Special Focus on Health: The New Regulations Series #8
Published 5 March 2015
In this briefing we look at the impact of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (the new Regulations) on the procurement of healthcare services and what this means for CCGs, NHS England and NHS Trusts.
What has changed?
As highlighted in our briefing #3, the new Regulations include a limited procurement regime in relation to the procurement of public contracts for social and other specific services (SOS services), which include healthcare services. The "light touch regime" will apply where the value of such contracts exceeds a threshold of €750,000 (£625,050).
When will this happen?
The new Regulations came into force on 26th February 2015. In general, procurements commenced (e.g. advertised) on or after this date will now be subject to the new Regulations.
However, for the procurement of healthcare services for the purposes of the NHS within the scope of the National Health Services (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013 (the "NHS Regulations"), there is a temporary exemption, which generally means that healthcare services, when procured by CCGs and NHS England, will continue to be subject to the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 (the "2006 Regulations") until 18 April 2016.
What does this mean for CCGs and NHS England?
When procuring healthcare services, CCGs and NHS England should continue to comply with their obligations under the NHS Regulations, including the obligation to publish advertisements on Contracts Finder as well as:
- Until 18 April 2016, the 2006 Regulations (under the "Part B" services regime); and
- From 18 April 2016, the new Regulations (under the "light touch regime").
When procuring supplies, works and non-healthcare services, CCGs and NHS England should comply with their obligations under the new Regulations for procurements commenced on or after 26 February 2015.
What does this mean for NHS Trusts?
The new Regulations are in force now for NHS Trusts without exception. Where the value of healthcare services exceeds the €750,000 (£625,050) threshold, any procurement by those bodies should comply with the "light touch regime" obligations of the new Regulations as explained in our briefing #3. In particular, contracts for those services should be advertised by means of a contract notice or PIN, and, from 1 April 2015, by means of an advertisement on Contracts Finder.
When procuring supplies, works and non-healthcare services, NHS Trusts should comply with their obligations under the new Regulations for procurements commenced on or after 26 February 2015.
Anything else I should be aware of?
The new Regulations contain a number of provisions which are not specific to the procurement of health care services but are likely to have an impact on such procurements. Many of these topics are covered by our other briefings in our New Regulations series.