Healthcare behind bars

Prison Healthcare at Wandsworth, Pentonville & Brixton for NHS England (London Region)


What were the objectives?

The Health in the Justice System Team at NHS England engaged SoEPS in May 2013 to advise on the re-procurement of the healthcare contracts for three major London prisons in advance of the expiry of these contracts at the end of March 2014. The total budget for these prisons is in excess of £100m for 5 years.

The contractual landscape across these prison estates was fragmented and SoEPS was asked to advise on the procurement options available to the commissioners to address their strategy of consolidating contracts for the various health care services within each estate in one overarching “Prime Contractor” contract per prison for the delivery of healthcare services.

The significant value of these contracts meant that a key objective, aside from ensuring a high quality and value for money service for the client, was to ensure that the market was fully engaged with the process and that SME’s were not disadvantaged by the tender process.

What did we deliver?

  • £1.6m cash releasing savings (without sacrificing quality)
  • A dedicated Procurement Manager to support the assembled project board and Prison stakeholders throughout the entire procurement process.
  • Worked with commissioners to design an evaluation model that would thoroughly test key areas such as:
    – integrated service delivery, care pathways and governance
    – innovation in practice
    – high quality, evidence based, safe and effective services
  • A tailored tender process which facilitated the achievement of the client’s objectives of high quality, value for money and the addressing of social goals around inclusion of Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs).
  • A detailed and effective procurement plan and documentation that was readily understood by all stakeholders.
  • An open, fair and transparent procurement process with the following comments from an unsuccessful bidder “I would like to extend our sincere gratitude for your comprehensive feedback which will help us avoid repeating the mistakes catalogued within an open fair, transparent procurement process that was thorough and well managed with a superior level of de-brief material that would facilitate learning for future procurements.“

How did we add value to the customer?

The timescales were extremely tight for a procurement of this size, complexity and risk. SoEPS facilitated and chaired meetings, highlighted risk areas with suggestions for mitigation and advised on governance processes.

Many of the project panel members had no previous procurement experience so SoEPS undertook a training role throughout the process to ensure that panel members fully understood their roles, responsibilities and the strategy behind the procurement decisions to facilitate future procurements.

Through market engagement and detailed Q&A, facilitated by SoEPS, commissioners were able to listen to market feedback  on the proposed procurement prior to ITT and take this into account in their final specifications and evaluation strategy.

SoEPS facilitated the SME agenda by allowing SMEs the opportunity to register as potential subcontractors and share their details with prime contractors at PQQ stage.

We assisted commissioners in designing a thorough and effective evaluation model which minimised the administrative burden of evaluation. In partnership with commissioners, we designed a weighting and scoring model which favoured high quality first and foremost but allowed the client to fully test the potential for economies of scale and risk minimisation arising from a potential multi-lot service delivery (delivery across two or more prisons by any one particular bidder).


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