6 Monitoring Community Benefits
The monitoring and reporting requirements for a contract relates to the way the Community Benefits are measured. However, they may also relate to the context in which the initiative is being delivered and the monitoring requirements of external resource providers. This can lead to an excessively complex and onerous set of monitoring requirements being placed on the contractor and the contracting authority's team and would run counter to the principle of proportionality. Monitoring conditions should be supported by the costs and benefits they accrue.
A second issue to consider is how the monitoring data can be verified, especially in the context of the Data Protection Act which may limit the 'personal information' that an employer can provide to a third party, such as the contracting authority. 28
It is important to consider how outcomes will be monitored and how information will be used at the time when targets are set (see section 4.4.1).
Monitoring and verification is an activity that has caused some problems for GHA. The problems have arisen in relation to:
- the reporting needs of GHA - to demonstrate the benefits its activities were having on social exclusion;
- the resources required to undertake adequate monitoring;
- an expectation that Construction Glasgow would provide some elements of the monitoring and verification: this has not been fulfilled. 29
The result has been a complex set of monitoring requirements in the contracts and gaps in the verification system. These problems have now been addressed. To handle the complex monitoring requirements GHA has invested in an electronic monitoring system with data being e-mailed to a monitoring officer and input into a bespoke data-base system that produces management reports on the overall performance and the performance of each contractor. This is producing robust output information.
It is important that the contracting authority responds to the monitoring information or the lack of information. Contractors and suppliers will respond to the priority that the contracting authority gives to different elements of thecontract.