6. Social Care Procurement - Process
Social care procurement needs to be set within the context of European and national legislation and regulation, which sets out duties and powers, and some specific direction. Procurement activity should also reflect national and local policy, both in relation to social care and the approach to social care procurement.
Social care procurement exists within a wider process of strategic commissioning, which involves a thorough understanding of what local people want and need. Strategic commissioning determines required outcomes and the service, financial and workforce plans to achieve those outcomes. When strategic commissioning has established the service development requirements, there may be various means of securing these requirements. One of those means is social care procurement, and this is where the procurement process begins.
This guidance proposes that the process of social care procurement in Scotland should be driven by, and evaluated against, a set of principles. Subsequent sections of the guidance detail a 5 stage 33 process for social care procurement, which will assist in securing good outcomes for individuals and communities.
Social Care Procurement - Process
The diagram below identifies the main features of the process set out in the rest of this guidance, notes the issues to be considered at each stage, and emphasises that decisions and actions must be made with due consideration to the Guiding Principles set out in Section 2.
Social Care Procurement Principles
Section 2 of this guidance established 12 Guiding Principles in relation to:
2. Strategic Commissioning
5. Care Standards
6. Codes of Practice
7. Best Value
8. Benefit and Risk
9. Procurement Rules
Stage 1 Prepare
Each procurement exercise will require a preparatory stage with consideration of:
- The governance and management arrangements;
- Project management;
- Knowledge and skills;
- Involvement of service users, carers, service providers and others.
Stage 2 Analyse
The analysis stage of the process includes using information from the commissioning strategy which clearly defines need (including outcomes, waiting times, unmet need and future demand) and required outcomes for individuals. The guidance considers:
1) Current supply - range and quality, gaps and duplication, resource availability;
2) Current performance evaluation - relevant data and benchmarking information;
3) Market analysis - number/mix of providers including internal service provision.
Stage 3 Plan
The guidance describes the elements of a procurement plan with requirements in each procurement exercise and the procurement route to be followed, including plans for:
1) Service user and carer involvement - information, timing, and methods;
2) Service provider involvement;
3) Service specifications - outcomes for individuals and how these will be achieved;
4) Evaluation - selection and award criteria - including use of information held by regulatory bodies;
5) Procurement routes;
7) Transition arrangements;
8) Contract management and review - relationship management and service review.
Stage 4 Secure Services
This stage of the process details the steps required following the procurement plan to put the service in place. The guidance sets out a structured approach to securing services, including:
1) Advertising the contract;
2) Provider engagement;
3) Communication with service users and carers;
4) Tender process;
5) Application of TUPE;
6) Transitional arrangements.
Stage 5 Review
The guidance considers important aspects of this stage including relationship management with service providers, service user and carer involvement and the interface with frontline practitioners, and other factors;
1) Contract monitoring and contract/supplier management - user and carer feedback, links with the regulatory bodies;
2) Service Reviews - delivery against specification and contract;
4) Use of service provider forums;
5) Link with Commissioning Strategies.