As from April 2016, the new Public Contracts Regulations 2015 will come fully into force for NHS commissioners and will act in parallel to the current NHS regime overseen by Monitor. The new Public Contracts Regulations replace the old Part B services approach to health and social care contracts with a more formal set of obligations called The 'Light Regime'. Key features of this are:
CCGs need to OJEU advertise contracts for healthcare services above an overall threshold of £589,148.
- CCGs have to advertise by placing a 'call for competition' in the OJEU which can be either a traditional Contract Notice or an enhanced Prior Information Notice.
- CCGs can bundle together more than one contract opportunity in these calls for competition.
- CCGs have flexibility to design the procurement process for light regime services and can give weight to factors such as continuity of service in their evaluation criteria.
- CCGs have to act transparently and in a way which affords equal treatment in the way they run the procurement process. It would therefore be possible to vary a procurement process as it unfolds provided the CCG took measures to ensure all bidders were informed and treated equally in this process.
Those CCGs who have run or are considering running "most capable provider" type assessments (as approved by Monitor in the case of NEW Devon CCG) will also need to ensure that they meet the requirements of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.
Over the course of the next 2 months, we will be releasing a series of Commissioning Bytes highlighting some practical steps towards being light regime ready.
- Commissioning Byte 1: What steps can you take now with your existing contracts to renew or extend them before the April deadline?
- Commissioning Byte 2: How do you comply simultaneously with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and the regime enforced by Monitor under the NHS (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) Regulations 2013 (No.2)?
- Commissioning Byte 3: How flexible can your procedure be? How do you give best emphasis to your desired patient outcomes?
- Commissioning Byte 4: How do you challenge-proof your procurement? Commissioners need to navigate not just the procurement aspects but also consultation duties, the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, the Public Sector Equality Duty and conflicts of interest.
For more information, please contact:
Emily Heard, Partner
David Owens, Partner
Fran Mussellwhite, Associate