Clear and concise specifications are an essential foundation for effective procurement and contract management. Developing a clear specification helps ensure that the buying organisation has considered its requirement carefully, providing a basis for common stakeholder understanding and expectations and a robust basis for the measurement of supplier service delivery. For the supplier organisation it provides a clear basis for costing and pricing the service to be delivered and following award of the contract for the on-going measurement of performance, thereby reducing the likelihood of contract failure, conflict and relationship breakdown.

This 1 day course is designed to help delegates understand the importance of developing robust specifications and provide insight to good practice approaches for doing so.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this workshop delegates will:

  • Understand the role of the specification and a range of specifying approaches
  • Be familiar with the different types of specification and their relative merits
  • Recognise how specifications drive cost as well as technical and commercial risk
  • Be aware of key principles and techniques for specification writing
  • Appreciate some of the main challenges in specifying services
  • Be more confident in writing effective specifications for their purchases


  • The purpose of the specification
  • Specifying as a key business process
  • Types of specification and selecting the most effective approach
  • Components of a robust specification
    • Service Level Agreements and KPIs
    • Relationship Specification
    • Financial Specification
  • Principles of specification writing:
  • The use of standards in specifications
  • Specifications as cost drivers and techniques for achieving value for money
  • Legal issues around specifications
  • Change control mechanisms
  • Specifying Services

Who Should Attend

Procurement, Contract Managers and Operational staff who are (or should be) involved in specifying the requirements for externally sourced goods and services and managing the performance of contracts and suppliers.

In-house Courses     

This course can be readily customised to focus on specific organisational specification development challenges and provide a means of achieving a degree of common understanding and consensus on specification development approaches, roles and responsibilities amongst contract stakeholders.

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