Contract Guidance Tool


Guidance Tool for Contracting Private Military and Security Services


States, international organisations, humanitarian organisations and non-governmental organisations increasingly hire PMSCs to support their security, in particular in situations of armed conflict or post-conflict environments. Nevertheless, the selection of a potential PMSC contractor is often primarily based on the ‘lowest price’ criteria. This practice can be harmful to a client’s reputation and risks leading to lower standards in the industry in general. Once a PMSC is hired, the performance and profile of the company and its personnel may also be associated with the client’s image.


The role of clients is fundamental, as commercial incentives and restrictions in the contract can help compel private military and security providers to adhere to relevant human rights and IHL obligations. Contracts can also be a powerful legal tool to reinforce high standards. Yet, there is scarce shared information and experience to support developing contracts that ensure respect with these principles and rules. Reputational risks can also be mitigated with a contracting process which includes effective screening and vetting procedures.


The Contract Guidance Tool draws on leading international norms and standards to reflect the principles of responsible procurement and contracting practices, and provides clear and practical guidelines for national contracting officers or procurement specialists. By translating knowledge and research into a practical and easy-to-use format, the Contract Guidance Tool provides implementation support for those individuals drafting, implementing, and monitoring contracts with PMSCs.


The Contract Guidance Tool is composed of two distinct sections:

Download the Contract Guidance Tool in English.