Understanding (and Winning) Your Place on a Social Care Framework

Published19th November 2020

Understanding a Social Care Framework

A social care framework is usually a large contract in the care sector, open to more than one supplier. They’re often split into smaller, more manageable categories called lots – another term for services. For example, Leicestershire County Council is undertaking a procurement process to identify and appoint a number of service providers. This social care framework will provide a range of disabled children’s services, and is split into the following 2 lots:

  • Lot 1: Short Breaks (Play and Leisure).
  • Lot 2: Domiciliary Care.

To secure your place on a social care framework, such as this one, you need to undergo a tendering process. Tendering can often feel like a barrier to new service providers, but it doesn’t have to be complex or difficult. We think information on tendering should be accessible for everyone! So, here’s a guide to understanding and securing social care frameworks, using advice from our tendering experts.

What does the future of social care frameworks look like?

The number of available social care frameworks is currently rising as the public sector utilises frameworks more and more. Covid-19 has also disproportionately affected disabled, elderly and vulnerable people, who are dependent on social care.  The knock-on effects of the pandemic are also increasing the strain on mental health services across the country. All of this adds to the need for a larger, more unified approach to social care.

Matt Hancock, the Secretary of Health and Social Care, recently emphasised plans to join up health and social care. He also noted the need for a systems approach in care, and praised systems that are already in place, saying:

I have seen so many examples this year of systems working together for the benefit of patients, because that is what system working is all about…I have seen healthcare teams working side by side with charities and community groups to offer clinics for hard-to-reach patients.  

It seems overarching systems and social care frameworks are more important than ever, as we head into 2021.

What are the benefits of social care frameworks?

For new service providers and small businesses, tendering for frameworks can be more beneficial than tendering for single-supplier contracts.

While the benefits of social care frameworks vary, here’s a brief overview that highlights the common benefits for service providers:

Ongoing work

Upon securing a framework, suppliers can be guaranteed work for multiple years. For instance, in the previous example of Leicestershire County Council, this framework lasts for at least 1 year. The contract can then be extended for a further 3 years, taking the contract term up to 4 years.

Multiple lots

Within a social care framework, a range of verified suppliers can suit all requirements: from regional SME specialists, to national providers. The option for multiple different services means there are more open opportunities, and thus more chances of securing a place.

There is also the option to tender for multiple different lots at once, which can further increase your chance of success. For example, let’s look at the current framework for Technology Enabled Care Services. This social care framework provides a compliant route to access various health and social care technologies.

It has four lots:

  • Lot 1 – Electronic Assistive Technologies
  • Lot 2 – Alarm Technologies and Services
  • Lot 3 – Continuous Monitoring Services
  • Lot 4 -Schedule Remote and On Demand Services

This framework is serviced by seventeen suppliers in total. Four of these suppliers work within multiple lots. Our free Tender VLE masterclass on frameworks touches on tendering for multiple lots in more depth.

Large contracts

Large contracts offer very valuable experience for smaller business and can bolster your chances of winning future work. Framework experience helps prove you are a reliable and credible service provider.

Further benefits…

Social care frameworks benefit buyers, too, of course. The NHS Shared Business Services states its social care framework agreements are designed to:

  • Ensure competitive pricing
  • Help drive savings
  • And improve efficiencies.

There is also the freedom to re-award contracts to approved providers on social care frameworks. This is a benefit for both buyers and suppliers. If a supplier is on an approved provider list, this essentially means they have a ‘seal of approval.’ The buyer can award them work repeatedly, without the need to re-advertise or reapply the selection and award criteria. This method of procurement is proven to deliver better value year on year.

Service users also benefit from social care frameworks in the following ways:

  • Personalisation of care. Social care frameworks promote the personalisation of care. Approved provider lists help achieve this by allowing people to draw upon a range of ‘approved’ services.
  • Flexible contract terms. Access to a number of contracts enables users to find tailored care for their individual needs.

How do I win work on social care frameworks?

At Hudson, we help businesses secure public and private sector contracts. We’ve been doing so, and seeing success, for almost two decades. Our Healthcare Tenders portal was created due to popular demand, as we were supporting many healthcare companies through Hudson Succeed. We wanted to give these companies a sector-specific platform for sourcing tenders with better results and accurate tracking methods. Since creating the portal, we’ve since been able to assist hundreds of care organisations. We’ve secured work on frameworks for recently established businesses and helped larger organisations grow their business in the care sector.

