NHS England to offer support for improved procurement functions

According to internal documents seen by the Health Service Journal, NHS England is planning to identify health systems in need of “extensive” support to consolidate their procurement functions. These systems must upgrade their procurement functions to meet new operating standards. Local NHS procurement teams are now in the early stages of changing how they buy non-NHS goods and services, which value around £17 billion each year towards a more system-level working approach.

The briefing document, dated 23rd June, suggest that ICS procurement changes is demanding “a lot of the current provider landscape”. Just four ICSs have so far nominated a procurement lead. The text includes a list of current risks, for example, lack of data harmonisation, need for clarity around best practice approach, disaggregation of operating models, governance and roles. Increased cost and inefficient additional layer if implemented incorrectly are also flagged as concerns.

ICSs can tailor their procurement organisation structure “based on their respective level of maturity, spend profile, associated phasing of roles and local considerations”. Three tiers of engagement with systems are proposed, with these depending on the levels of readiness and historic engagement with NHSE England or Improvement.

The text points out that 35 out of 42 ICSs are engaged at present in the process and 24 have reported “some progress to ICS procurement activities”.


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