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Top Considerations When Managing Contractors

Finding contractors who are reliable, certified and share your values can be a tricky and time-consuming business – but one that’s essential if you want to maintain the integrity and reputation of your organisation. Phil Jones, Managing Director of William Martin – a health and safety consultancy – explains more.

William Martin

In a recent poll we carried out on LinkedIn, 90% of respondents said their organisation had experienced repercussions because of a contractor or supplier’s actions.
There is much to think about when going through the contractor selection process, and this will vary depending on an organisation’s precise goals and priorities. However, in our experience, some of the most important considerations when choosing a contractor are:

Reliability: A contractor becomes an extension of your team, so if they don’t turn up when they say they will or fail to complete a task by a promised deadline, that’s not going to reflect well on your organisation.

Communication: Being open and honest are qualities that you should look for in a contractor. Everyone you work with should be able to communicate clearly and transparently about their capabilities, their availability and their challenges.

ESG: Public sector organisations increasingly want to work with contractors who align with their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. This involves conducting due diligence on a potential partner’s practices on things like energy efficiency, waste reduction, community engagement, fair labour standards and sustainable construction materials. To ensure your own ESG compliance, you may need to evidence exactly how you manage and document your contractors’ ESG policies, procedures and commitments.

Quality: Quality should always be a top priority when it comes to your buildings, and contractors play a huge role in this. Consistency is also a must; you need to ensure they can do a good job every time. Moreover, quality doesn’t just refer to the service your contractor provides, but also the materials they use and the way they work. Although budgets are tight just now, quality should always be prioritised. Investing in quality at the start of a job will save you time and money further down the line.

So, how do you ensure your contractors meet all the above criteria, without taking up too much of your valuable time?

As with most things, tech can help. Some organisations opt for a simple spreadsheet to keep track of contractors’ information. The downsides here are that they require manual input and don’t use real-time data. A supply chain management platform, which can give full visibility over the contractors you work with and keep all documentation in one place, can help you make faster decisions. It can also allow you to set criteria for your contractors to meet, on things like ESG and net zero.

A good platform will also allow you to set bespoke questions related to your organisation. The answers will give you the background knowledge you need to choose who you want to work with, without spending hours trawling through paperwork.

By using tech to manage things like the financial health, insurance certificates, professional memberships and accreditations of potential contractors in real time, you should be able to see more quickly and easily who best aligns with your values, goals and net-zero requirements – hopefully leading to a lasting relationship.

Phil Jones is William Martin’s Managing Director, a position he has held for the past 18 months. Having previously been the company’s Technical Director, Phil is a Chartered Member of IOSH and strongly believes in maintaining his professional membership with a focus on continuing his professional development.

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