Tendering for Social Care Contracts: Advice from the Experts

Here’s 5 tips from expert Bid Writers for tendering for social care contracts

Want to know more about tendering for social care contracts? Maybe you want to learn how to find them and how to win! Luckily, we are here to help.

Tendering for social care contracts: Where to look for opportunities

If you’re aiming to start tendering for social care contracts, then you’ll need to find some opportunities. You could use a search engine such as Google. This will bring up countless sites for you to explore. The only issue is that these sites will all differ in how they present the tender information. You may have to read through entire tender documents to find certain crucial information. In turn, the process can take ages, and you may not even be eligible for these opportunities.

Thankfully, we have a solution! Hudson Discover is our opportunity tracking division. We have 11 sector-specific portals to help businesses find the perfect opportunity. We streamline the process of finding tenders by having hundreds of tenders in one place. Our portals list tenders based on subsector, keyword, location, price, and deadline. This means you can easily see key details about the tender, without having to read hefty documents.

Our Opportunity Trackers manually upload tenders to our portals daily. So, you save hours of your time searching! We don’t use CPV codes either, so tenders are listed correctly.

Discover Elite

If you want to streamline the process even further, you can sign up to Discover Elite via your chosen portal. With this service, a dedicated Account Manager will find live bids on your behalf. They’ll speak with you weekly to discuss opportunities that may interest you. This is especially helpful for those with little time to spare due to busy schedules.

Previous social care contracts

Curious about what tenders we feature on our portal? Here are a few that have previously been available via our Healthcare Tenders portal:

Community Support Service – Yorkshire – £50k

The buyer is looking for the provision and delivery of a community peer support service.

Social Awareness Campaign – Yorkshire – £210k

The successful supplier will work alongside multiple agencies in providing learning materials to remove stigmas around nursing services.

Abuse Support – South East – £635k

The buyer is looking for support services and referral strategies for victims of domestic violence and abuse.

Housing Services – East Midlands – Budget: Undisclosed

The buyer is seeking the delivery of housing that adheres to all of the buyer’s needs.

Carer Support – Wales – Budget: Undisclosed

The contracting authority is seeking the provision of interventions and support for parents and their children, from infancy to adolescence.

How to win when tendering for social care contracts

New to tendering for social care contracts? Perhaps you aren’t seeing the success you had hoped for. Our sister company, Hudson Succeed, have expert Bid Writers that can help!

If you don’t have the time to dedicate to writing a bid proposal, you can turn to their experts. They’ll handle the entire process for you. Check out their services page to find out more.

Do you prefer to write your bids yourself but need some guidance? Here’s some tips from our experts to boost your chances of success:

  1. Make sure your proposal is clear and concise.
  2. Don’t use technical jargon as this can confuse the buyer.
  3. Make sure you proofread the bid before submission. Leaving errors can give the impression you are unprofessional!
  4. Use bid management skills to stay organised. It will make the process easier and less stressful.
  5. Check your eligibility before you begin!

Summary

Now you should have a good idea of how to find and win opportunities when tendering for social care contracts. Let’s recap everything we covered.

To find social care contracts, you can use our Healthcare Tenders portal. The Hudson Discover Division has 11 sector-specific portals to help businesses find contracts. You can upgrade to Discover Elite to streamline the process further. We assign an Account Manager to find contracts on your behalf.

Here are tips from our experts on how to write winning social care bid proposals:

  1. Make sure your proposal is clear and concise.
  2. Don’t use technical jargon as this can confuse the buyer.
  3. Make sure you proofread the bid before submission.
  4. Use bid management skills to stay organised.
  5. Check your eligibility before you begin!

Need help writing your next tender?

If you don’t have the resources or time to write a winning bid, why not outsource it? Our sister company, Hudson Succeed, boasts an 87% success rate and have over 60 years of collective bidding experience. They offer four bid writing support packages to help you on the path to success. Whether you’re new to tendering, or simply need someone to proof your written response before you submit – we can help.

Tender Ready

Our Tender Ready programme is designed for those who have never tendered before. This 4-week programme works with you to ensure you have everything in place to tender successfully.

Tender Improvement

Tender Improvement can help if you’re already tendering but aren’t seeing success from your current efforts. Our Bid Writers will assess your previous submissions and supporting documents. They’ll give you feedback and guidance on how to improve, helping you to secure your next tenders.

