Checklist Underpinning Contract (UC)

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Checklist Underpinning Contract (UC) - Template Underpinning Contract (UC)
Checklist Underpinning Contract (UC) - Template Underpinning Contract (UC)

Definition: The Underpinning Contract (UC) is a contract between an IT service provider and a third party. The third party provides supporting services that enable the service provider to deliver a service to a customer. Therefore, Underpinning Contracts must be aligned with the customer-facing Service Level Agreements.

ITIL Process: ITIL Service Design - Supplier Management

ITIL 4 Practice: Supplier management

Checklist Category: ITIL Templates


Underpinning Contract - Contents

ITIL Underpinning Contract (UC)
Fig. 1: ITIL Underpinning Contract: Definition and information flow (view full size)

An Underpinning Contract typically contains the following information (actual contents may vary depending on the type of service):


Service name

Supplier information

  1. Supplier name
  2. Address information
  3. Contact person including contact details
  4. Further information as required (e.g. supplier number)

Clearance information

(with location and date)

  1. Responsible third-party representative
  2. Responsible Suppplier Manager on service provider side

Contract duration

  1. Start and end dates
  2. Rules regarding renewal and termination of the agreement (if applicable, rules for normal and early termination)

Description/ desired service outcome

  1. Business processes/ activities supported by the service
  2. Desired outcome in terms of utility (example: “Field staff can access enterprise applications xxx and yyy without being constrained by location or time”)
  3. Desired outcome in terms of warranty (example: “High availability required during office hours in locations …”)

Interfaces and communication

Interfaces and communication between contract parties

  1. Contact points and details for both contractual parties
  2. Description of the interfaces between the third-party, the service provider and any other relevant parties
  3. Service Reporting (contents and intervals of service reports to be produced)
  4. Service Reviews (description of the procedure for reviewing the service on a regular basis)
  5. Procedure for handling exceptions and complaints (e.g. details to be included in formal complaints, agreed response times, escalation procedure)

Service times

  1. Hours when the service is required to be available
  2. Exceptions (e.g. weekends, public holidays)

Required types and levels of support

  1. On-site support
    1. Area/ locations
    2. Types of users
    3. Types of infrastructure to be supported
    4. Reaction and resolution times (according to priorities, definition of priorities e.g. for the classification of Incidents)
  2. Remote support
    1. Area/ locations
    2. Types of users (user groups granted access to the service)
    3. Types of infrastructure to be supported
    4. Reaction and resolution times (according to priorities, definition of priorities e.g. for the classification of Incidents)

Service level requirements/ targets

  1. Availability targets and commitments
    1. Conditions under which the service is considered to be unavailable (e.g. if the service is offered at several locations)
    2. Availability targets (exact definition of how the agreed availability levels will be calculated, based on agreed service time and downtime)
    3. Reliability targets (required by some customers, usually defined as MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) or MTBSI (Mean Time Between Service Incidents))
    4. Maintainability targets (required by some customers, usually defined as MTRS (Mean Time to Restore Service))
    5. Down times for maintenance (number of allowed downtimes, pre-notification periods)
    6. Restrictions on maintenance, e.g. allowed maintenance windows, seasonal restrictions on maintenance, and procedures to announce planned service interruptions
    7. Definitions of Major Incidents as well as Emergency Changes and Releases to resolve urgent issues, including procedures to announce unplanned service interruptions
    8. Requirements regarding availability reporting
  2. Capacity/ performance targets and commitments
    1. Required capacity (lower/upper limit) for the service, e.g.
      1. Numbers and types of transactions
      2. Numbers and types of users
      3. Business cycles (daily, weekly) and seasonal variations
    2. Response times from applications
    3. Requirements for scalability (assumptions for the medium and long-term increase in workload and service utilization)
    4. Requirements regarding capacity and performance reporting
  3. Service Continuity commitments (availability of the service in the event of a disaster)
    1. Time within which a defined level of service must be re-established
    2. Time within which normal service levels must be restored

Technical standards and specification

Mandated technical standards and specification of the technical service interface


  1. Duties of the third party
  2. Duties of the service provider
  3. Responsibilities of service users (e.g. with respect to IT security)
  4. IT Security aspects to be observed in the context of the service (if applicable, references to relevant IT Security Policies)


Sub-contractors used by the third party to fulfill the obligations defined in this agreement

  1. List of sub-contractors used, including their roles
  2. Methods applied to ensure that the services supplied by sub-contractors are aligned with and support this agreement

Pricing model

  1. Cost for the service provision
  2. Rules for penalties/ charge backs

Change history

List of annexes and references

(e.g. further contracts between the contractual parties which also apply)


(if applicable)



Is based on: Checklist "ITIL Underpinning Contract (UC)" from the ITIL Process Map

By:  Stefan Kempter , IT Process Maps.


Desired service outcome › Interfaces › Required types of support  › Service level requirements