Following recommendations set out in the Feeley Report earlier this year and the Scottish Government’s proposal to create a new National Care Service for Scotland (NCS), as we covered in our recent article, the Scottish Government has now published Scottish Procurement Policy Note 7/2021 (SPPN) which is aimed at facilitating a smooth transition towards the proposed new NCS.

Ethical commissioning and procurement are the focus of this SPPN which aims to “press pause” on traditional procurements based on task and price, and move instead to a collaborative approach to service delivery which places the service user at its core, focusing on quality, outcomes and financial transparency, with services being delivered by a valued workforce and in line with other Scottish and UK Government priorities, including the transition to net zero.

In preparation, the SPPN instructs public bodies to:

  • Review current Strategic Commissioning Plans – identify any issues that would prevent the NCS from operating in line with the ethical commissioning and procurement principles.
  • Review procurement pipelines, plans and engage with the market – alert providers to the change in commissioning and procurement approach, and communicate the effect this may have on the delivery of services and contracts.
  • Maximise use of existing contracts – consider how existing Framework Agreements and Dynamic Purchasing Systems can be maximised, for example, exploring whether procurement laws permit contracts to be modified to extend their term and reflect ethical commissioning principles, including, as a minimum, fair work practices and cost transparency.
  • Evaluate the need for new procurement exercises – new procurements should be balanced against the risk of overcommitting budgets, resources and the market, with extensions and modifications being preferable in the short/medium term to enable the market to get prepared for the introduction of a new NCS. Where service users need new services to be procured new Ethical Commissioning and Procurement principles should be embedded in procurement strategies.
  • Include contract terms and break clauses as standard – to enable contracts to be terminate on a change of policy, taking account of the commercial impact of such change on the provider and reserving the right to change services to align with the new NCS.

Statutory guidance which includes details on the flexibilities available under the Light Touch Regime when procuring health and social care contracts has also been updated and is available here.

Join our upcoming webinar

We would be delighted if you could join us at the second of our series of live webinars on procurement law on Wednesday 16 March 2022 from 10.00-11.30am.

During this webinar, we will explore how to maximise the use of the flexibilities available under current procurement laws when procuring health and social care contracts.