Tender Mentor

If you’ve written a tender and need someone to proofread it – Tender Mentor is for you. A Bid Writer will double-check it’s in line with the specification and free of any grammar or spelling mistakes.

Tender Writing

If you’ve found the perfect tender but don’t know where to start – we can help. Send the specification over to us and our Bid Team will do the rest. They’ll let you know what they need from you and provide you with a full breakdown. They’ll even submit it on your behalf, leaving you more time to focus on your business.

Get in touch to find out more information.

Want to save even more time?

Upgrading to Discover Elite will ensure you never miss a tendering opportunity even when you’re busy!

The Ultimate Time-Saving Tool offers your business:

  • An annual subscription to a maximum of two Discover portals of your choice.
  • Up to five bid breakdowns per month to help you make your bid or no-bid decision
  • Weekly phone calls with your Account Manager to discuss viable leads and tendering opportunities.
  • Award and pre-market engagement notices monitored on your behalf.
  • Public and private buyer portal management including registering, password management, downloading documents and assessing viability based on your bid strategy.

Contact us for more information.

Where to Find an NHS Tender Portal

Answering 6 FAQs about NHS tender portals and where to find them

You may be wondering where you can find an NHS tender portal if you’re thinking about tendering for business. Don’t waste time scouring various NHS tender portals. You can find all NHS tenders and more on Healthcare Tenders.

  1. Where can you find an NHS tender portal?

When searching for a good NHS tender portal, consider finding a one, central portal that hosts all NHS tendering opportunities. Our Healthcare Tenders portal hosts all NHS tenders as well as other public and private sector opportunities. It takes regular NHS tender portals to the next level.

  1. What makes the best NHS tender portal?

  • No reliance on CPV codes

When looking for a good NHS tender portal, you don’t want to be relying on inaccurate CPV codes. These are often mislabelled, allowing plenty of opportunities to slip through the net. Studies have shown that nearly 30% of CPV codes are tagged inaccurately.

The best NHS tender portals will manually upload any NHS tender opportunities they find. This allows you to see 100% of tenders that are available across the UK.

  • Results you can filter

 NHS tender portals, ideally, will have results that you can filter. Filtering the results by keyword, budget or location, allows you to find the perfect opportunity for your business. NHS tender portals have tenders for multiple services, and not all of them are relevant to your business. Being able to filter results allows you to save time and skip the irrelevant opportunities. 

  • Email alerts

To make finding NHS tender opportunities for your business even easier, Healthcare Tenders sends you daily email alerts. These will include all of the live NHS tendering opportunities uploaded that day, saving you even more time.

  1. What’s published on an NHS tender portal?

You may be wondering what business opportunities are posted to NHS tender portals. The NHS tend to procure a whole wealth of healthcare works, goods and services. It can vary from digital solutions to consumables and care workers to x-ray machines.

Often, there will be opportunities to secure a place on a framework agreement or dynamic purchasing system (DPS). These can be lucrative opportunities for your business, and they can run for years at a time. Securing a place on one of these systems allows you to build experience, safeguarding a reliable income for your business.

  1. What are NHS Framework agreements and DPSs?

Framework agreements are often used to appoint multiple organisations to provide goods or services. The process is similar to an average tender. It will start when the buyer releases a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ). This a type of box-ticking exercise showing the buyer that you meet the minimum criteria they need for the contract.

If successful at the PQQ stage, you’ll then receive an invitation to tender (ITT). The buyer will give you the specification that details all the requirements for the work they need. A supplier will formulate a response persuading the buyer that they’re the best company for the job. Once the suppliers have submitted their response, the buyer will review them. Then, the successful applicant will be placed on a list of approved suppliers known as a framework.

Once the buyer has a need to procure other goods or service, they can hold a mini competition. This is when all the approved suppliers create an ITT response. As they’re already on the framework or DPS, they don’t need to complete the PQQ stage again. This saves both the buyer and supplier time, thus streamlining the process.

NHS procurement hubs manage, maintain and develop procurement framework agreements for public sector organisations and the NHS. There are four NHS procurement hubs and one of them is the NHS London Procurement Partnership (NHS LPP). The NHS LPP serves the health community in London and the surrounding areas.

