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The Procurment Challenge in the NHS

by Graham Flynn on 31 January 2018
The Procurment Challenge in the NHS

Millions of pounds of tax payers money could be saved if more efficient waste management practices were adopted in the public and private sector, the majority of savings coming from the NHS.

Anenta’s analysis of waste management contracts across the NHS has highlighted a serious disconnect between those responsible for procuring waste management contracts and their understanding of the NHS’s waste management requirements.

Contracts are therefore incorrectly specified from the start and the result is that many Trusts are paying for waste management services which are either not fit for purpose financially, or do not deliver the specific requirements including innovative efficiencies, adding further strain to an already stressed system.

Correct specification of waste management contracts equates to improved operational efficiency and is a real alternative to cuts which impact directly upon front line services.

The limitations of the NHS procurement framework itself presents another issue. The provision of high value services where contracts are greater in value than £118,133pa, are subject to a Supply, Services and Design Contract standard framework. This framework works against the very thing it is designed to secure – best value for the Trust.

Typically the public sector issue standard and out-dated specifications resulting in recycled tender responses being returned. These out-dated responses therefore do not take into account any new industry efficiencies as they do not form part of the specification.

Meanwhile bidders are always cautious of being innovative within their bids as there could be the possibility that the evaluation teams could score them negatively for not directly responding to the requirements within the specification.

In effect it means there is a catch 22 situation where the bidder feels they meet the specification could go beyond, demonstrating real innovation, but are unwilling to risk losing the opportunity by thinking outside the box.

Compounding the issue is the fact that once the service has been procured, it is often not managed effectively and in significant number of cases, it is not managed at all by the customer.

Many Trusts rely upon contractors to self-manage and indeed, for some, there is no viable alternative. A lack of waste contract management expertise combined with a lack of ownership within the NHS means that in many instances it falls to inexperienced staff, to handle waste management contracts – something which they have neither the time nor appropriate expertise to do.

To help tackle these challenges and enable the NHS realise the benefits and savings that are possible, Anenta has already invested more than £1m developing its proprietary online waste management platform.

Key to the success of this new system, is the empowerment of all stakeholders, an integral component of Anenta’s vision – creating and maintaining trust between the customer and service provider, underpinned by a correctly specified service.

In four years, this new way of working has enabled Anenta to save the NHS over £3.2m on existing contracts across 19 CCGs. When extrapolated across England, potential savings of £8.75m annually become apparent. Procurement of new contracts will see this figure increase dramatically by implementing contract control and accountability through the use of Anenta’s management platform and expertise.