Single Point of Contact (SPC) Clause

A clause in a contract, often a development contract, that provides for all requests, notices, demands, change orders, etc. from one contractual party to be directed to a named person or job-title at the other party. Such clauses may be restrictive, i.e., they allow such communications to only go to the point of contact, or open, they require the communications to at least always go to to the point of contact. In other words they can be written so that you can only contact this person, but more commonly simply require that this person be included in all communications.

The advantages of such clauses are that a single person, usually a project manager or coordinator, has visibility of all communications and thus can see the “big picture.” The point of contact can also reroute communications if they have been directed to the wrong person so that any that are important from a legal, financial or corporate governance standpoint are more likely to be properly addressed and in general ‘balls are not dropped.’

However, for such clauses to be effective considerable care needs to be put into deciding who should be the point of contact. The selected point of contact needs to be sophisticated enough to understand most communications to a degree that they can work out what actions are necessary; where the communication may need to be directed; and who in the recipient organisation is qualified to address any issues raised. The problem of coverage also needs to be addressed, i.e., what happens if the point of contact is away, on vacation, ill or leaves the company.

The use of a restrictive point of contact is rare, and usually reflects a desire to maintain confidentiality about an organisation. Thus such an approach might be used to prevent a potential competitor from gleaning details about a business, such as who its key people are. It may also be used to prevent key personnel from having their work disrupted by an unfiltered stream of demands and requests.

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