Last Updated: 25th April 2014

How to sell to the NHS

Regulations

All Public Sector organisations have to abide by The Public Contract Regulations 2015 which is the law that relates to public Procurement and is common to all European member states following the European Procurement Directive 2014/24/EU. The regulations set out the procedures which must be followed before awarding a contract to suppliers when the value exceeds set thresholds.

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.
 
Tenders completed appropriately by other organisations in accordance with the Regulations 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 Crown Commerical Services (CCS) which are available for all government organisations to use or NHS Supply Chain and other NHS Collaborative hubs who produce framework agreements or contracts that all NHS Trusts can use.

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 three NHS Trusts 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 NHS in Gloucestershire

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 TED website. Lower level tenders may be advertised via OJEU or in alternative sites or publications. The thresholds that apply to the NHS from 1 January 2016 are:

 

NHS Foundation Trusts

Non-Foundation Trusts

Supplies and Services

£164,176

£106,047

Works Contracts

£4,104,394

£4,014,394

Social and other Specific Services (Light Touch Regime)

£589,148

£589,148

 

Where contracts are above these thresholds they are advertised in OJEU and via the NHS South West E-tendering Portal - Tactica (see below).

This site is also used for advertisements - see Contracts Opportunities page

TED website

European level tenders can be accessed via Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) website via the link below;

http://ted.europa.eu/TED/main/HomePage.do;jsessionid=6273D1CD079B67694D0CFFBC8E440247.backendB2

E-tendering portal - NHS South West

All tendering opportunities are published on the e-tendering Portal and suppliers are required to register their details:

https://tactica-live.advanced365.com/login.asp

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 the relevant NHS Conditions of Contract.

Ethics in Procurement

Please click on the link to see our Ethical Procurement Code

Sustainable Procurement

We aim to embed sustainability principles in the procurement process so that they eventually become an integral part of all relevant contracts, at pre-tender, tender and post-contract award stages (including monitoring and evaluation), through to the end of the life of the contract and including any disposal of equipment.

We are committed to ensuring that goods, supplies and services purchased for the NHS are:

  • Manufactured, delivered, used and disposed of in an environmental, sustainable and socially responsible manner, and
  • Deliver long-term value for money for the NHS and the Public Sector as a whole