Contract Management

Contract Management at UNE

Contract Management is an important and essential function of any modern organisation, and UNE is no exception. Many of our day-to-day dealings involve managing or negotiating agreements with external parties, whether that be capital works, research projects or software licenses. Effective contract management is a skillset required by an increasing number of staff across the university. It is critical that staff understand UNE's responsibilities and obligations under a contract, and manage risks throughout the life of the agreement. Sound contract management will increase the opportunities to maximise benefits to UNE, and ensure the University meets our contractual obligations.

What is a Contract?

A Contract is any agreement which generates benefits or imposes obligations on UNE. A contract is legally enforceable and has terms mutually agreed to by UNE and one or more parties. Contracts may also be referred to as agreements, and, for the purposes of Contract Management at UNE, we also include Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), which are typically not binding or enforceable.

Contracts can look like this:

  • UNE "gets paid" to do/deliver something
  • UNE "pays" someone else to do/deliver something
  • UNE has obligations, but there are no payments involved

If you are unsure, contact UNE's Legal Office.

What is Contract Management?

Contract Management describes the activities undertaken to monitor the promises made in an agreement, ensuring that all partiesmeet their contractual obligations. It is the processes and procedures that we implement to manage the negotiation, execution, performance, modification and closure of contracts. Contract Management activities will vary in rigour, resources and effort, dependent on the risks and value associated with the agreement.

The phases of contract management are:

Cycle with phases of Contract Management: Planning, Negotiation, Execution, Management and Closure. Planning: What are the objectives of the agreement? How might we achieve them? What are the risks? Negotiation: Fleshing out the details, agreeing obligations, value, reporting requirements, etc. Execution: Seeking approvals, formalizing and finalizing the contract. Management: monitoring progress, fulfilling obligations, measuring performance, managing variations, etc. Closure: Actions will depend on whether this stage is an agreement renewal, early termination or natural cessation.

The Contract Process at UNE

There are a number of activities involved in each phase of the contract management process at UNE. In addition, there are different areas of UNE involved in each stage, primarily the Business Unit (School or Directorate), who initiates and manages the contract, and the Legal Office, who help by arranging
the execution of the contract. Other supporting areas, including Source to Pay and Records Management Office may also be involved, depending on the nature of the contract.

In broad terms, the process looks like this:

The Business Unit is the lead for all phases of contract management at UNE. The Planning Phase may also be supported by Source 2 Pay or the Research Grants Team. The Negotiation and Execution Phases are supported by the Legal Office. The Management and Closure phases are led by the Business Unit.

Contracts System

Contracts is UNE's contract management software system to help manage all phases of the contract lifecycle, from sourcing to closure. The system can manage all kinds of agreements, from high-value competitive tenders, to research grants and MoUs. The system features custom-built workflow process to manage all stages of contract sourcing, execution and management. These workflows will make sure that your responsibilities in managing a contract are clear from the very start.

Contracts has many helpful features to make contract management easy:

  • Workflow processes will guide you through all of the necessary steps and approvals you need to execute and manage your contract
  • It will ensure that everyone who needs to see and approve a contract can do so with ease
  • It allows you to keep all of the information related to a contract in one place
  • Optimises your ability to manage contract performance, by configuring and monitoring your own KPIs and milestones
  • Provides email and in-system alerts to key dates and tasks related to the contract
  • Has an excellent reporting functionality, so you can export contract data into Excel or pdf documents
  • Allows the Legal Office to process and execute your contracts efficiently
  • Will reduce your paper-based workload
  • Is linked to our records management system to make sure that all necessary contract documentation is kept according to UNE's Records Management Rule and Procedures
  • Makes sure that information isn't lost if contracts change hands or people go on leave

End User training for Contracts will be made available soon. The Contracts team will also offer close one-on-one support to ensure that you get the most out of the system. If you have any queries, please contact the Contracts team via contracts@une.edu.au