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04.04.16

NHS report into UnitingCare deal calls for review of major CCG contracts

The current approach to large-scale CCG outsourcing should be reviewed, NHS England has said in its report into the collapse of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG’s contract with UnitingCare.

The five-year contract for UnitingCare to provide elderly people’s services, worth £800m, collapsed after just eight months when it was found to be financially unsustainable.

The report says that there were a number of problems with the contract, including a lack of parent guarantees and a satisfactory assessment of the transfer of risk, and a failure to make allowances for an additional VAT cost.

The report says: “The current approach of complete delegation to CCGs to enter into large complex novel contracts without the need to provide any assurance to NHS England should be reviewed.

“The consequences of failed contracts can impact on patients, staff, commissioners and providers and undermine working relationships for the future. Consider establishing an assurance process for novel contracts carried out by appropriately skilled individuals.”

It also recommends that CCGs ensure that all bidders are assessed for capacity, capability, economic and financial standing, consider risk transfer carefully, ensure open discussion of costs at the start of the process and report disputes to NHS England.

The report agrees with the conclusions of the CCG’s internal audit, including that UnitingCare caused problems by changing into a limited liability partnership (LLP) during the contract process.

It was also recommended that NHS England review all current and planned CCG contracts of this sort it has as a “matter of urgency”, prior to entering into any new commitments.

Comments

Richard Collins   04/04/2016 at 15:23

Astounded by this quote: "It also recommends that CCGs ensure that all bidders are assessed for capacity, capability, economic and financial standing, consider risk transfer carefully, ensure open discussion of costs at the start of the process and report disputes to NHS England." Are these factors not already taken into account in any bidding process? Would seem blindingly obvious that a CCG should do all this before awarding a contract

Michael Thompson   05/04/2016 at 13:24

Agreed. It does seem that this was handled in a very incompetent and amateurish way. A sickening waste of money when the NHS is so cash strapped. It would be nice to think that those responsible will be held to account, but I'm not holding my breath.

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