Ministry of Justice

Analytical Assessment of Contractual Compliance

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) manages a diverse portfolio of high-visibility contracts, from supplying prison kitchens with food, through to the provision of language services in courts to the operation of probation services and offender institutes. Hartley McMaster has provided analytic support to the MoJ for a number of years.

A team of the company’s consultants were tasked to investigate the operation of a multi-million pound contract involving high daily volumes of purchases. The supplier was contractually bound to a number of constraints and conditions, including limits on when – and at what rate – prices could be increased, and procedures to be followed when substituting one product for another.

Hartley McMaster’s analysis combined transaction level data from both the supplier and the MoJ’s internal accounting systems, the MoJ’s billing records, the supplier’s invoicing records, and various public sources of pricing information. The analysis identified several areas of apparent non-compliance, and gave MoJ a far better understanding of the contract’s operation than had previously been available. This enabled MoJ to better manage the current contract and to improve the design of its future replacement.

Contract Performance Assessment & Forecasting

In a separate project, Hartley McMaster developed a detailed model of the operation of a major service contract, providing the MoJ with the tools needed to audit that contract’s historic performance and forecast its likely behaviour in a number of alternative scenarios.


The analytical services employed by Hartley McMaster here complement and build upon traditional approaches to auditing. They permit checking down to a highly granular level, constrained only by the management information available. They provide a quantitative comparison between the way that a contract was intended to work and the way that the contract actually works, and the impact of any differences. Finally, they provide concrete evidence in those cases where contractual conditions have been breached.

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