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Conducting reviews

​A review provides an honest appraisal of the procurement, the delivery of the contract and the outcomes achieved.

Reviews tell us:

  • whether the anticipated benefits have been received
  • if the initiative represents value for money
  • if there are opportunities for further improvements
  • what lessons can be learned and how can they be implemented. 

What to review

Deciding what to review and when should be part of your procurement plan.

You may want to review:

  • the sourcing process
  • the implementation of the contract
  • the delivery of services
  • the ongoing need for the services.

The type and depth of the review will depend on the nature, scope, value, level of risk and complexity of the procurement and the services.

When to review

When the contract is awarded

Consider reviewing the sourcing process once the contract has been awarded, to learn from the process and see whether it could be improved next time. The effort you put in should reflect the size and complexity of the sourcing process.

Consider:

  • stakeholder engagement and relationship management
  • quality of specification of requirements
  • market research and approach to market strategy
  • effectiveness of evaluation methodology and due diligence
  • performance of the evaluation team
  • conduct of negotiations
  • award of contract
  • outcomes against objectives.

Report back to you sponsor and management team about what was effective and what you would change in future.

During implementation

For longer-term contracts, it can help to review progress during implementation. These reviews can inform the rest of the project and help with continuous improvement.

Consider:

  • deliverables against specification
  • charges against contract price
  • quality against key performance indicators/standards
  • improvements in key performance indicators/standards
  • opportunities for cost or efficiency gains
  • supplier’s performance
  • agency’s performance in contract management
  • quality of relationships with supplier and key stakeholders
  • identify lessons learned
  • report back to contract manager, supplier and project sponsor.

Post implementation review (PIR)

A post implementation review (PIR) is a formal review of a procurement. It is used to answer the question: ‘did we achieve what we set out to do, and if not, what should be done?’

PIRs are usually carried out for procurements that are for:

  • new initiatives, or
  • major financial investments.

A PIR can be a single review or several reviews.

The timing of the first PIR will depend on when you expect to see benefits from the initiative - the initial PIR would usually be carried out 6-18 months after the contract ends. You need to leave enough time for benefits to occur, but complete it early enough to identify any problems and take action if those benefits aren't happening.

Consider:

  • the achievement (to date) of business case objectives
  • costs and benefits to date against forecast, and other benefits realised and expected
  • continued alignment to the public policy/business strategy
  • the effectiveness of revised public policy/business objectives
  • ways of maximising benefits and minimising cost and risk
  • the sensitivity of stakeholders to expected change
  • end user satisfaction
  • identify lessons learned
  • report back to project sponsor and senior management.

The PIR is mainly concerned with maximising the effectiveness of the public policy/business change. Results are usually reported to the leadership teams in the areas most able to influence changes to the day-to-day operation of the initiative.

End of contract review

Towards the end of the contract, do a thorough review to inform planning for the next contract or a decision on whether to continue with the services.

Consider:

  • have the anticipated benefits been received
  • does the initiative represent value for money
  • are there opportunities for further improvements
  • what lessons can be learned and how can these be implemented
  • is the service effective
  • how has the service contributed towards desired outcomes
  • does it represent value for money
  • what further improvements can be made
  • how effective has the agency’s contract management been
  • how effective is the agency’s relationship management
  • how have the providers performed
  • how have individual providers performed against our assessment of risk
  • what changes to service delivery are needed (eg delivery method, location, access for clients)?

Resources

How to conduct a review

Use the data gathered from monitoring, evaluation and feedback from users.

The main sources of documented information will include:

  • the business case
  • information kept to track costs and benefits
  • previous review reports.

Reviews must be done in an open manner, with everyone open to learning and taking constructive criticism.

The nature and timing of the review will help decide who should be involved. Usually the senior business owner or sponsor of the initiative is responsible for the review.

The review should involve team members:

  • with working knowledge of the procurement process
  • with working knowledge of the policy/business area under review
  • with relevant specialist or technical knowledge of the procurement initiative
  • involved in using the outcomes or receiving the benefits of the initiative.

The views of stakeholders and end users form the basis for information gathered at interviews and workshops.

After the review

For the review to add real value its recommendations need to be implemented. This might mean changing policy, business systems or processes.

  • Analyse the information gathered to compare what actually happened against what was predicted.
  • Examine what was done well and what was done badly.
  • Formulate coherent, useful and supportable recommendations - recommendations must be robust enough for the agency to be able to act on them.

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