NHS England is looking to scale back spending on legal advice by rationalising the way local organisations procure and use services.
Its commercial directorate is preparing to set up a “national legal services system”, according to documents published on the NHS’ procurement portal.
It has published a procurement announcement that it is looking for a management consultancy to help lay the groundwork for this new system. NHS organisations would be able to use such a service, if they wish, “to deliver their legal services more efficiently and effectively through enhanced technology, automated processes, knowledge management and advice sharing”.
It would support wider aims to “modernise NHS legal services” through digital technology and “enabling NHS organisations to collaborate and share legal advice, automate processes, and make the best use of taxpayer’s money”.
It has six objectives, including improving “the quality and outcomes delivered by legal services”, modernising and improving the “efficiency of legal services”, removing “silo working and duplication through system interoperability”, and improving patient safety through “data-driven trend prediction and continuous improvement”.
NHS England could launch the procurement for the national legal services system before the New Year, according to an indicative timeline in the documentation published this week. For now, it is looking for “professional services to work with the programme team to produce and deliver the business requirements documents… and support the development of the case for change”.
An NHSE spokesperson said: “NHS England is committed to improving taxpayer value for money, and this invitation to quote will allow us to look at what a potential national legal services system could do to improve services in the NHS.”
Legal services are one of four programmes under the commercial directorate’s corporate services transformation programme. The centre has long wanted to rationalise trust and integrated care system corporate services and back-office functions to reduce duplication and improve efficiency.
This has included encouraging trusts to share things like payroll or procurement functions with their neighbours in their health system.
Date: 26 September