Contract registers

School buying staff can stay on top of crucial contract information by establishing a contract register. Learn why they are useful and how to prepare one.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Staff responsible for buying on behalf of their school
  • Boards

What is a contract register?

A contract register is a comprehensive list of all the current contracts that a school has in place with suppliers. It may take the form of a simple spreadsheet or a Word/Pages document.

School buyers sign many contracts to purchase various goods and services. The details of these contracts can be difficult to keep track of, particularly when staff responsible for buying in a school change over time.

It is essential that contracts are tracked to ensure that urgent requirements do not arise unexpectedly or at inconvenient times.

Creating a contract register can take time. Once established it will enable a school to save time and money as contracts can be more effectively managed.

Purpose of a contract register

A contract register is an effective tool for contract management because it:

  • ensures that information about all contracts is kept in one easy to access place
  • emphasises the key details of every contract
  • provides an auditable record of every contract.

Being fully aware of contract details enables schools to plan ahead for purchases.

When schools plan for a purchase early, there is more time available for assessing the market, for suppliers to prepare offers and for an effective evaluation of the offers to be completed.

Traits of a good contract register

The simpler a contract register is, the better.

A register should only include key information for each contract, such as the:

  • goods or services covered
  • supplier’s name and their key contact details
  • start and end dates
  • crucial terms and conditions (including if there is an option for renewal, or the amount of notice required if choosing to terminate the contract)
  • contract spend value (both annually and whole of life)
  • location of the full contract documentation.

Why you should focus on whole-of-life costs

Having a contract register in place makes it clear which important dates should be noted. 

Set a reminder in your calendar for a date several months before a contract expires. This will help when you are planning for a new contract to begin.

Download the contract register template

The below contract register template will help when establishing a new register.

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