So, what do our bid writing consultants, at Hudson Succeed, advise when it comes to social care frameworks? Here’s their top three recommendations for NHS tenders:

  1. Seek relevant experience

If you’ve never tendered before, you should seek experience that is relevant to the social care framework.

Our consultants recommend contacting your local authorities and asking about any ongoing social care frameworks in your sector. Ask if they need any subcontractor SMEs for additional assistance. This can gain you contractual experience, which is essential when tendering, in the majority of cases. You need experience to back up your tender responses in order to be considered by a Procurement Manager.

  1. Secure relevant accreditations

The tender may require you to have certain accreditations with evidence. Find out which accreditations will increase your eligibility for social care frameworks before applying. 60% of public sector tenders we have worked with require suppliers to have an ISO 9001 prior to contract commencement. And whilst it may not be a requirement for all tenders, it won’t ever hurt your chances.

The ISO 9001:2015 standard is particularly useful for social care frameworks. It ensures high quality service, which is the core principle of social care. Now, more than ever, suppliers need to meet ever-changing regulations and bid against competitors. The ISO 9001:2015 offers an independently assessed quality standard which applies to all social care providers across the UK.

It gives an advantage when seeking social care frameworks, as it ensures compliance with all legal, regulatory and local policy requirements. This includes all of the following:

  • The Department of Health (DOH)
  • The Care Quality Commission (CQC)
  • The Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW)
  • The Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW)
  • Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS)
  • The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate Scotland (HEIS)
  • The Regulatory and Quality Improvement Authority Northern Ireland (RQIA)
  • The Medicines and Healthcare Regulation Authority (MHRA)
  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
  • The NHS Legal Authority (NHSLA)
  1. Create a strong tender

Creating a strong tender is absolutely essential to winning work on social care frameworks. Read our consultants expert advice on composing strong health and social care tenders for more insight into the process.

If you lack the writing skills or corporate literature to write a detailed and compliant tender, don’t worry. You can seek tender writing support from experts or outsource your tender writing if needed.

We offer four packages of bid writing assistance:

Each one is tailored to different needs, whether you simply require advice on previous tenders, or want to outsource a tender completely.

Our team of health and social care tender writers at Hudson Succeed hold an 87% bid success rate. They are trusted by over 700 businesses, globally, so you can rest assured that your bid is in safe hands. Once we have written your bid, we’ll go ahead and submit it for you, too. Tendering has never been easier!

Looking for further support?

We can support through the NHS tendering process and help you bid for social care frameworks. From the beginning of your tender, right through to securing your lot.

We can find social care frameworks that are right for you. Our Healthcare Tenders portal is dedicated specifically to the healthcare and social care industries. Our team of Opportunity Trackers manually search thousands of sources, daily, to find tenders that are relevant to the portal. (Importantly, these trackers are real people – not inaccurate CPV codes!) These tenders are then uploaded to one central system where they are categorised with industry-led keywords.

When you sign up, we’ll send you a daily bulletin with newly uploaded opportunities that are relevant to your business.

Book a free live demo to tour the Healthcare Tenders portal. Browse the tenders and see how the system can help your business secure work on social care frameworks.

Below are previous Social Care Framework agreements sourced on our portal:

Framework for Standard Home Care Services

Derby City Council- East Midlands- Budget: Undisclosed

Framework Agreement in Relation to Home Care Services – Tender for Lot A Lead Provider (Tier) 1 Cluster Area 3 and 4

Southampton City Council- South East- Budget: £12,480,000

Framework Agreement for the Provision of Low, Mid and High-Tech Homecare Services

NHS London Procurement Partnership- London- Budget: Undisclosed

Framework Agreement in Relation to Home Care Services – Second Anniversary Re-Opening

Southampton City Council- South East- Budget: £120,218,632

Short Breaks Pseudo DPS/Framework

East Riding of Yorkshire- Yorkshire and Humber- Budget: Undisclosed

We source healthcare business leads for sub-sectors including:

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