Yes well - one contract in this category was let just before Christmas.This was in the form of a small framework (6 providers selected and the work split between them over a 4 year period - this is a well established system in use by Local Authorities and to be expected for LES) 82 tenders were submitted. Of the six admitted into the framework - 2 international companies, 3 national companies, 1 charity. None of the practices which tendered got through. This was because they did not know what is required or how to tender. The secret is preparation. We have helped some practice managers to get started. There is only one answer, if you want the work (and the income) find out what is required and start preparing now!
Re the point made by Dr Higgins: the isue for the purchaer is tha t"stuff happens" which can affect their assessment of risk. One of our customers had an H&S enforcement notice issued. Usually this leads to exclusion from the process. But by dealing with the matter they finished up providing a better service for patients and gave comfort to their pruchaers as a result were awarded conracts. These types of events are occurring all of the time across the areas covered by the Questionnairre. This is why purchasers require uptodate information. Ultimately the process pushes up the overall quality of the services being provided.
Absolutely correct. The AQP form, also known as the PQQ in H&SC tendering should not be onerous. The Procurement Regulations require that thi stage in tendering asks about the "personality"(sorry EU translation!) of the tenderer i.e company, partnership etc. "economy" details of accouonts, financial sustainabillity and "technical capacity" this means providing evidence of qualifications, previous contracts held and capacity to deliver the service, including experience. A well managed practice should have this information to hand
There is considerable confusion over this first "selection" stage in tendering and AQP selection and the second "award" stage which is used in other full tendering processes. It is true that CCGs appear to be going overboard where they are not using AQP, but a full tendering process. 31 questions requiring answers of 500 words is questionalbe as to both validity and the cost of appraisal. But THIS DOES NOT apply to AQP.
Just one word of warning - tendering documents are the property of the purcasher, protected by copyright and provided for the tenderer and their advisers only in strictest confidence. It is not a good idea to share tendering document with any other body as by doing so the tenderer risks being excluded from the process arising from potential collusion.
As I commented to Pulse a week or so ago, and as Mr Pritchard rightly says, regardless of what ministers or civil servants say, in the end these matters will be decided by the courts against a background of UK and EU case law and EU Treaty obligations. The H&SC Act allows providers two options if they are aggrieved a) Monitor; or b) The Public Contracts Regulations i.e. directly to the courts, bypassing Monitor. This has nothing to do with "quick bucks". That is quite demeaning for the many many charitable and small family sized providers which have been providing excellent, committed services over the years. They have every right to compete to deliver services.
Of ourse people may use their own money to buy services from relatives, but where that money emanates from the state, then competition is required which is fai and transparent. In implementiing s75 purchaers will be required to provide evidence that no other route was possible. The only way to do this is to run a competitive proces and show that no suitable providers offered their services.
Not at all - pratices are businesses. They will be required to tender for some contracts. It is standard procurement practice to require tenderers to have six months reserves. If practices do not have that then they risk not securing contracts.
In any case as I said Business Continuity demands that a sound business has sufficient financial reserves to carry reasonable levels of risk. The possiblity that there would be glitches in the payment systems during the first three months of a new system is a predictable high level risk. The same is true for any business.
Mark - 40 years in public sector procurement, the past 20 in health and social care. Sorry to offend you Thomas but Mark asked. Yes I run a small business, Yes we carry six months reserves which were valuable when my husband had a stroke - unforseen risk! No I do not need to promote my business thank you Thomas - I am buried in providers desperate for help - I am simply making a point.
Yes well - as with any new system "stuff happens" - should be anticiapted abd preparations made well in advance.
Re Dr Hughes point about no payment by the end of the quarter. Surely any prudent practice would keep reserves of at least 6 months running costs to cover this type of eventuality! It is not as if the change has happened suddenly, Practices have had the time to risk assess the transition and money should have been at the top of that list. Also why do practices appear not have quality Business Continuity Management Programmes in place? This s not just about "bird flu" and "flooding" A BCMP which meets the BS25999.ISO22301 standards will have systems in place which deal with a failure or denial of every aspect of the business. This will be required of every provider who tenders for contracts - sorry but this article simply provides examples of poor management.
I promised you a detailed response to the posting yesterday which appeared to question the role of consultants in procurement. I have posted a response on the TfC website at www.tenderingforcare.com as I do not wish to take advantage ot the good offices of PULSE. I hope it will be helpful
I have just posted some of the tenders for LE services awarded by local Authorities over the past six weeks and also some of the rapidly increasing number of invitations to tender for these services currently being published at http://www.tenderingforcare.com/recent
David Partridge - yes happy to help, would you like to contact me? the TfC website has contact details at http://www.tenderingforcare.com/contact. I do not charge for everything I do, I was not paid by Pulse for example, so happy to help pro bono.
Thomas Reichelm - yes you make some fair points which need to be addressed properly and in full. I will do so, but not until tomrrow if you don't mind, I have some pressing challenges which I mutst deal with at the moment as they are time limited. Apologies for the delay.
To Anon.0.07: as I said yesterday a total of 531 contracts for services which will, from 1st April include the LES have been let, as a result of a competitive tendering process since Jan 2010. The vast majority of these to large charities and social enterprises, although some to private companies. Theses providers can and are making these services work to very high standards. Bringing this funding stream together to be managed by Local Authorities, form the purchasing perspective, makes a lot of sense. As I said in my quotes GPs are walking into a new world where market testing assesses what is best for the end user (patients) specifications set out what is to be purchased and all those who think they can meet the specification make their offer. There will be no problem in securing sufficient competition. My worry is that unless GPs try to understand and engage with this new world, they will be pushed aside. Have no douobts, there are a number of providers out there with the capacity and capability to win these contracts - UK charities and Companies as well as US companies. To repeat again, the best starting place for a practice would be to find a suitable provider, to sub-contract services leaving them to worry about the tendering stuff and the GP practice to deal with delivery.
No, GPs do not necessarily have to learn how to tender. Procurement of many of the services which have fallen under the LES heading is not new to local Authorities or specialist providers. During the period from 1st January 2010 and 1st March 2013 the tendering exercises for the following services have been undertaken by Local Authorities:
•Alcohol prevention and treatment 162
•Drug misuse prevention and treatment 119
•Sexually transmitted diseases 76
•NHS Health checks 14
•Substance misuse 160
GPs can link up with providers experienced in tendering for thee services and sub-contract their services. Many providers will welcome approaches of this kind - a real practical link up of health and social care.
Exactly so - providers are becoming more and more willing to challenge. Last year we dealt with 6 legal challeneges to tender decisions, so far this year the figure is 34. My concern has always been that, if they are not very careful, CCGs will finish up spending money for frontline services on defending against legal challenges, or in punitive damages, which as I showed in my article, are now a fact of life for both very small and very large contracts. Without CIPS qualified staff, CCGs may find that they very quickly hit serious legal difficulties which are always expensive. Remember that once a challenge is instigated, the contract cannot be awarded!!
The second comment makes my point entirely. All of the examples given in the response were poorly specified. If the provider cannot give evidence that they have the capacility to meet the requirements set out in the spec, in budget and on time, then the contract should not be awarded. It is for the purchaser to specify and set out clearly and accurately what insight and other factors are required and for the provider to demonstate that they can and will deliver tha requirement.