How to get the best out of your contracts

Schools (meaning academies and those still under the LEA) and colleges might choose to appoint an expert third-party contractor to provide a service, such as catering or grounds maintenance, for a fee, rather than it being provided in-house or by the council’s services. This is known as outsourcing and it can be a tricky business.  

When choosing to outsource, a school or college will normally first need to run a procurement exercise, where it advertises the contract and asks for bidders. Once you have chosen your preferred bidder (contractor), they will often send you their standard terms and conditions which they provide to every potential customer and which are designed to cover all circumstances. 

General terms and conditions mean that the contractor does not need to separately negotiate with each school or college and can have systems in place to ensure it complies with its own terms and conditions: for example, if it needs to send out invoices within 30 days of the end of a contract month, it will have a system in place to ensure that happens…

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