  1. What are the common themes within NHS tenders?

There are some common themes when applying to various NHS tenders. No matter the works, goods or services you’re applying to provide, you’ll need to remember the following.

Case Studies

You will be required to demonstrate relevant case studies of work you have completed to a similar scope. The buyer may ask for up to three examples within the last five years. Remember to keep them relevant and state how you overcame any unexpected challenges. Buyers want to be reassured that you have some experience in delivering a contract.

Qualifications

A buyer will expect you to have certain qualifications and accreditations relevant to your profession. They want to know that you are qualified for the job and have the capabilities to fulfil the contract. The specific qualifications required should be listed in the specification. You want to make sure that your business is aligned with best practice.

Some accreditations that could be relevant are:

  • ISO 9001; 13485; 14001; 27001
  • NVQs (usually level 3 or above)

MEAT

As the NHS is a public sector, as with any public sector organisation the contract is awarded to the MEAT. The MEAT stands for the most economically advantageous tender, meaning the buyer looks at more than just price. The cheapest bid here does not win. The buyer assesses various factors within your quality response. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Innovation
  • Technical ability
  • Quality
  • Ability to deliver on time
  • Accessibility
  • Proposed design of healthcare solutions
  • Environmental benefits

Each aspect can either be looked at independently by the client, or in a mix with other considerations.

Social Value

It wouldn’t be an NHS tender blog without mentioning the importance of social value within your tender response. The public sector builds upon MEAT by including a compulsory minimum weighting of 10% on social value. This is included within your quality response and, in some cases, can have a weighting of up to 30%.

Social value requires you to consider the environmental, economic and social aspects of the contract. Buyers will expect you to make promises that you can keep. Some examples of social values you could include in your tender response are:

  • How your business supports COVID-19 recovery.
  • The environmental considerations you’re taking to reduce waste and fight climate change.
  • The equal opportunity policies you implement.
  • How you’re tackling economic inequality.
  1. How can I find the right NHS tender for my business?

The ultimate question of to bid or not to bid. You must ask yourself seriously before you consider applying to any tender if the opportunity is right for you. You must read the specification carefully, twice, just to be sure. Then, you must ask yourself the following:

  • Do I have enough experience?
  • Does my business meet the economic and financial threshold?
  • Do I have the time and resources to produce a high-quality submission?
  • Can I actually fulfil the contract if I’m successful?

These four questions should be the foundation of any tender you’re considering applying for. If the answer is no to any of the above, then it’s likely that the tender isn’t suitable for you. There’s no point wasting the time and money applying to an opportunity that isn’t right for your business.

Supply to NHS Portal/NHS Tender Portal

The Institute for Government states the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) spent £70 billion on procurement in 2018/19. The vast majority of this is on NHS spending. The NHS accounts for around 80% of all healthcare spending in the UK.

In England, most healthcare goods are bulk purchased centrally and distributed by the NHS Supply Chain. The NHS Supply Chain now manages more than 4.5 million orders a year.

A business can secure a pipeline of work by supplying a product to the NHS via portals. It can be quite a lucrative opportunity if you’re able to supply to the NHS portals.

How has NHS procurement changed since the COVID-19 pandemic?

The DHSC, Public Health England and NHS England are responsible for NHS procurement. Various stems within the NHS and government actually commission NHS contracts for tender. These include Local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) and the NHS Supply Chain.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NHS England has taken on the CCG’s powers to purchase services. This allows them with a greater ability to support the provision of services across the NHS during the crisis. The CCG are still purchasing services as well.

During this emergency, the government has issued guidance on emergency procurement. This sets out the routes that government bodies can take to gain access to good and services rapidly. This allows for direct awards, for example, meaning there is no competition resulting in accelerated procedures. Therefore, businesses can supply to the NHS without being on a portal.

The NHS uses various procurement hubs to buy goods and services they need. You can apply to supply to the NHS on their portals.

The benefits of working with the NHS Supply Chain

If you’re questioning whether to supply to NHS portals, there can be multiple benefits. The NHS Supply Chain offers benefits to suppliers that no other route to market can provide. For example:

  • Regional distribution centres that have over 9000 stocked lines, allowing for increased Supply Chain resilience.
  • Specialist procurement conversations with suppliers. The Category Tower Service Providers (CTSPs) have buying teams that have specialist knowledge of their product areas.
  • Suppliers are involved in the CTSP development of category and sourcing strategies, which are approved by their cross-functional teams.
  • Reduced point of sales, providing a single route to market for suppliers instead of applying to each trust individually. This is a particular benefit for SMEs, lowering sales and marketing costs.
  • The NHS Supply Chain has a dedicated Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) team that engage regularly with suppliers.
  • A clearer route for innovative products into the NHS Supply Chain. It has better links and offers the opportunity for collaborations with national programmes such as the National Wound Care Strategy.

