Tendering & procurement

Procurement and tendering procedures

We conduct all contracting and tendering procedures in a fully open manner that adheres to all local, national and European regulations.

All opportunities are widely advertised and include, when appropriate, publication in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

Regulations

All Public Sector organisations have to abide by The Public Procurement Regulations 2006 which is the law that relates to procurement and is common to all European member states following the European Procurement Directive 2004/18/EC. These rules state the value above which tenders must be advertised in Europe, the processes that are appropriate and the mandatory timescales.

Procurement in NHS Trusts is also governed by the individual Trust Standing Orders and Standing Financial Instructions, which dictate the value at which a quotation or tender process is required. All of these rules ensure that competition is fair and open, there is clear visibility of all processes to award contracts and that there is a competitive process followed to ensure value for money.

Trust will comply with Capital Investment Manual and other Department of Health Guidance. The Trust shall comply as far as is practicable with the requirements of the Department of Health ‘capital investment manual and ‘estate code’ in respect of capital investment and estate and property transactions. In the case of management consultancy contracts the trust shall comply as far as is practicable with Department of Health guidance ‘the procurement and management of consultants within the NHS.

Tenders completed appropriately by other organisations via OJEU may be able to be used by other individual organisations and this reduces the number of separate tenders required by each public sector organisation. The original tender will award to a chosen supplier/s for a specified requirement and these suppliers only can then be used without the requirement for a separate full tender by individual public bodies.

Contracting arrangements

Trusts require a significant range of products and services and as such a variety of contract arrangements are in place:

  • National framework agreements can be produced by government agencies such as the Office of Government and Commerce (OGC) which are available for all government organisations to use or NHS Supply Chain who produce framework agreements or contracts that all NHS Trusts can use. Framework agreements previously with NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (PASA) have been transferred to Buying Solutions.
  • National or regional framework agreements or contracts can be produced by individual or collaborative groups of public sector organisations. These can be limited to public sector organisations in a particular geographical location, specify one or more public sector, or be solely for named organisations.
  • Local framework agreements or contracts can be produced by Procurement departments in each Trust or consortium for local use only. Gloucestershire NHS Procurement Shared Service provides this contracting service for the Trust and arrangements can be made for a single Trust or for multiple Trusts.
  • Occasionally ad-hoc requirements arise which require individual orders only.

How to Sell to the Trust

A Trust, via Procurement, is obliged to advertise all tenders that are at the specified level for European tendering in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), which can be accessed via the Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) website. Lower level tenders may be advertised via OJEU or in alternative sites or publications.

Tendering Process

Procurement tenders follow the following basic process, although variations due to the different procedures can apply:

  • Advertisement or Contract Notice (OJEU term)
    This is when the requirement is advertised to all potential providers, and can be advertised through a variety of media.
  • Expression of Interest
    Suppliers should express an interest in bidding for the goods, services or works as advertised. This should be in accordance with the request made and any requested documents should be completed
  • Selection
    A process usually takes place to make a selection of the organisations from the expressions of interest received to take forward into the tender stage.
  • Invitation to Tender
    The tender documentation is issued to the selected organisations. The tenders must be returned in the specified manner and within the timescales requested.
  • Evaluation
    An evaluation takes place of the offers made by each potential provider and this can include presentations, trials or reference site visits as well as the offer documents themselves.
  • Award
    A preferred bidder is chosen and all bidders are advised of the status of their bid. Debriefing can take place where requested. Contracts are subsequently completed and implementation actions are commenced.

Example Conditions of Contract

Contracts with the NHS will use NHS Conditions of Contract; there are various Conditions but the following is shown as an example.

Details of contracts currently being tendered and list and value of contracts awarded

On 1 April 2010 HPC Shropshire was replaced with Shropshire Healthcare Procurement Service. This is a shared service providing a procurement service to:

  • Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust
  • The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH)
  • Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt NHS Foundation Trust (RJAH)

Details of all contracts and other information on procurement will be made available at www.sath.nhs.uk/procurement. Please see our FOI - Lists and Registers page for additional information.