2016 has been a busy year for healthcare tenders and nearly all of the NHS recruitment frameworks have been let in the last 12 months, making it very difficult for agencies who are not approved suppliers on these frameworks to provide medical and clinical staff to the NHS. Most NHS recruitment frameworks are let for 2 years with the option to extend for a further 2 years. This means that it is unlikely that we will see these providers advertising tender opportunities much before 2019 or 2020…..which is great if you’re on the framework and rather less great if you’re not!
But let’s go back a step of two and explain the setup…..
This year the NHS mandated its frameworks, meaning that Trusts could no longer choose to work with recruitment agencies if they were not approved suppliers on one of the frameworks. Framework providers to the NHS are:
- Crown Commercial Service (CCS)
- Collaborative Procurement Partnership (CPP) which now incorporates London Procurement Partnership (LPP)
- HealthTrust Europe (HTE)
All three of these framework providers have all gone down the “multidisciplinary” route in the last 12 months, enabling Trusts to purchase staff for all of their varying medical and clinical needs (locum doctors, nurses & midwives, allied health professionals, dental staff etc) under a single multidisciplinary framework instead of having separate tenders and subsequent frameworks for each discipline. That said, some of them do operate a separate “non medical non clinical” framework.
The following table gives an overview of the incumbent medical and clinical frameworks and their expiry dates. Many of them have options to extend, and in our experience they usually run to the full term as tendering is such a time consuming and expensive process. As you can see in some cases these multidisciplinary frameworks are running alongside discipline specific frameworks yet to expire:
Please note that most of these frameworks do not cover International Recruitment so there may be separate tenders for this service.
So how can you supply if you’re not on any NHS recruitment frameworks?
An added challenge for new agencies or those who have not been successful in securing a place on one of the frameworks is that CPP has a clause in its contract which prevents framework agencies from subcontracting to anyone who is not an approved supplier. This is not the case with HTE and CCS although the framework provider concerned will need written consent from the Authorities and Contracting Authorities for you to become a subcontractor and you will need to demonstrate that you meet a number of conditions before this can be approved.
So if you want to supply to the NHS and you’re not an approved framework supplier, your best bet is to:
- Target the Trusts that are using the CCS and HTE frameworks.
- Establish which suppliers they use.
- Contact these suppliers and find out if they will consider you as a subcontractor (they may well if you have access to candidates that are in short supply).
But what do you do if the hospitals in your geographical location are using the CPP/LPP frameworks? There are 3 options:
You may be able to build a “resourcing” style relationship with approved suppliers on the CPP/LPP frameworks. This means that you would source and introduce candidates to the framework agency and they would conduct all of the operational aspects of supply and contract directly with your candidate. You would need to negotiate a commission rate or introduction fee with such agencies for sourcing the candidate.
Focus on building your track record and supply with private hospitals, nursing homes and care homes (i.e. non-NHS organisations) who operate outside of these frameworks.
Prepare your business for the next round of tendering when these frameworks expire by making sure all of your processes and procedures are documented and compliant (we can help with this!).
There’s no silver bullet in this situation, but this should help you understand how the frameworks operate and what your next steps should be.
If you want to prepare your agency for future NHS tenders or ensure that your policies and procedures are compliant with NHS Employers Standards, please call us on 01688 400319, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our NHS Policy Templates now.