Social Care Framework Agreements

Published14th April 2020

How to Become a Supplier on Social Care Framework Agreements 

Social Care Framework Agreements are in continuous demand throughout the UK and further afield. The public sector, including the NHS and Local Authorities are in need of high-quality social care services within their areas.

The range of social care framework agreements are vast. Hudson Discover now operates a new Healthcare Tenders portal that brings all of these opportunities together, in one place! Hudson understand the priorities of our clients who provide Social Care services. They must prioritise their time in order to best care for their patients. Leaving less time for them to find and consider opportunities to advance and enhance their businesses.

Our portals are updated with opportunities daily by our procurement team, ensuring that suitable social care framework agreement opportunities are readily available for your business to review and make quick, easy bid/no bid decisions. This is made possible by the fact that all the tender documentation is just a click away, saving the hassle of navigating through a seemingly never-ending series of links and pages.

To become a supplier on a social care framework agreement, you need to understand the NHS tendering process. Typically, social care framework agreements will follow the typical procurement process: first an initial selection questionnaire (SQ) or pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) and then an ITT for those passing the first section. As part of the open procedure, the SQ procedure can be eliminated altogether, instead jumping straight into the ITT. Social care tenders tend to evaluate you on your ability to:

  • Deliver a quality, consistent service;
  • Demonstrate a person-centred approach;
  • Showcase a comprehensive understanding of incident management and safeguarding;
  • Evidence previous examples of delivering Social Care. 

This list is non-exhaustive – indeed, buyers may ask you about any element of your service.

Opportunities are available through a variety of contracts. In general, there is more demand for public sector opportunities, than private. The public sector is accountable for spending public money, so the procurement process must be transparent and regulated. 

Types of Social Care Framework Agreements

The UK currently spends over £140bn a year on the public provision of Health and over £20bn on Social Care. The healthcare sector in the UK could not run efficiently without private sector suppliers. As a result, our Healthcare Tenders portal sees a constant stream of Healthcare contract opportunities, concerning a variety of disciplines, including Social Care frameworks crop up all across the UK. 

An estimated 1 in 3 NHS clinical services tenders are won by private sector contractors. The NHS is always looking for innovative new partners and they regularly award contracts worth many thousands of pounds to the successful bidders. Types of social care framework agreements readily available via the public procurement process include:

Supported Living 

Supported living is a blend of accommodation provision and bespoke support. It gives those living in the accommodation individual tenancies, to maximise their independence. Supported Living tenders are extremely varied, from budget, to scope, to types of service user; so, you can be sure that there is one that is right for your business. There are Supported Living tenders for many different demographics, which may specify and/or comprise one or more of the following groups:

  • Young people with learning disabilities;
  • Adults with learning disabilities;
  • Care leavers aged 16+;
  • Young asylum seekers aged 16+;
  • Homeless young people;
  • Young offenders.

Supported Living premises are often grouped into the following categories:

  • Floating/flexible support (those who require less or varied levels of support);
  • Standard;
  • Complex needs (those who display risk-taking/harmful behaviours of some sort).

The varied nature of the service users who may be housed in supported living premises means that providers should have experience in caring for specific needs. Differing levels of risk/support also influence the accommodation requirements and tender specifications. It is worth browsing all available tenders and their pertaining documents, because there’s bound to be one that dovetails perfectly with your service offering and your staff’s areas of expertise.

Mental Health 

Mental Health forms an ever growing part of the Social Care industry within the UK. This has resulted in the appearance of more Mental Health Tenders being released into the public domain. As the discussion on mental health within the UK has grown within recent years, more tendering opportunities have become available via the public procurement process. This is due to the fact that more people are attempting to access community mental health services.

The NHS and leading mental health charities predict that this trajectory will rocket in the fall out of the COVID-19 pandemic. As many suffer through economic and social hardships, the likes of Mind and Mental Health UK expect the need for mental health services to rise dramatically. Our in-house opportunity trackers are already beginning to see an increase in mental health tenders appear on our Healthcare Tenders portal.

Domiciliary Care

As the lifespan of the average UK resident continues to grow, as does the need for domiciliary care. Over recent years the issuing of domiciliary care tenders has risen drastically. The personal care of the elderly and the disadvantaged and vulnerable is consistently and continuously being outsourced to private organisations. Providing opportunities to care providers of all statures – from small start-ups to large agencies.