It isn’t just suppliers that benefit from supplying to NHS portals. NHS trusts also benefit from the NHS Supply Chain. For example:

  • Savings that can be channelled back to frontline services.
  • More time enabled for core clinical activities.
  • Greater NHS clinical involvement in purchasing decisions.
  • More effective introduction of new products, particularly those with a focus on innovation.

What is the supplier code of conduct?

All suppliers for NHS tender portals must adhere to strict laws and ethics standards. It must comply with all laws applicable to its business, particularly for the following:

  • Child Labour
  • Forced Labour
  • Compensation and working hours
  • Discrimination
  • Health and safety
  • Business continuity planning
  • Improper payments/bribery
  • Environment
  • Business partner dialogue
  • Compliance with the supplier code of conduct.

Can SMEs join the NHS Supply Chain?

The UK government has an ongoing initiative to award 33% of all government contracts to SMEs by 2022. This applies to the NHS and they are keen to remove barriers to enable ease of trading with SMEs. Thus, ensuring that all suppliers, no matter their size, have equal and fair access to supply opportunities within the NHS.

The NHS Supply Chain has been structured to simplify the engagement with those who have expertise in their product category. SMEs will benefit from a quicker route for the evaluation of innovative products. These should offer more measurable benefits to patients or the health care system. It must compare and improve routine practice in the UK through HealthTechConnect.

How can I supply to NHS tender portals?

There are a number of actions you can take to learn more about becoming a supplier for the NHS Supply Chain. In order to supply to an NHS tender portal, you must first create an account online. You will be required to create a username and password to log in to your account.

You can also contact the Supplier Relationship Management Team or view the Procurement and Savings Calendar. This calendar will give an overview of contract launch activity, framework renewals and mini competitions all in one place.

Alternatively, you can sign up to our Healthcare Tenders portal. Here, you can find all NHS tendering opportunities and more in one place.

Join Healthcare Tenders

We source healthcare tenders for the following sub-sectors:

Domiciliary Care Tenders

Medical PPE

Social Care Contracts

Medical Supplies & Consumables

Mental Health Tenders

Supported living Tenders

Medical Equipment Tenders

Book a free live demo today.

Upgrade to Discover Elite to save even more time

Discover Elite can help optimise your tendering efforts even when you’re busy! An on-hand Account Manager will carefully consider which tenders are most suitable for your business. They can give you advice on how to supply to the NHS portal. This will help improve your bid success rate and competitor awareness.

The Ultimate Time-Saving Tool includes:

  • An annual subscription to a maximum of two Discover portals of your choice. This option is perfect if your business overlaps two industries such as Healthcare and Technology, for example.
  • Up to five bid breakdowns per month to help you make your bid or no-bid
  • Weekly phone calls with your dedicated Account Manager to discuss viable healthcare leads and tendering opportunities.
  • Award and pre-market engagement notices monitored on your behalf.
  • Public and private buyer portal management including registering, password management, downloading documents and assessing viability based on your bid strategy.

Become a Pre-Bid Master package includes:

  • All of the above.
  • Up to seven tender breakdowns per month.
  • The development of a bid strategy delivered by a Senior Bid Manager with a minimum of 5 years of experience. It will also be managed by our Global Bid Director.

Contact us for more information.

So, now you know more about NHS tender portals and where to find them. You may be wondering how to win an NHS tender. If writing isn’t your strong suit, we can help.

Our sister company, Hudson Succeed, are experts in bid writing. They have 50+ years of bidding experience and an 87% success rate. The team provides four levels of bid writing support to suit all your tendering needs. Whether you’ve never tendered before, or simply need someone to proof your response – they can help.

Tender Writing

If you’ve found an NHS tender you want to go for but don’t know where to start, Tender Writing can help. Just send the specification over and one of our Bid Writers will provide you with a full Tender Writing breakdown. They’ll write the response for you, and even submit it on your behalf!

