The Department has taken a number of steps to ensure National Health Service trusts are not over-charged by private sector contractors and suppliers. The Department maintains standard NHS Terms and Conditions for NHS trusts to use when procuring goods and services. They are published on the GOV.UK website:
In addition, the Department has developed a full suite of tools and templates, including Invitation to Tender (ITT) documentation for NHS trusts to use when entering into contracts with suppliers. The Commercial Schedule within the ITT documentation includes a pricing model and connected questions, which enable NHS trusts to understand supplier pricing.
The tools and templates are underpinned by an NHS Guide to Procurement. This provides guidance on drafting an effective specification, setting evaluation criteria in line with the principle of ‘most economical advantageous tender’, and devising a robust pricing model (for use when the template provided is not appropriate for the procurement).
By using the standard NHS Terms and Conditions, the NHS Guide to Procurement and the suite of tools and templates, NHS trusts can ensure suppliers submit competitive tenders. Additionally, NHS trusts are also encouraged to use frameworks, such as those procured on behalf of Government by the Crown Commercial Service, enabling them to benefit from consolidated buying arrangements.
The NHS Terms and Conditions guidance document accompanies the NHS Terms and Conditions. Through this guidance document, the Department advises NHS trusts to include in the specification, general requirements as well as key areas such as key performance indicators and conducting periodic contract review meetings to review contractor performance.