Procurement In A Nutshell – healthcare services
18th March, 2016
If you are an NHS Contracting Authority or bidding for healthcare contracts, this is your one month's notice for the implementation of the Light Touch Regime which will come into force on 18 April 2016, including those to which the NHS (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No 2) Regulations 2013 (the 2013 Regulations) apply, for all contracts caught under the Light Touch regime in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCRs).
You may remember our Procurement in a Nutshell which provided information on the Light Touch Regime. To review this Nutshell, please click here.
What is the conflict?
It appears that when the Light Touch Regime under the PCRs come into force, a conflict will arise with the 2013 Regulations.
The commissioning of health services by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) and NHS England is currently regulated by the 2013 Regulations but will be subject to the Light Touch Regime from 18 April 2016.
Briefly, the 2013 Regulations look for the best provider to secure the needs of service users and aim to improve quality and efficiency, whereas the Light Touch Regime requires competition where the contract value exceeds the current threshold of £589,148.
Clarity is required as to how the PCRs and the 2013 Regulations will work together in practice.
The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) promised to provide guidance regarding the envisaged conflict however this has not been issued to date. We have recently contacted the CCS who has confirmed this is the intention.
Why is this important?
This will be important for all healthcare contracts caught under the Light Touch Regime when the 2013 Regulations would usually be followed.
How can I find out more?
If you have any queries on the issues raised or on any aspect of procurement, please contact us via our procurement hotline on 0191 204 4464.
Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.
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