Tender Mentor

If you need a fresh set of eyes to look over your NHS tender response, Tender Mentor is for you. Our Bid Writers analyse your response, notifying you of any errors before you submit.

Tender Improvement

If you’ve been tendering but aren’t seeing any success the Tender Improvement programme can help. Our Bid Writers will assess your previous tender responses and work with you to develop improved content.

Tender Ready

The Tender Ready package is for those who are completely new to the tendering process. This package offers:

  • An Organisation-wide bid library.
  • Access to Global Bid Directors and Senior Bidding Professionals.
  • Additional Flexible Benefits Options.
  • A 12-month Discover subscription to Healthcare Tenders.

Get in touch to gain further insight into our services and see which opportunities can benefit your business.

What is the NHS London Procurement Partnership?

Everything you need to know about the NHS London Procurement Partnership

The NHS London Procurement Partnership (NHS LPP) is one of four national procurement hubs across the UK.

The NHS London Procurement Partnership serves the health community in London and the surrounding areas. Their services extend across the mental health, community and acute sectors, clinical commissioning and primary care.

What makes the NHS LLP unique is that they are collectively owned by all their members, not just one organisation. This allows their members to have equal status and input into their vision, products, structure and services. They have a number of membership forums and the governance of a member-led Steering Board.

The NHS London Procurement Partnership has the same priorities as the regional and national agendas. This includes the:

  • NHS Long Term Plan
  • Integrated Care Systems
  • Procurement Target Operating Model

The four NHS procurement hubs are:

  • NHS Commercial Solutions
  • NHS North of England Commercial Procurement Collaborative
  • East of England NHS Collaborative Procurement Hub
  • NHS London Procurement Hub

NHS London Procurement Partnership members have access to framework agreements developed by each of the above.

What is a framework agreement?

Now that is all cleared up, you might be wondering what a framework agreement actually is. Healthcare services/goods are often procured through framework agreements. Frameworks are used to appoint multiple organisations to provide healthcare services/goods, sometimes over several years.

Some frameworks enable you to choose a ‘Lot’. A ‘Lot’ is often a specific service or region and enables you to work alongside other service providers on a contract. If you secure a place on a framework, it can place your organisation in good stead for future contracts. It can also secure you a steady income over the contract period.

NHS London Procurement Partnership framework agreements:

The NHS LPP manages, maintains and develops procurement framework agreements for the NHS and other public sector organisations.

Every hospital and GP within the procurement hub region will be a member of the procurement hub. The members are the customers, and the ones procuring the goods or services from the suppliers on the framework. They all agree to procure from these central hubs.

Suppliers who wish to join the framework will need to complete a pre-qualifying questionnaire (PQQ). Once they have passed the PQQ, they will then receive the invitation to tender (ITT).

However, completing the ITT doesn’t guarantee you work.

Some frameworks may award work to all successful suppliers, whereas others may then undergo mini competitions. In this case, suppliers will only have to submit an ITT if on the framework. They won’t need to complete a new PQQ. This makes for a faster and easier procurement process on both ends.

Remember these three key themes when applying to any NHS London Procurement Partnership framework:

  • Sustainability
  • Value for money
  • Security of supply

The NHS London Procurement Partnership includes live contracts that fall within the following four categories:

  1. Clinical Digital Solutions (CDS)

The NHS LPP CDS offers a service-led approach to clinical digital procurement. This area provides specialist expertise in complex, fully integrated digital health and IT infrastructure solutions.

The NHS London Procurement Partnership supports the NHS and the wider public sector to future-proof new technology contracts. They want to ensure that additional charges and variations to contracts are limited. By doing this, they can achieve substantial savings on multi-million-pound contracts.

Some of the CDS live contract opportunities are:

  • Information Management & Technology
  • Health & Social Care Apps DPS
  1. Estates, Facilities and Professional Services

The NHS LPP are interested in procurement within the following subsections:

  • Transport
  • Management
  • Minor works
  • Bespoke support services
  • Utility contracts

The NHS LPP are looking to reduce their carbon emissions. They’re hoping to meet the government and NHS England net-zero commitments which will, in turn, reduce hospital admissions. This is an important thing to bear in mind when applying to be a part of the framework.

