Case Study: AHP/HSS Collaboration
NOE CPC created a stakeholder group of trusts that come together regularly to discuss supplier performance, share best practices and experiences. The trusts range from mental health to community and acute. The group, originally made up of 17 trusts, shared a goal of collaborating and managing the supplier performance of their master vendor Maxxima who supplied Allied Health Professional (AHP) and Highly Specialised Service (HSS) staff into their trusts. All of the trusts had different agreements in place with Maxxima, some from NHS Workforce Alliance, some from the historic Crown Commercial Service (CCS) framework, and some had no contracts in place at all.
It was raised in the group that some trusts were experiencing some performance issues with the supplier ranging from inflated rates being offered, lack of consistency in levels of service, and concerns around efforts to fill trust requirements in hard to fill regions. Following a discussion among the trusts as to how this could be managed, a decision was made to go out to the market with a further competition under the NHS Workforce Alliance Clinical and Healthcare Staffing framework; to see if any other suppliers were able to support a master vendor agreement using one collaborative agreement.
As the collaborative was formed, trusts who were within the same ICSs found out about the project and requested to join, bringing the total to 19 participating trusts.
A full collaborative further competition procurement was undertaken, led by Category Procurement Specialist Tina Shires. A project plan was drawn up and presented to the group. A Memorandum of Understanding outlining responsibilities of all parties, including what trust involvement would be throughout the project and how the collaborative would manage the project post award, was signed by all parties. An Expression of Interest was issued to ensure the group only went to market with capable suppliers for this type of agreement. Tina supported the development of the full ITT pack including the specification, as well as managing the evaluation and moderation process through to awarding the contract to Maxxima.
Supplier performance is now monitored and measured via a KPI dashboard that was created in line with the agreed contract. The group is also utilising Teams which provides a workspace for shared discussion, an area to store files, and host the KPI dashboard.
The main challenge associated with the project was managing 19 trusts when setting up meetings, getting documents signed off from each trust, organising moderation times, and ensuring all evaluators were available. Holidays and annual leave were all built into the project plan and all parties were made aware of their responsibilities and timescales throughout the project. This ensured the project ran on time.
During the project, a challenge was received from a supplier that had not supplied this type of agreement before and suggested they were able to, and this was added as a risk. After seeking advice, the supplier was asked to provide references for the past supply of this type of agreement. After receiving these references they were allowed to bid.
The risk of legal challenges was mitigated by conducting a robust scoring mechanism with clear rationale and feedback.
The project was delivered on time and generated savings of £350,000.
Richard Somerset, Head of Procurement, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Bringing together so many NHS organisations from across the different spectrums into one process and one outcome is a positive experience for all involved. This collaboration will help to drive down costs, share data and strategies and reduce agency use across the AHP field, which will benefit us both financially and clinically.”