Manage relationships

Understand how to manage the relationship between the supplier and Agency.

Why manage the relationship?

Contract management is essentially the management of the relationship between the:

  • Supplier
  • Agency

The contract cannot be delivered without the service provider.

Relationships develop over time. Maintain a robust relationship with the service provider by:

  • adopting a structured approach to managing the relationship
  • providing positive and constructive feedback
  • listening, identifying and addressing problems quickly
  • explaining decisions and actions in an impartial way
  • respecting the service provider’s expertise

Key factors for a successful relationship include:

  • openness
  • regular communication
  • developing mutual trust and understanding
  • respecting the other’s perspective
  • a shared joint approach to managing delivery and solving problems

How to manage the relationship

Step 1: Review contract and contract management plan

The contract sets out when:

  • meetings need to be held
  • reports must be submitted

Contracts may set out who must attend certain meetings, such the management team.

Make arrangements for these to occur.

If the contract is a standing arrangement, consider how best to gather, consolidate and analyse feedback from buyers to inform supplier engagement and feedback.

Step 2: Consider need for additional contact

Consider the need to communicate with the service provider more frequently. The need to contact the service provide may change during the contract:

  • more frequent meetings may be needed to start the contract
  • additional meetings may be needed to:
    • confirm reports
    • address performance issues
    • avoid disputes

Step 3: Consider tone when communicating

At all times, consider the tone of communications. Ensure the tone is:

  • polite and respectful
  • appropriate to situation

Step 4: Manage probity and conflicts of interest

Manage probity – consider issues raised at Probity issues by stage and task.

Conflicts of interest can arise during this task. Identify, declare and manage these.

Ensure that processes are established to record communications. Good record keeping helps to:

  • manage risk
  • provides auditable evidence of events and decisions

Records of meetings, reviews and any resulting actions provide:

  • context on the relationship between the parties
  • can be used for resolving issues.


Address Agency rules

Consult Agency procurement team for advice on meeting:

Follow Agency specific rules on when to seek an approval and who can give the approval.

Follow Agency specific rules for recording decisions and storing records.