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Intellect calls for OGC changes

Challenges 'one fits all' approach

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The IT industry association has launched a best practice guide for suppliers that challenges some aspects of Office of Government Commerce (OGC) guidelines for public sector contracts

Intellect published "Contracting Best Practice - Guidance for Suppliers" on 24 April. It said that it consolidates the ICT industry view of current best contracting practice, and that it wants the OGC to reconsider some of its own guidance in the field.

In a statement, Intellect director Nick Kalisperas said: "Intellect believes changes should be made to the OGC's current version of the model contracts for major IT projects and programmes in order to create a framework that is in the best interest of both customers and suppliers.

"There is particular concern amongst suppliers that a uniform model or 'one fits all' approach, which is accompanied by a tendency to add further restrictions and conditions to model contracts, can tip the balance of risk allocation inappropriately. This in turn can introduce unnecessary costs and inhibit flexibility in solution, provision, and innovation.

"Such an approach misses the essential point that for a project/programme to be successful, the supplier and customer must work together to ensure their interests are in balance and the eventual goals are understood and agreed."

Kalisperas told Government Computing News that, while there are areas of disagreement, Intellect is continuing a dialogue with the OGC. "We are working very closely with the OGC on this," he said. "We feel and they have been aware that there are issues where we agree to disagree. On the back of this, we have to think about how we can best serve our members."

The two organisations have a record of working together. In late 2003 they published joint guidance for public sector organisations and suppliers on partnerships for implementing projects.

Among the key objectives addressed in the guidance are:

  • successful and reliable delivery by the supplier against the customer's requirement;
  • due compensation for the customer should the supplier not perform as agreed;
  • a recognition of the customer's necessary role in contributing to delivery;
  • an equitable balance of risk, with responsibilities assigned to those best able to manage them;
  • acknowledgment of the importance of appropriate behaviours as a vital part of the delivery process.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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