Contract management: minimising risk, maximising efficiency – an interview with Andrew Stewart

Contract management: minimising risk, maximising efficiency – an interview with Andrew Stewart

A business using multiple contracts for multiple purposes is a lawyer’s worst nightmare. How can processes be streamlined to improve efficiency and consistency and to minimise risk? Sophie Gould talks to Andrew Stewart, who was until recently Managing Attorney for Global Technology and Sourcing in BP Legal, about how he transformed their approach to contract management and its impact on the business’ ability to self-serve.

Tell us a little bit about your role and your team …

There are over 300 lawyers in the BP global legal team and a presence in more than 40 countries. I came to the role of Managing Attorney eight years ago. I ran a team of nine people, split between Houston, Sunbury and Budapest, supporting three key internal business functions. There is Global Business Services, a back-office process-driven organisation that does largely execution-only work, such as finance and accounting, invoice reconciliation and order entry. Secondly, there is Indirect Procurement, which buys things the BP Group needs strategically, or which are shared by everybody (for example, IT equipment and professional services). The third group we support is our IT organisation.

Contract management has been one of your biggest challenges – how did you approach it?

When I came into the role and started working within procurement, one of the first questions I asked was: what documentation and templates are you using? Different groups had their own templates and precedent banks in different places –  I counted over 40 documents which had official or unofficial accreditation as an indirect procurement template. There was no consistency in approach to risk, structure or terminology. It was really confusing as to which document to use for which purpose. It became obvious that we could get rid of a lot of them and rationalise the remainder.

We started a process of analysis to see which templates were

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About the author:
Sophie Gould is the Head of Lexis®PSL In-house. Sophie worked as an in-house lawyer for 10 years including seven years as Head of Legal for Virgin Radio and Ginger Media Group. She has also run a legal risk and compliance training business.

 

Since joining LexisNexis in 2009 Sophie has worked on developing our legal and business content for the in-house legal community.  She also runs various networking and mentoring groups for in-house lawyers and works with schools to promote social mobility within the legal profession.