You will be bound by whatever you said you would do in your tender, unless changes are agreed before the contract for your delivery of the service is finalised. There is often a significant period even after the standstill period when the details of the delivery will need to be negotiated. The authority might want to negotiate changes to outcomes, methods of delivery, or price. Even though your bid will have clearly set out your plans and been selected on this basis, the authority remains the buyer and it is still up to them at this point exactly what they want to purchase!
If TUPE is involved (see Step 2) then this stage of negotiation and planning will be likely to be particularly complex and time consuming and will normally involve legal advisers. You will need to be clear how you are going to meet the costs of this advice. Once you have agreed the detail with the authority they will issue a contract for you to sign.
This is a legal document and will specify a number of important things, including:
- when the contract will start and end
- what you must achieve
- how you must report on progress to the authority
- how much you will be paid and when, including whether payments will be triggered by outcomes or performance
- what will happen if things go wrong and what action the authority can take, including terminating your contract.
It is extremely important that you understand and agree with every point in the contract before you sign it. If you are not completely sure about something, you should seek advice. And if this is the first contract of its kind that you have entered into, then you should almost certainly seek legal advice on the entirety of the contract.