Contract review is an essential step in the contracting process. It provides for independent advice on the acceptability of the procurement process undertaken, and the proposed commitment of funds by the highest level authority or officer with the appropriate authority. Award is the formal decision and approval to establish a contract, e.g. services contract or purchase order, with a successful supplier, based on independent review of the procurement process within the limits of awarding authority. The award phase marks the:
- Successful conclusion of the procurement process
- Starting point for contract finalization and execution.
The purpose of conducting a review prior to recommending awards is to:
- Provide an independent and unbiased review of recommendations for contracts or purchase orders.
- Ensure that the procurement process was fairly conducted and followed the appropriate policies and procedures.
- Confirm the necessary budget for the contractual commitment is available.
- Confirm that the recommendation for award and terms of contract represent best value for money and that it is in the interests of the PE to select the chosen supplier.
- Seek approval from the appropriate authority to contractually commit the PE to procure the goods, services or works.
Thorough preparation of contract recommendation and approval documents is necessary to facilitate the award process; the explanations provided should be transparent, clear and precise justifications of the process leading to the award recommendation. Transparency and due diligence are key at this stage. Deliberate omission of relevant information is as unethical as deliberately submitting wrong information; short submission documents to cut corners are neither efficient in the long-term nor in line with the procurement principles. To avoid delays and omissions, standardized templates and check lists should be used for quality control. When delays arise they are usually a symptom of poorly executed planning or the result of attempted short cuts to speed up the process.