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A first set of organisations that set up and run procurement frameworks has been approved by NHS England as part of preparations to force trusts to buy services through accredited routes.

As reported last year, NHSE is clamping down on local trusts’ use of procurement frameworks, by making it obligatory to buy services through accredited frameworks only.

It is the latest step in an ongoing piece of work by NHSE to bring some central control over the different routes to market used by trusts to buy goods and services.

It aims to simplify and rationalise the routes trusts use to go to market for products and services and is a central component of the new national commercial strategic framework.

NHSE’s chief commercial officer Jacqui Rock last year described the NHS framework landscape as “the Wild West” and “out of control”.

All framework procurements will be in scope, though it will not impact procurements that do not use a framework, such as directly awarding low-value contracts to suppliers or going through full competitive tenders.

This week NHSE published a list of 20 framework hosts (listed below) that were accredited in a “first wave” of the process. Most are either public bodies, collaboratives made up of public bodies, or wholly owned by public bodies, but there are a handful run by private companies.

The standard contract for 2024-25 directs providers looking to buy through a framework to “purchase the required product or service via an accredited framework,” provided that it is available for timely supply through an accredited route.

However, guidance explains there will be an implementation period until March 2025, during which trusts apparently will still be able to buy through whichever route they favour provided they use an accredited host.

Until March 2025 trusts will only have to tell NHSE when they buy off the accredited lists – this notification “will help NHS England to further understand framework use across the system”.

However, from April 2024 trusts not using an accredited host will be “expected to submit to NHS England a justification and explanation as to why”.

Ms Rock has previously said the centre would pressure trust procurement teams to adhere to the framework accreditation policy first through trust and system leadership and second, if informal discussions do not work, by removing funding.

Accredited hosts

  1. Countess of Chester – part of the Countess of Chester Hospital Foundation Trust

  2. Crown Commercial Solutions – an executive agency of the Cabinet Office

  3. East of England Collaborative Procurement Hub – a collaboration of NHS organisations

  4. Eastern Shires Purchasing Unit – a collaboration of local authorities

  5. Efficiency East Midlands – a non-profit membership organisation made up of public bodies and charities

  6. HealthTrust Europe – a trusted procurement partner to public and private sector organisations.

  7. London Procurement Partnership – a collaboration of NHS organisations

  8. Lexica – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Guy’s and St Thomas FT

  9. NHS Shared Business Services – a joint venture between DHSC and French technology firm Sopra Steria

  10. NHS Commercial Solutions – a collaboration of NHS organisations

  11. NHS Arden and GEM CSU – an NHS England commissioning support unit

  12. NHS Supply Chain – national procurement agency owned by NHS England

  13. NHS Workforce Alliance – a collaboration of NHS organisations and the Crown Commercial Service

  14. NHS England – NHS national commissioner

  15. North of England Commercial Procurement Collaborative – a collaboration of NHS organisations

  16. North Midlands and Black Country Procurement Group – a collaboration of NHS organisations

  17. Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust – a provider trust

  18. Pagabo – a private firm

  19. QE Facilities – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gateshead Health FT

  20. Salisbury FT – a provider trust

Source: HSJ

Date: 27 February

Posted in News on Feb 27, 2024

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