Here are frequently asked questions about how to bid for NHS business. Please note that suppliers cannot register for access to the secure areas of our website, as that is for our members only. Please read the information below to help you understand the public sector procurement process.
Important information for suppliers and contractors regarding COVID-19
If you, or a member of your staff is required to attend an NHS premises in order to carry out a service ordered by the trust, please familiarise yourself with the specific trust’s policy for receiving people on site before arriving at the trust’s premises. This is likely to be different from their normal visitor policy.
Please ensure that staff ID is carried and that anyone attending knows the contact name and department of the person who has requested the service. Anybody without a valid reason for entering NHS premises may be turned away.
Does NHS LPP have guidance for public sector bodies on the payment of suppliers during COVID-19?
A new government Procurement Policy Note (PPN) has this week been published setting out guidance for public bodies on payment of their suppliers to ensure service continuity during and after the current COVID-19 outbreak. Any suppliers experiencing difficulties with receiving payment from trusts during this challenging time can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will do our best to support.
What is the latest construction guidance in response to COVID-19?
The Estates, Facilities and Professional Services team is distributing the latest construction guidance in relation to COVID-19 to trusts and suppliers. In line with best practice, health and safety requirements of any workplace activity must also not be compromised at this time and if an activity cannot be undertaken safely due to a lack of suitably qualified personnel being available, or social distancing being implemented, it should not take place. The guidance, which has been issued from Safety Schemes in Procurement (SIPP), has been issued to support suppliers where procurement must continue, to enable a pragmatic and proportionate approach.
An increasing amount of NHS procurement is through a range of frameworks and pre-tendered contracts. These have either been negotiated by NHS LPP, Crown Commercial Service, or other public procurement organisations.
To become a supplier on a public sector framework
To become a supplier on one of the frameworks you need to respond successfully to a Contract Notice published in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). Where national frameworks are already in place, we decide whether to undertake a mini competition or negotiate rates with a single supplier. In line with EU legislation, all tenders for suppliers and services above £113,000 are advertised in the Supplement to OJEU. These adverts enable you to express an interest in bidding.
The OJEU process
When we identify new requirements for our NHS members, we are obliged to follow the formal procurement process under EU legislation. The EU Procurement Directive is designed to promote competition and transparency in the award of contracts for the supply of products and services to public sector organisations throughout Europe. In the UK, the Directive is embedded in the Public Contract Regulations 2015.
Tender opportunities are advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). It is only by responding to a contract notice in the OJEU that you can tender to become a supplier on one of NHS LPP's framework agreements.
Any company within an EU member state can express interest, but they must meet the criteria stated in the OJEU. Full details of how to register your interest in a tender will be contained in the contract notice published in the OJEU. An expression of interest does not mean you have been successful in being awarded a place on a framework agreement.
Can my business become a supplier to an existing framework agreement?
Once a procurement has been awarded additional suppliers, in general, cannot be added. You will need to wait until the next relevant tender opportunity arises. The length of an arrangement varies but is usually two to four years. New procurements typically start several months in advance of the current arrangement's expiry date and the procurement process can take several months to complete depending on the complexity of the goods or services being procured.
To find out when NHS LPP framework agreements are likely to be coming up for renewal, check our live contracts listing which includes expiry dates. Please note that frameworks may have permitted extensions which, if exercised, will mean a new, later expiry date for the arrangement. Any extensions are included in the information on this website.
Where to find opportunities to tender for NHS LPP business
There are a number of ways to find opportunities to tender for government and public sector business:
- Register with Contracts Finder and Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) for alerts relevant to your business area.
- TED is the online version of the Official Journal of the European Union.
- Contracts Finder shows all public sector tenders with a value of more than £10,000. It is automatically updated every weekday night with new notices published on TED.
- Monitor this page and our news pages on the NHS LPP website, as we publish information on our new tenders as and when they happen, complete with links to the TED notice.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has an action plan for encouraging opportunities for small businesses.
Although your product may not be appropriate for a current LPP initiative, there are a number of routes which enable you to bring your product to the attention of NHS buyers, and we hope you will find this information of practical help:
Contact the 15 Academic Health Science Networks
These 15 bodies have four core objectives, of which the most valuable for SMEs may be the third and fourth:
3. Speed up adoption of innovation into practice to improve clinical outcomes and patient experience – support the identification and more rapid spread of research and innovation at pace and scale to improve patient care and local population health.
