Procurement in a Nutshell: Provider Selection Regime (‘PSR’)- Direct Award Process A
1st November, 2023
The Department of Health and Social Care recently published the draft Provider Selection Regime (PSR), set out in the Health Care Services (Provider Selection Regime) Regulations 2023, which is intended to come into force on the 1st January 2024.
The PSR intends to remove the procurement of health care services, when procured by relevant authorities under the PSR, from the scope of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (the PCR). In doing so, the PSR seeks to give the relevant authorities, to which it applies, more flexibility in selecting providers for health care services, with an aim to promote greater collaboration, reduce the bureaucracy associated with the current rules, and enable the development of stable partnerships. As such, it is hoped the PSR will ensure all decisions are made with a view to securing the needs of patients, improving the quality of the services, and improving the efficiency in the provision of the services.
This new regime will apply to NHS England, Integrated Care Boards, NHS Trusts, NHS Foundation Trusts, local authorities and combined authorities when they are procuring healthcare services.
The procurement processes under the draft PSR include:
- Direct Award Process A
- Direct Award Process B
- Direct Award Process C
- Most Suitable Provider Process
- Competitive Process
What this Nutshell Covers
This Nutshell will analyse Direct Award Process A, explaining its scope and procedural requirements.
Relevant authorities may utilise Direct Award Process A when the existing provider is the only provider that can deliver the healthcare services to which the contract relates (Regulation 6(3)). This process cannot be used to conclude a framework agreement.
The process is that the relevant authority awards a contract without a competition, and submits for publication, on the UK e-notification service, a notice of the award (Regulation 7(1)).
The notice must be submitted within 30 days of the contract being awarded and must include the information set out in Schedule 2.
Each relevant authority is required to keep certain records (Regulation 24), including the reason for any decision made under the PSR. In addition, each authority must publish online an annual summary which must include the number of contracts awarded where Direct Award Process A was followed.
What this means
Direct Award Process A provides relevant authorities with greater flexibility to award a contract, without competition, when it is satisfied that the healthcare services in question can only be performed by the current provider. This reduces the complexity of the current regulations, improving efficiency in the delivery of healthcare services, as well as strengthening the relationship between relevant authorities and providers.
Relevant authorities must note that, unlike the current regulations, the PSR requires the publication of notices for a direct award of healthcare services.
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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