Clarity, openness and trust: Avoiding contract disputes

4 December 2018
Contract disputes are stressful, demoralising, counterproductive and a waste of resources. Commissioners and contractors both need to know what to do to avoid them.
Contract disputes arise for many reasons. These include poor drafting, ambiguity, changing circumstances, differences of interpretation, failure to document local variations, contested payments, historic issues, and alleged breaches of contractual terms.
By the time both sides are reaching for third-party mediators or lawyers much of the damage will already have been done.
Disputes may be costly to resolve - and not just financially. Reputations may be harmed, particularly if the fall out reaches the media, services to patients may be affected, and the damage to relationships between commissioner and contractor may take years to heal.
No-one wants to reach a point where conflict resolution between commissioner, contract manager and provider is necessary. Constructive relationships are vital for the successful provision of high quality services that meet the needs of patients.
Investment in building relationships can save a lot of time and stress later on should performance or contract compliance issues arise.
A new event from PCC promises to equip delegates to prevent conflict in commissioning and contract management relationships. It also aims to increase their confidence in managing situations where conflict may arise.
This one day training session focuses first on preventing conflict, providing tips to build collaborative relationships and processes to make them work.
It looks at mechanisms to pre-empt conflict and practical solutions to prevent escalation to a formal conflict resolution process.
Delegates have the opportunity to put this knowledge to the test in an afternoon session where they can practice conflict management strategies using a combination of realistic scenarios and role play.
PCC adviser Karen Garry, one of the facilitation team, says: “We want people to leave with a clear understanding of the practical steps they can take to avoid conflict, and to go back to their organisations with more confidence about how to deal with situations where conflict is impossible to avoid.
“Most of all we want commissioners to grasp the importance of investing in relationships.
Conflict is much less likely to occur where there is clarity, openness and trust.”
For details about events in your area please contact

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