2015 Community and Mental Health Consortia Clinical and Administrative Information Systems Framework
The end of national provision of clinical and administrative information systems for mental health and community service providers in 2015 has sparked a collaborative approach to finding a replacement.
Services have been delivered in London and the south through the BT Local Service Provider contract.1 The contract for this service, based on the RiO software package, expires in October 2015 and Department of Health support for the RiO solution delivered through the LPfIT2will come to an end.
In response, the Community & Mental Health Programme Board appointed Peter Gooch, Associate Director of ICT at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, and Andrew Freeman as the 2015 Programme Manager, to explore options for the procurement of a replacement. The NHS London Procurement Partnership (LPP), a membership organisation for London’s NHS trusts designed to leverage value and quality from London’s annual £6-7bn procurement budget, was approached to work with Gooch and Freeman to identify the best ways of moving from national to local arrangements as the contract with BT expires.
The Procurement Strategy
Detailed analysis determined that a collaborative approach to re-procurement was
the most cost effective way of proceeding. On expiry of the national programme, each trust will enter into its own contract, tailored to meet local needs. Peter Gooch says “It is essential that we put in place commercial arrangements which provide trusts with the flexibility to make local decisions. The creation of a framework will achieve this.” The resulting framework will be made up of three separate
lots: application software, hosting services, and interoperability/portal/reporting services.
Because of the lengthy procurement process that needs to be undertaken and to minimise the risk of having to extend the current arrangements with BT, a joint project team was established in October 2011. The consortium quickly expanded to include 30 trusts from across London and the south, and LPP was brought into the project team to provide specialist procurement support. Andrew comments, “Given the importance of the exercise it is essential that we have experienced procurement specialists as part of the project team.” Peter adds “LPP, as an NHS organisation
established to support collaboration, is perfectly placed to work with us.”
The Procurement Process
The Consortia has entrusted LPP to ensure that the procurement exercise is undertaken in full compliance with EU and relevant public sector legislation. As Peter says, “This initiative has an extremely high profile and it is essential that
the wider IT marketplace is confident that we are running a fair and open process. We want to make sure that we create a framework with the suppliers who are best placed to provide solutions which meet the needs of consortia members.”
Consequently, the requisite notice was placed in the European Journal, inviting companies to complete a Pre Qualification Questionnaire.
LPP’s Information Technology and Telecoms workstream, led by John Horan, worked closely with Peter and Andrew to draw up the evaluation criteria, validated by representatives from the 30 trusts. LPP’s Steve Dunkerley and Keith Partridge ran evaluation briefing sessions for trust representatives. LPP debriefed the
suppliers who did not make the short list.
Following the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire phase, thirteen suppliers were invited to bid and ten responses were received at the end of November 2012.
The consortia project team aims to have the new framework in place and ready to use by July 2013. In addition to the 30 members of the consortia, this framework will be available for use by any trust which is a member of LPP. A degree of coordination will be required to ensure that suppliers do not become overloaded with requests to respond to invitations to tender.
Peter adds, “We recognise that the framework will need to be managed after it has been created, and that a number of trusts may need additional support to undertake their local procurement exercises. LPP is well placed to provide this specialist support, and I will work closely with them in the coming months to make sure we continue to have access to their expertise.”
1 Part of the London Programme for IT (LPfIT) and the
Southern Programme for IT (SPfIT), sub sets of the
National Programme for IT (NPfIT).
2 London Programme for IT (LPfIT)
Update March 2015
The consortia project team has the framework in place and has now delivered a solution to more than 38 consortia members. The supplier market has benefited from award of contracts and this has stimulated a high degree of innovation from the application providers.
The framework is now being actively used outside of the original South and London membership and has a footprint in the Midlands with Worcester Health and Care NHS Trustand Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust.
It is likely that a refresh of the framework will take place in 2015 to deliver more benefits to the NHS particularly in Interoperability, Integration and Business tools.
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