NEC4 ECSC: Who exactly is the Client under the ECSC and how can communications/instructions be controlled?

I represent a national organisation with multiple departments (Operations; Engineering; Asset Management; Environment; Estates; etc; etc) who all have a tendency to give our contractors “guidance” on how and what they should be doing.

The organisation uses the ECSC4 form, in which the Client is invariably stated in the Contract Data to be “The Organisation”, rather than a named individual.

To my mind this means that anyone within “The Organisation” can instruct the Contractor who is then obliged to act upon said instruction.

Whilst Cl 14.5 talks about delegation of actions it is not clear to me whether, in making such a delegation, this then excludes anyone else from “The Organisation” giving instructions.

With this in mind does anyone have any advise on how contract communications can/should be controlled under ECSC?

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We have the same issue. The way we deal with it is to remind the Contractor at the pre-start meeting that all contractual communications need to be in writing (in a form that can be read copied and recorded - Clause 13.1) so he should not act upon any oral ‘instruction’ without first checking with the site representative who has been identified by letter as having been delegated certain actions.

We also try to ensure that ‘client’ departments discuss matters with the delegated representative rather than direct with the Contractor.

These measures are not 100% effective, but probably achieve 99%.

Named individuals should be named rather than a “company name” or an “organisation name” for this exact reason. This than makes it clear who is empowered to give an instruction. Under the full versions of the contract these powers can be formally delegated (in writing)

Thanks for the advice, greatly appreciated

Thanks Dave for sharing your experience