Health professional checking supplies in a warehouse

Social value to be mandatory in NHS goods and services procurement

As we approach April 1, when changes to a key Procurement Policy Note (PPN) comes into effect, NHS England has released further guidance for applying net-zero and social value in the procurement of NHS goods and services.

Releasing a new guidance report, NHS England has identified procurement as one of the key routes to meeting it’s net-zero targets and further incorporating social value into the health service.

With an NHS commitment to reach net-zero by 2045, that also requires addressing the carbon impact of the whole procurement network. Currently, more than 60% of NHS carbon emissions occur in the supply chain.

READ MORE: Learn more about social value in NHS procurement from NHS Supply Chain's Martin Toomey in the latest issue of NHE

Alterations to the NHS supply chain must equally not impact its effectiveness though, with the principal aim of procurement undertaken by NHS organisations is to deliver essential goods and services and improve patient outcomes in a cost-effective manner.

Similarly, further incorporating social value – in an effective and considered manner – will help reduce health inequalities and drive better environmental performance, having positive long-term impacts on health and NHS dependence.

From April 1, 2022, NHS England is due to extend the reach of PPN 06/20 to the commissioning and purchasing of goods and services by NHS organisations, as well as organisations acting on behalf of such commissioners and purchasers.

Under PPN 06/20, all procurement undertaken by these organisations will be required to adopt and apply a range of principles outlined in the PPN to allow it to contribute to the NHS Net Zero and Social Value goals.

The new NHS England guidance – which can be read in full at the bottom of this article – covers a range of topics:

  • Selecting the social value themes: At the earliest opportunity, the relevant themes of the Social Value Model should be selected, with the ‘Fighting Climate Change’ theme to be included in all tenders.
  • Determining net zero and social value weighting at or above the 10% minimum: An appropriate weighting for net zero and social value should, where appropriate, be added to the evaluation criteria.
  • Adding net zero and social value questions to the tender: Appropriate tender questions should be created.
  • Evaluating tender response: Responses deliver additional benefit to existing supplier activity.
  • Effective contract management: Contract key performance indicators (KPIs) are critical to ensure additional benefit to the NHS is delivered.

The guidance was created in collaboration with over 90 NHS procurement professionals from trusts and provides a step-by-step process to apply the Social Value Model to their procurement to help unlock health and environmental-related social value.

NHS England also identifies the health service’s role as an anchor institution, meaning its assets, resources and interventions can make significant contributions to maximising social, economic and environmental benefits, as well as improving health outcomes and tackling health inequalities.

Many of these changes build on existing work being carried out by the NHS to further introduce sustainability and social value into existing health service procurement contracts.

Read the full NHS England guidance here:

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