6.2 FROM THE AWARD TO THE IMPLEMENTATION

OF THE CONTRACT

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Following the end of the tender procedure and the signature of the contract, the Contractor is called upon to implement the Project in accordance with the terms and conditions of the contract while the Contracting Authority, in turn, is called upon to manage the contract that  has been signed with the Contractor and monitor the Contractor's performance during the execution of his works. The period between the award of the contract and the start of its implementation is a transition period for the Contracting Authority, since it passes from the procedures for the award of the contract to the procedures for its management. A significant factor of success during this transition phase is the achievement of a smooth continuity between the tendering procedures and contract management procedures. This is the reason why the Contracting Authority must ensure the smooth transfer of knowledge from the team that was involved in the tender procedure to the team that will be engaged with the management of the contract. In order to ensure a smooth transition and continuity, it is recommended that certain members from the team who were involved with the conduct of the tender proceudre participate also as members of the contract management team.

Following the award of the contract and before the Contractor starts the implementation of the Project, there should be a discussion between the two parties in order to ensure that all of the parties involved have a common understanding with regard to the goals and the expected results of the Project, as well as that they agree on the performance requirements and administrative procedures that must be applied based on the terms of the contract. Depending upon the complexity of the contract, relevant risks, contract value, duration, special requirements and having as a basis any previous experience from the management of similar contracts, this discussion may result in an official meeting, which is known as the "kick-off meeting". This meeting is conducted between the key representatives of the Contracting Authority (i.e., Project Manager, members of the Project Steering Committee) and their counterparts on the part of the Contractor. The time period between the signature of the contract and the kick-off meeting is usually set forth in the terms of the contract and ordinarily does not exceed 40 days.

This meeting helps the Contractor on the one hand to clarify points in the Terms of Reference or in his tender that may leave room for different interpretations, and on the other, to get a clear picture of the terms and requirements of the contract, as well as with regard to the roles and responsibilities of the parties. The purpose of this meeting is to explain or to clarify the contract requirements and to deal with issues which may lead to misunderstandings in future in a timely manner. Despite the fact that, the Contractor's staff as well as the staff of the Contracting Authority are required to be informed ahead of time on the terms of the contract, the meeting that follows the signature of the contract ensures that all those involved or those who will be involved directly in the procedures of contract administration have a common understanding of all its requirements.

In no case should this meeting be used in order to make any changes in the contract or to renegotiate its terms.

A properly planned kick-off meeting sets the basis for the successful development of the Project. This is the reason why it is important that the meeting be conducted on a predefined agenda, which must be distributed to all of the participants prior to the meeting so as to give them the possibility of preparing themselves properly. The table below gives a presentation of the most common contents included in such an agenda. It is noted that these contents are not exhaustive and issues may be added or removed accordingly, in order to cover the requirements of the specific contract.

Table 6-1: Typical contents of the Kick-off Meeting Agenda

Introduction All of the participants (representatives of the Contracting Authority and the Contractor) should introduce themselves by describing their current post briefly in the specific Project and their role in relation with the execution of the contract.
Contract Scope. Discussion on the contract scope in order to clarify exactly what the Contracting Authority expects to achieve from the execution of the specific Project. Despite the fact that the contract scope has already been defined in the tender documents and the Contractor had detailed in his tender the method of implementation of the contract scope in the case that it is awarded to him, at this moment in time it is good and useful that both sides provide the necessary clarifications to avoid the appearance of any problems during the implementation of the Project.
Terms of Contract A summary reference to the terms and conditions of the contract with emphasis on special conditions. This reference helps to avoid any misunderstanding in the later stages of implementation, allowing the Contractor to better understand the terms of the contract before he commences his work in the context of the Project.
Requirements Discussion about the technical requirements and the reporting requirements in the framework of the contract. The technical requirements may also be covered during the discussion on the contract scope. However, at any rate, proper explanations must be given to the Contractor regarding the specifications that the deliverables must satisfy in order to be accepted by the Contracting Authority. Also, the Contractor must realise the importance of the reports he is required to draft in the framework of the Project and how important it is that these reports respond to the contract requirements.
Contract Administration Discussion on the contract administration procedures with emphasis on the monitoring of the Contractor and the progress of his works, as well as the management of claims for variations or amendments to the contract.
Rights and Obligations. A brief reference to the rights and obligations of both parties with the emphasis on the procedures of the Contractor performance evaluation. The Contractor must be given clear explanations regarding the way in which the monitoring and evaluation of his performance shall be made, during the implementation of the contract as well as during its closure. He must also be informed that, any failure in the performance of his duties based on the contract or non satisfactory performance during the Project implementation, may lead to his exclusion from any future undertaking of any public contract for a specific period.
Potential Problems. The Contracting Authority should raise issues that may generate future problems and solutions must be proposed jointly on how to handle them.
Payments. Clarification to the Contractor about the invoicing and the payment procedure requirements. The matter of payments becomes especially serious in a case where payments are associated with the achievement of specific goals on the part of the Contractor or with specific milestones. Also, in a case where the payments are associated with the charging of man - time, a discussion must take place regarding the respective procedure based on which the man - time shall be certified (e.g., submission of Timesheets). In a case where the contract includes provision for the indemnification of the Contractor for certain expenses that he incurs in the context of the Project implementation, there should be a discussion of the respective procedure on the basis of which the certification of expenses and the indemnification will be made.
Acceptance of Deliverables. Discussion with the Contractor of the procedures to be applied for the acceptance and approval of his deliverables.
Competencies/ Powers. The Contracting Authority representatives must explain the limits of their competencies and power in the framework of the contract management and administration and obtain the same information from the representatives of the Contractor.

 

At the end of the meeting, the Contracting Authority prepares the minutes of the meeting which are part of the contract file. The minutes must reflect the following information: names of participants, topics discussed and critical decisions made, issues that must be resolved, responsibilities and deadlines to take further actions. A copy of the minutes must be distributed to all of the participants.

This meeting is the first official communication between Contracting Authority and Contractor following the signature of the contract and essentially signals the commencement of the Contract Management procedure on the part of the Contracting Authority and the commencement of the project implementation on the part of the Contractor.


© 2007 Republic of Cyprus, Treasury of the Republic, Public Procurement Directorate
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