Determining contract management challenges relating to supply chain management in the Eastern Cape Department of Education
Surajbali, Radhesh Ramsumer
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The South African Government depends on procuring goods and services which are necessary to give effect to its service delivery mandate which as such are not available within the public sector or can be insourced. The required goods and services are procured through the supply chain management system which includes the function of managing contracts that have been arranged for the goods and services that have been sourced from external suppliers or service providers. Contract management is essential to ensure that there is control over the contractual arrangements between the public sector institution and the appointed supplier or service provider to promote efficiency, effectiveness and value for money. However, challenges are experienced in the implementation of contract management. Thus, the focus of the study is to identify the potential contract management challenges that the Eastern Cape Department of Education (herein after referred to as the Department) experiences and propose a management framework to form the basis for possible corrective action or improvement. A literature review and semi-structured interviews with purposively sampled officials were employed to collect. The research instrument utilised for data collection was based on the themes identified during the review of literature and include legislation and prescripts; frameworks; contract management activities; contract management role players; risk management; and contract management tools. The analysis of the data provided overwhelming evidence which confirmed that the Department experiences challenges related to contract management. These challenges are: a lack of capacity, lack of knowledge and skills of the officials involved in contract management activities; poor communication and relationship management across the Department; a lack of staff; absence of a contract management unit; a lack of policies and procedures; a lack of monitoring; and a lack of training. A management framework for contract management within the Department was proposed based on the data collected and analysed during the empirical investigation. The rules or critical contents which should be incorporated under the various activities to guide the Department in its contract management activities were proposed and will facilitate the development of a final contract management framework. The study also identified the need for a suitable contract management process flow to ensure uniformity and consistency in the management of contracts. A suitable organisation structure for contract management within the Department was also proposed.
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