Social value is key and means a great deal. You will score highly if you work this into your proposal. They’re looking for suppliers that can provide long-term, sustainable solutions.

Some of the current live opportunities they are looking to procure are for:

  • Legal Services
  • Linen and Laundry Services
  • Analysis and Reconciliation
  • Medium Value Works
  • Payroll Services
  1. Medicines Optimisation and Pharmacy Procurement

This sector of the NHS LPP comprises of clinical specialists. They support medicine optimisation through a pan-London approach aligning with quality, safety and value priorities. The NHS LPP are looking for patient pathways that improve patient care and population health. They do this by promoting equity and reducing unwarranted variation across the system. They work closely with NHS England, NHS Improvement, clinical networks and the Academic Health Science Networks. Some of the current live opportunities include:

  • Homecare contracts
  • Medical gases
  • Contrast media
  • Parental nutrition products
  1. Workforce

The Workforce Team at the NHS London Procurement Partnership supports the public sector across all aspects of ‘hire to retire’. They link all elements of workforce management enabling them to streamline the employment process. They are facing the issue of managing an aging workforce and looking to implement new Integrated Care Systems (ICS). This is a good opportunity if you can provide:

  • Solutions across permanent and temporary staffing, increasing your strategic workforce planning.
  • Market intelligence on supplier insights and legislative perspective.
  • New market solutions that fit the needs of an organisation that don’t exist within the market.
  • Non-clinical temporary and fixed-term staff.
  • International recruitment,

They also include two additional products and services that the NHS LLP cover which are:

  • Consultancy

The NHS London Procurement Partnership Consultancy Team provides technical expertise to deliver complex procurements. They do this for the NHS and the wider public sector. They work with the NHS to create bespoke plans delivering complex outcomes and supporting transformation change. Innovative and sustainable patient outcomes are a strong focus.

  • Business Intelligence

The NHS LPP Business Intelligence Team have access to data from the NHS and its suppliers. They categorise, analyse and more without the data leaving the organisation. They connect trusts across London, enabling them to work together.

6 things to include for a successful LPP framework application

Before you even begin your application for an LPP framework, you should ask yourself the following:

  • Do I have enough experience and the necessary qualifications required?

If your answer is no to any of the above questions, then perhaps this opportunity isn’t right for you. Really question yourself whether to bid or not to bid. It’s best to clarify this at the beginning of the process as opposed to further down the line. Giving it some proper thought can save you time and money in the long run.

You should read the tender specification carefully paying attention to the requirements.  Even if there are 70 pages. You don’t want to spend the time writing your response to find out you missed a requirement on page 57.

  1. Plan accordingly

Plan accordingly and give yourself enough time. It’s best to give yourself too much time than not enough time when preparing for and LPP framework response. It’s best to wage in extra time for any unexpected hiccups to occur that could delay your submission. Deadlines are final and there are no exceptions or extensions.

Set yourself and your team realistic deadlines, allowing plenty of time for detailed responses. Once you decide to apply, the first thing you should do is note the submission date and time. 

  1. Ask clarification questions if needed

 It’s likely during your tendering career that you come across something in the specification that doesn’t make sense. If you’re unsure of something in the tender documents, you should ask a clarification question. You should note when the clarification question deadline is, as it may be significantly before the submission deadline.

Before you ask your clarification questions(s), read through the feed and see what other bidders have asked. You never know, your question could be one which a number of others are unclear about. If you do need to ask a question, it’s best to keep it clear, concise and anonymous. You don’t want to tip off your competitors that you’re applying to this LPP framework. 

  1. The devil is in the detail

Detailed responses are often well-received however, you don’t want to go into unnecessary detail. You want to avoid overly technical jargon and don’t leave any room for the buyer to make assumptions. Your response should be detailed enough to match the word and page counts. They are there for a reason. If a buyer thinks a response is worth 500 words, then two sentences won’t suffice. It’s a fine balance. Ultimately, you want to be persuasive in your response and demonstrate that you’re the best company for the job.

  1. Be the MEAT

Public sector organisations have a responsibility to spend taxpayers’ money resourcefully. Thus, organisations such as the NHS are always looking for value for money. LPP framework places are always awarded to the most economically advantageous tenders, known as the MEAT.

