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Service Delivery

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This is the final stage in the 10-stage consortium development process, when, having done all the preparatory work, the consortium actually delivers services.

This page focuses on the additional considerations for consortia.

Consortia must be able to successfully manage a ‘chain’ of relationships, both upwards (commissioners) and downwards (subcontractors). For example:

  • if a member of the consortium fails to deliver, how do you address the member’s performance, and how do you ensure that there is no impact to the overall contract?
  • how do you become aware of performance difficulties early enough so that support or mitigation can be put in place?
  • how do you align systems from a multitude of providers so that you can report appropriately to the funder/commissioner?
  • how do you ensure that internal decisions, for example the awarding of subcontracts, are made fairly and transparently?

Outcomes for this stage

  • Policies and procedures are in place to manage risk, contracts, subcontracting, performance and data.
  • Consortium members are clear about what role they will play in contract management and oversight. Many consortia have a contract oversight group drawn from the membership. 

Key activities for this stage

1.   Risk analysis

  • A risk analysis should be carried out, looking at: what could go wrong, what can you put in place in order to reduce likelihood or impact of those risks? See our ‘How To’

2.   Subcontracting policies and templates

  • Set up an appropriate system for awarding sub-contracts based on the following principles/criteria:
    • Contract compliance (including compliance in the following areas: profile of project deliverables and associated outcomes against specified statement of need, quality assurance, financial accounting, outcome accounting and value for money benchmarks) 
    • Delivery capacity of providers
    • Potential impact
    • Fairness
    • Transparency
  • Develop template subcontracts.
  • Consider carefully how risk is passed down the supply chain: On one hand, the consortium needs to be able to withdraw or claw back funding if a provider fails to deliver, which would mean that the commissioner withholds payments to the consortium lead. However, it is important that smaller providers are not expected to carry a burdensome level of risk.

3.   Contract and performance management

  • Develop a robust contract management system.
  • Consider:
    • what support is available when a member fails to deliver?
    • what are the sanctions following repeated failure?
    • what contingencies are in place to maintain service continuity if there is a failure?
  • Develop a contract management system, which includes protocols for reporting, payments, and response when delivery does not meet targets. 
  • Develop a system for monitoring the performance of sub-contractors.
  • Implement measures to maintain and improve standards of delivery across the consortium – to include a consortium-wide quality assurance policy and strategy.

4.   Data management

  • Set up a data management system that:
    • can accommodate data from all consortium partners (ideally a single system)
    • is not too onerous for consortium partners, and ideally aligns well with data they already capture, and systems they already use
    • enables partners to submit data in a way that can easily be interpreted and reported upwards to the commissioner
    • covers all the requirements of the commissioner.
  • Create and adopt a data management policy that covers the above. 

5.   Internal oversight

  • Many consortia have a contract oversight group. Bringing providers together can be a useful way of supporting members to understand what’s involved in delivering a shared service as opposed to an individual service. This can be a cultural shift for voluntary organisations that are used to working alone. 

More information


Page last edited Oct 14, 2020

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