Nothing has highlighted the importance of our health and social care services more than the COVID-19 pandemic. The care system was put under particular scrutiny and, following the recommendations set out in the Feeley Report earlier this year, the Scottish Government is proposing the creation of a comprehensive community health and social care service. A new National Care System is therefore on the agenda in Scotland.
At the same time, the UK’s exit from the EU prompted the UK Government to publish its Green Paper, “Transforming Public Procurement”, which details how the Government proposes to change public procurement now that the UK is no longer subject to EU directives.
Against this changing backdrop, it is more important than ever to understand the relevant legal framework and how it can be applied to meet objectives in the health and social care arenas.
What do these changes mean for the procurement of social care?
Essentially, until change pursuant to the Green Paper is set out in more detail, contracting authorities should be aware of the significant tools available when it comes to health and social care procurement.
In particular, the Light Touch Regime, which applies where thresholds under the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015 apply, provides significant scope for flexibility, including flexibility in the procedure, timescales, selection, award and duration of the procurement. In addition, the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 enables direct award beneath the 2015 Regulation thresholds.
For examples of the above, please see this report by Social Work Scotland.
MacRoberts is working with a number of clients in this area and anticipates that new resources will come available soon. When they do, we will follow up with a further update.