It is perhaps naive to believe that this is going to work. How many times have you sped down the motorway and then called the police at the end of your journey in the knowledge that you will be fined and awarded penalty points? It just isn’t human nature and, certainly, it isn’t typical for commercial organisations to create a culture that expects their staff to purposefully diminish their returns on a contract in order to be contractually compliant.
On this basis alone, it is important for any public sector organisation to actively read and question the Monthly Report and to ensure that it properly addresses all of the requirements under the contract.
The minimum requirements for the Monthly Report are typically set out in both Schedules 14 and 18 of standard form contracts and will include the following:
- Incidences reported to the helpdesk, including the target Response Times and/or Rectification Times and those achieved;
- Maintenance and other task based activities carried out in the month;
- Maintenance and other task based activities planned for the next month;
- A summary of all Failure Events and Quality Failures (or equivalent);
- The effects of these Failures;
- A time frame, in hours, of any event not Rectified on time;
- The deductions to be made from the Service Payment in respect of Failure Events; and
- The number of Service Failure Points awarded in respect of each Service for that Contract Month.
However, for each Service that is covered by the Project Agreement, it is important to go back to the Service Level Specification and look at the requirements.
On most standard form contracts the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) or Service Parameters (SP’s) for each Service are typically well defined and stipulate what should be measured to demonstrate compliance. There can be up to 45 KPI’s per Service on a typical contract, so if there are say 11 Services (General, Estates, Helpdesk, Cleaning, Catering, Portering, Security, Telecoms, Pest Control, Waste and Energy Management) that could easily amount to in excess of 350 individual scores that need to be reviewed and critiqued each and every month.
What is not always well defined, though, is the method of monitoring and the source data that will be utilised.
For Reactive tasks, the method of monitoring is invariably measured using the Helpdesk, provided that Project Co (and their Service Providers) are properly reporting all reactive tasks using the Helpdesk (see our ‘Follow on tasks’ post). What is often missing, however, is clarity around the method of measurement for qualitative or planned tasks. It is therefore important to sit down with the Project Co and Service providers to check whether the contents of the monthly report do in fact evidence compliance with each of the KPI’s or SP’s.
Typically, the Authority will have a defined time frame to raise any issues with the self-declared scoring. This is typically two months, although in order to get any issues properly credited in the current month’s invoice, you may have as little as 5 days. Once two months have passed, the Monthly Report and the data it contains become the sole record for the period, with no challenges able to be raised except in cases of deliberate misrepresentation, gross incompetence, gross negligence, or fraud.
P2G actively monitor the performance and monthly reporting on a number of NHS PFI projects and our experiences to date suggest that there is a large divergence between reported and actual performance when measured against the contract. If you are interested in checking whether you are receiving the Services for which you are paying, please feel free to get in touch.