Driving Efficiency in NHS Estates and Procurement

Russell Burns
Following publication of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the NHS is undergoing the biggest reorganisation in its history and is deeply embedded in transition.

Primary Care Trusts were abolished earlier this year and replaced with the National Commissioning Board, Commissioning Support Units, Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS Property Services. All NHS Trusts are targeted to become NHS Foundation Trusts by 2014.

Seeking efficiency

NHS estates and facilities management professionals have the difficult task of ensuring that buildings meet their objectives for providing care, while making savings in both capital and revenue budgets.

Changed responsibilities

Dissolved NHS Trusts have resulted in smaller units (eg. GP surgeries or smaller clinics) having responsibility for estate management, commissioning and maintenance. Many of these are undertaking commissioning responsibilities for the first time, against a backdrop of greater efficiency expectations. Balancing local needs within constrained budgets is proving complex for many and the emphasis is on achieving more with less money.

Balancing local needs within constrained budgets is proving complex for many and the emphasis is on achieving more with less money.

OJEU compliant framework procurement options have typically worked in one of two ways: a selected list of approved providers who compete in mini competitions to win projects, or a sole provider who supplies all services throughout the duration of the framework, based on pre-tendered rates.

The Scape AMSandDS Framework

Scape offers the NHS a new procurement model – a collaborative framework bringing efficiency and cost savings. With OJEU tendering procedures already completed, Scape avoids the often time-consuming and costly procurement process, bringing time, cost and quality benefits.

The framework gives immediate access to a complete suite of professional and contractor construction consultancy services. The services can work together or independently of each other to suit the client’s needs. Ongoing measurable KPIs are built in to the process, enabling clients to demonstrate best value, best use and best practice.

Client benefits include:

  • National framework with local delivery and flexibility.

  • Access to four national frameworks if required / appropriate.

  • Speed - instant access once Access Agreement is signed and returned.

  • NEC PSC form of contract and back-to-back agreements with supply chain.

  • Single source appointment but allows local delivery by the commissioner’s established, recognised and preferred supply chain.

  • The framework can be as broad or as specific as required, to meet individual asset and estate needs.

Shaping estates to service future clinical needs

In meeting the health sector’s latest estates challenges, we work within the Scape framework to support clients' capital and revenue projects. We also offer transitional support, assisting existing and new client bodies with exploratory, preparatory and operational aspects of navigating their new responsibilities.

For many clients this includes assessing the performance of an inherited estate, taking account of condition, potential use, and community/stakeholder/clinical needs. We add value to a wide variety of many client concerns, including land sale considerations, statutory compliance issues and maintenance backlog.

Some commissions focus on quick wins, helping clients make immediate efficiencies and savings. Others are more extensive strategic projects, focused on long-term transformational change.