This is the second part of our tip sheet

The tips come from experienced SBMs as well as suppliers to schools, with our comments based on conversations with the many SBMs using TES Foundation.

“Question every Service Level Agreement, contract and element of support that is bought in by your Academy/School. Is it necessary or is it being continued out of habit/inertia and is it offering value for money? (Bearing in mind that low cost does not always equate to good value).” David Waller, Director at School Accounting and Finance Services Ltd

David makes an excellent point. I’d broaden it to advise that new SBMs:

Bring all contracts into one place, with secure off site storage and a system of flagging up notice periods and expiry dates. Obviously Every’s contract management system will do all this for you, with templates and example contracts too. But if you don’t want to use our system, make sure you have a robust one of your own.

Start with your priority contracts. By these I mean those that are of high value, of a long length, or affect essential services. Typically the big five are MFD contracts, grounds maintenance contracts, cleaning contracts, catering contracts and energy contracts.

Make sure the SLAs reflect your school development plan. Internal consultation is a necessary part of this process.

Put regular SLA review meetings in place with your key suppliers. This has the advantages that:

  • Suppliers deliver over and above what they are contractually obliged to:
    • New products are made available
    • Cost savings are passed on
    • More flexible service
    • Innovation
  • Stakeholders are happy
    • Teaching and learning is optimised
    • Governors and heads have the information they need
    • There are no complaints from parents (school meals!)
    • There are no complaints from teachers (MFDs!)
  • School achieves best value
  • Disputes are avoided or minimised
    • Time is saved
    • Grey hairs avoided!
  • Risk is minimised
  • Poor performance is identified early before a problem occurs
  • A better / more accurate spec is drawn up at contract end…so your next contract is better and you’re negotiating on the clauses that really matter
  • Effective handover to next supplier…the school is a learning organisation and improvements are made over time