Procuring, Managing, and Evaluating the Performance of Contracted TMC Services
Writing Specific Contractual Language
A sampling of actual contracts found a number of statements pertaining to record keeping procedures. Samples include the following.
“Patrol drivers shall record actions taken for each incident and motorist assist. A monthly activity report will be submitted by the service provider to the NDOT program manager.” (Freeway Service Patrol RFP, Reno, NV) –This is not a particularly well-written statement since it does not specify what actions should be recorded and what activities should be reported. Stating that all activities related to motorist assistance will be reported is impractical, as that potentially makes a contractor responsible for reporting activities such as activations of the brakes and turn signals—items that have little to no bearing on the performance.
“The service provider shall respond in writing to any complaints received by NDOT regarding the Freeway Service Patrol program within 10 working days of the complaints. This report must include the purpose of the complaint, name of patrol driver and the name and phone number of the motorist. Any action taken in response to this complaint must be included in the report.” (Freeway Service Patrol RFP, Reno, NV) –This statement is more precisely written in this it specifies a timeframe and the minimum amount of information that should be included in the report.
“The cost of providing secretarial services for typing of correspondence, reports, and records shall be included in the Consultant’s overhead.” (Operation of TMC in Capital Region RFP, NYSDOT) –This statement is a contract requirement and not a performance goal. It would be difficult to judge a contractor’s performance on this item.
“The consultant shall keep records of all reports of traffic signal malfunctions and shall record the maintenance calls that verify their receipt of the maintenance request.” (Operation of TMC in Capital Region RFP, NYSDOT) –This statement is very vague (all reports) and doesn’t actually tell a contractor what performance is being examined or how the contract is being evaluated.
“At any time of the day or night and any day of the week, the Consultant shall receive requests from Department personnel regarding problems with these programs, respond to those requests in accordance with NYSDOT and CRTMC Standard Operating Procedures, and keep records of all reports of these requests and shall record the details of how those requests were handled.” (Operation of TMC in Capital Region RFP, NYSDOT) – This statement specifies receiving reports at any time, but doesn’t state how reports are to be received (phone, fax, email, etc.). In addition, the statement says that all records and details should be recorded but doesn’t provide specificity in what attributes of the response are actually being evaluated, such as timeliness, customer satisfaction, correctness of response action, etc.
Enforcing the Terms of the Contract
With respect to contracted services, there is usually a focus on implementing the services as per the contractual terms, or enforcing the terms of the contract. A sampling of contracts revealed several areas of enforcement that received widespread attention, including
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