Securing a place on Social Care Framework Agreements

Increasingly in the sector, works are being contracted in the form of a greater number of smaller contracts, typically handled by local authorities. Hence, this provides small, even start-up health and social support providers with a golden opportunity to secure a place on social care framework agreements of all varieties. Based on our experience’s, we have found the main influences on success in tendering for social care opportunities are:

  • Past Experience 

As is a common theme in the process of tendering for work, your evidence is key. Contracting authorities want to see solid evidence of your experience and competency. It is especially important to show this regarding the challenges you might face on the contract for which you are bidding. Without firm evidence, including numbers, dates, figures and details of specific challenges, you may struggle. Indeed, building up a bank of case studies to draw on, is a key first step toward winning healthcare tenders.

  • Accreditation & Qualification 

To be awarded a place on Social Care frameworks, or to be in with a realistic chance thereof, you have to be able to display appropriate accreditations and qualifications. Otherwise, you will fall at the first hurdle. Tendering authorities need to know that you’re a safe bet. They need to know that you and your team are a safe, competent and respectful pair of hands. Displaying some basic, internationally recognised qualifications quality accreditations and information security standards for your organisation will help. Accreditations such as ISO 9001 and ISO 27001, as well as appropriate NVQs (usually level 3 or above), can typically help you make the first cut in evaluation procedures and help you to reform your business with national best practice.

  • Quality Responses 

Quality is almost always the most pressing aspect of any Social Care tender. Pricing, although important, is typically of secondary consideration to most tendering authorities within this sector. We at Hudson Succeed, recently submitted a bid on behalf of a healthcare provider, which was judged on 100% quality. Meaning price was not even considered! Tendering authorities are more interested in getting a good quality service that meets the needs of service users fully, rather than a cheap service.

Providing additional evidence as part of your submission, will back up your quality responses. For example, providing policies and/or risk assessments, among other items, will inspire further confidence in your organisations ability to provide a safe, quality service.

  • Corporate Social Responsibility 

Social value is becoming more and more prevalent in all tenders, across all business sectors. Buyers want to see you demonstrate how you will bring value to their communities. Typically, this value can be brought through commitments to environmental, social and economic initiatives. 

Authorities tendering Social Care services don’t just want to see your organisation’s commitment to your service users. They also want to see your commitment to the wider picture.

Nowadays, it is very likely that you will encounter at least one question about social value or community benefits.

A strong social value response can be the difference between a strong care tender and a weak one. 

How can we help? 

If you don’t see success first time around when bidding a place on Social Care framework agreements, don’t be disheartened.

Due to the sensitive and challenging nature of this type of work, Social Care framework agreements are often accompanied by strict evaluation criteria. A failure may well not be a reflection on your company, but simply the case that a contracting authority has found someone with more specific or niche experience.

Let Healthcare Tenders help you – we will make sure you stay ahead of the game; notifying you of all current social care framework agreements out to tender. 

Below are previous social care framework agreements sourced on our portal:

Children’s Residential Care Framework

Hampshire County Council- South East- Budget: Undisclosed

Framework for the Provision of Short Break Services for Disabled Children/Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disability

Darlington Borough Council- North East- Budget: Undisclosed

Flexible Framework Agreement for Education and Social Support Services (Children and Families)

Dundee City Council- Scotland- Budget: Undisclosed

Provider Engagement Event for the Framework Agreement for the Provision of Day Opportunities for Working Age Adults and Older People

Darlington Borough Council- North East- Budget: Undisclosed

WCC – Warwickshire Care at Home Services Lot 1 Spot Purchase – 2

Coventry – Solihull – Warwickshire- West Midlands- Budget: £450,000

We source healthcare business leads for sub-sectors including:

Your subscription to Healthcare Tenders includes:

  • Unlimited access to the portal containing all active Healthcare contracts, which you can filter according to budget size, location and keywords (including such terms like, social care, supported living and mental health tenders). 
  • A daily bulletin sent straight to your inbox, containing all the new contract notices our Opportunity Trackers have found that day;
  • A dedicated Account Manager who will deal with all queries relating to Healthcare Tenders or to tendering in general;
  • A free 20-minute phone consultation with our bid writing experts from Hudson Succeed – who can answer specific questions and provide advice and guidance related to your tendering journey.

Want to receive all the social care frameworks published daily direct to your inbox?

Get in touch with Hudson Discover today for a free trial / free demo. 

Let us help you to help others. 

Now is the time for Healthcare Tenders. 

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