4. Create wealth through co-development, testing, evaluation and early adoption and spread of new products and services.
Contacts for all 15 AHSNs across the country can be found online.
Contact the NHS Innovation Hubs
There are seven NHS Innovations Hubs across the country, whose role is to accelerate the development and uptake of innovative medical technology products and services that improve the quality of healthcare delivery.
You can find links to all the hubs online.
Review the DHSC action plan
The action plan is published on the DH website.
These are some of the initiatives being undertaken by the DHSC:
• Ensure you review Contracts Finder: this is where all procurement opportunities and pipelines of future DHSC activity are advertised and flagged where they are suitable for SMEs; it also encourages consortia bids where appropriate, and carries information on all supplier engagement workshops.
Attend the annual Healthcare Innovation Expo
This is the forum and showcase for would-be suppliers to the NHS. You can find out more at the organisers' website.
NHS LPP procurements
NHS LPP has adopted a number of initiatives to encourage and facilitate SME involvement in our procurements where possible. We do ensure supplier engagement is undertaken as early as possible in the procurement process, enabling the market to inform and help shape the development of our framework agreements. Where appropriate in NHS LPP tenders, requirements from suppliers are specified in outcome/output based terms. We want to get suppliers’ best solutions and to encourage innovation and value, not simply lowest cost.
We also encourage SME participation by providing time within the process to consider forming consortia, if needed.
If there are no relevant tender opportunities currently available for your area of business, it may be possible for you to sub-contract your services to suppliers on existing arrangements. If this is of interest please contact the relevant supplier directly. Lists of current suppliers are provided with the details of every live contract on this website.
NHS LPP and Constructionline
Most recently, for suppliers involved in the construction industry, we have adopted Constructionline, a government-owned certification service for construction-related contractors, consultants and materials suppliers. It has been developed to save the industry millions of pounds by cutting the amount of duplication in the pre-qualification process. Suppliers joining Constructionline will have satisfied our basic pre-qualification requirements. They only need to submit their Constructionline registration number and any project-specific details to pre-qualify for contracts.
Register on NHS LPP's eSourcing suite
In addition to the Government’s Contracts Finder, to ensure you do not miss out on doing business through NHS LPP in future, you can register for free on our eSourcing portal www.lppsourcing.org. All our opportunities are published there.
Register on the Government eMarketplace
This is an online marketplace providing customers with a request for quote service for low value, less complex purchases. It enables you to advertise your capability to supply products or services on a national or regional basis without the need to go through a tender process. Any supplier can register on the eMarketplace but registration alone does not mean you are a public sector supplier.
Sign up to NHS LPP’s LinkedIn group
Finally, as another suggestion of a route suppliers can use to reach a wider audience, join NHS LPP's LinkedIn group. There you will be welcome to post news of suitable product and service developments.
Minor Building Works DPS
LPP is seeking to establish a Dynamic Purchasing System ‘DPS’ for the provision of Minor Building Works Services including Construction Work, Refurbishment, Repair and Maintenance, Plumbing, Tiling, Scaffolding, Fencing, Locksmiths etc. The full list of services can be found here.
Tender information is available on TED.
Time limit for receipt of tenders or requests to participate 30.12.2019 - 12:00
Apprenticeship Training Providers DPS
LPP is seeking to establish a Dynamic Purchasing System ‘DPS’ for the provision of Apprenticeship Training which shall be open to: — LPP member bodies (whether full, associate or other members) as listed at: /about-lpp/our-members/and any new LPP members for the duration of the contract; plus any other NHS/Public Sector bodies located in England, Wales, Scotland and N Ireland, subject to approval of LPP, including but not limited to Acute and Foundation Trusts, CCGs, Ambulance, Care, Hospital, Mental Health and Community Health Trusts,Special Health Authorities, Health Boards, NHS Commissioning Boards, CSUs and other health orgs (Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland), Health and Social Care Trusts (N Ireland), Community Health Councils, Local Health Boards, Social Enterprises, NHS Collaborative Procurement Hubs/Organisations, GP Practices, Primary Care Commissioners, DoH Public Health England and Local Authorities and any successor organisations of the above.
Tender information is available on TED.