sufficient time and resources are assigned to the process. Demobilisation of the current supplier and mobilisation of another poses various challenges and risk that must be carefully coordinated and managed.

Stage 12 - Asset management

At the end of a contract, it is important to reconcile and account for assets owned by the University but previously managed by the supplier. The University will want to ensure its assets have been operated and maintained, and any shortcomings recovered from the supplier. In the case of stock such as spare parts, an inventory and suitable storage should be available.

To understand each stage in more detail, please refer to the Contract Management Cycle document.

Further information

Contract Management Cycle stages


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Want to know more about our contracts?

Richard Alexander, Head of Contracts

07342 709372


Max Horner, Contracts Manager

07775 026875


Romana Hafeez, FM Contracts Coordinator

07464 529777