Melissa King, Senior Category Manager for Construction and Infrastructure at NHS Shared Business Services talks about a new framework agreement designed to support construction projects to deliver improvements to the NHS estate at scale and pace.
The National Health Service (NHS) in England has 1,500 hospitals, including some buildings which pre-date 1948 and the establishment of the NHS itself. Without regular renovation the care, safety and wellbeing of patients, hospital staff and the public can be compromised. And extensive studies have shown that working environments directly affect the productivity and morale of people using them.
With figures from NHS Digital estimating that the backlog of repairs and maintenance will cost more than £10bn to eradicate, there is an urgent need for trusted companies who can supply value for money construction consultancy services, including architects, project managers and engineers.
In addition, the government’s New Hospital Programme (NHP) has committed to build 40 new hospitals by the end of the decade, backed by over £20bn of investment in hospital infrastructure.
At the centre of the programme is the ‘Hospital 2.0’ concept, a vision for how hospital schemes can be delivered with greater efficiency and reduced cost. Rather than treating each project as a standalone scheme, the NHP will aim to standardise design and leverage scale to maximise effectiveness and efficiency.
The NHP is the biggest hospital building programme in a generation. It requires the creation of a “national industry”, calling upon the skills of companies of all sizes, across a broad range of sectors. However, the very scale of the programme – and the amount of resource diverted to it – means that NHS trusts may struggle to find the expertise they need for their ongoing, in-house construction programmes.
A ‘one-stop-shop’ for Construction, Consulting and Ancillary Services
To help NHS teams procure the construction consultancy support and expertise they require, within both time and budget, NHS Shared Business Services has launched the third iteration of its construction consultancy services framework agreement, known as ‘Healthcare Planning, Construction Consultancy & Ancillary Services (HPCCAS)’ .
The £1.6 million framework agreement is the product of extensive consultation with both users and suppliers to ensure it provides an expansive range of services. It capitalises on innovation to respond to the challenges faced in the market for high-quality, innovative and cost-effective solutions.
By using the framework agreement, customers can quickly and efficiently find and appoint services from 179 carefully vetted suppliers of a wide range of construction consultancy services.
The framework agreement offers a range of pricing options and capped rates have been secured with structured and controlled price review provisions from year 2 to ensure users have cost certainty.
Fully compliant with public procurement regulations, it is free to use by the NHS and other public sector organisations.
Focus on sustainability
The services on offer fall under 11 distinct categories (Lots) including Architectural Services, Project Management, Civil & Structural Engineering, Quantity Surveyors, Mechanical, Electrical and Public Health Services, Principal Designer Services, Multidisciplinary Services, Building Surveyors and Ancillary Services.
As the UK’s largest employer, the NHS is responsible for around 4% of the nation’s carbon emissions. It is committed to tackling climate change by reducing its direct emissions to net zero by 2040 and 2045 for those emissions it can influence.
The HPCCAS framework agreement, therefore, has included a lot specific to Net Zero, Environmental Consultancy & Sustainability to support users achieve cost-effective carbon footprint reduction.
Modelling for future health needs, the procurement framework’s Healthcare Planning lot, provides all elements of Healthcare Planning and strategy including developing models of care, demand & capacity modelling, business case development, population health needs assessment, strategic estates planning and more.
Choice of procurement routes
There are two routes to procuring services using the framework agreement – direct award or further competition.
The direct award route allows the purchaser – subject to procurement regulations – to award a contract directly to a supplier, enabling them to obtain services at speed.
The further competition process (sometimes called mini-competition) re-opens competition under the framework agreement. Procuring parties can ask suppliers to submit proposals and costings to help them select the most appropriate services and drive further efficiencies.
Customers using the framework agreement can embed their own established ways of working into the process to ensure it aligns with their own internal governance.
Supporting small to medium sized firms and local business
To cater for regionalised procurement, 78% of the suppliers appointed to the framework agreement are small to medium sized enterprises – mainly regional specialists. They sit alongside larger multi-disciplinary (tier 1) suppliers, who are primarily national or international companies with a wide portfolio of services and experience.
With previous iterations of the framework agreement achieving 10-15% savings and an estimated £1.6bn expected to flow through it over the next four years, the HPCCAS framework agreement has the potential to attain public sector savings of up £240m.
For more information about the Healthcare Planning, Construction Consultancy & Ancillary Services framework agreement managed by NHS Shared Business Services – including a list of suppliers – go to: Healthcare Planning, Construction Consultancy and Ancillary Services – NHS SBS or email: firstname.lastname@example.org