The buyer is looking at more than just price. They will be looking at a combination of things combined and individually ensuring the best value for money. These could include, but aren’t limited to the following:

  • Innovation
  • Quality
  • Patient care
  • Technical ability
  • Accessibility
  • Improved patient outcomes
  • Proposed design. 
  1. Social value

Following on from value for money and MEAT is social value. Public sector organisations have a mandatory minimum 10% weighting on social value. This is not something to be glossed over in your LPP framework response. Your social value responses should include the social, environmental and economic aspects of the contract. The NHS and DHSC have a focus on sustainability and innovation, so it’s best you include these.

The buyers want to see you making promises that you can keep. They want to know that you’re committed to things such as:

  • COVID-19 recovery
  • Tackling climate change
  • Reducing waste and encouraging recycling
  • Tackling economic inequality through the National Living Wage
  • Creating a fair and diverse workplace
  • Encouraging upskilling within the local communities, tackling the long-term unemployed
  • Ethical supply chains
  • Reducing carbon footprint.
  1. Evidence is key 

Evidence is key when applying to join an LPP framework. You will be required to provide examples and evidence that you have the necessary experience to carry out the requirements. Often, buyers may ask for up to three case studies within the last five years.

These case studies should be similar in scope and scale to demonstrate your capabilities. The NHS likes to see concrete evidence of successful contract fulfilments. You should be prepared to attach testimonials from previous happy clients. This will strengthen your response and reassures the buyer that you know what you’re doing.

Depending on the word count for your LPP framework response, you could note how you overcame any unexpected challenges. This can show your problem-solving skills and ability to adapt and be flexible which is sometimes needed within a framework.

Need help with bid writing?

After finding an NHS framework you want to go for, the next step is writing and submitting your bid. This can be a daunting idea if you’ve never done it before. It can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. This is where we come in.

Our Bid Writers have an 87% success rate and over 40 years of bidding experience. We offer four bid writing packages to help you with your bid. These are:

Tender Ready

The Tender Ready package is for those who are completely new to the tendering process and never tendered before. We offer a three-stage process and the programme can last up to three months. If you choose this option, you’ll receive:

  • A 12 month Discover subscription to Healthcare Tenders

This summarises the UK’s latest private and public sector opportunities. You’ll get daily notifications via email about new healthcare opportunities.

  • Access to Global Bid Directors and Senior Bidding Professionals

Our Bid Writers have over 40 years of bidding experience in numerous industries. You will also have access to a dedicated Bid Consultant. They can answer any questions or queries you may have on the tendering or framework agreement process.

  • An Organisation-wide bid library

This includes developing new bid-specific content ranging from:

  • 3 case studies
  • 5 CV’s
  • 8 policies

We provide a templated library for your team to easily manage all content. We’ll arrange all of your company credentials, undertaking a full bid library audit. We’ll also provide advice and guidance on how to increase your tender quality and competitiveness.

  • Additional Flexible Benefits Options

Meet the specific needs of your business and tendering activity over 3 days’ worth of consultancy. You can choose from one of the three following options:

  1. A bespoke proposal covering 5,000 words of boilerplate responses accustomed to your company. This is fully editable and designed on Microsoft Word.
  2. Three days Bid Consultancy support, coaching and training with Hudson’s senior team.
  3. Three days Bid Consultancy support towards one tender, private sector proposal or public sector framework.

Tender Improvement

Have you been tendering to the best of your ability but aren’t seeing results? Our Bid Writers will assess your previous tender responses and work with you to develop improved content as part of Tender Improvement.

Tender Mentor

Our Tender Mentor service analyses your tender content and checks for any errors before you submit your tender response.

Tender Writing

If you’re interested in getting a place on the NHS London Procurement Partnership framework, we can help. Our Bid Writers will help you every step of the way. They’ll write the tender response for you and even submit the bid on your behalf.

This package is priced per bid and will provide you with a full Tender Writing breakdown. You’ll know how long it’ll take, what we need from you and when you’ll see an initial and final draft.

How can Healthcare Tenders help you find NHS contracts?

Our Healthcare Tenders portal is home to hundreds of live healthcare tenders and frameworks and Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS). A DPS, like a framework agreement, can be worth millions of pounds. This is because they can run for years. Applying for a DPS or framework is flexible, meaning you can join any time! They’re a great opportunity that could benefit your business if you secure a place. Get in touch today and find out how we can help grow your business.

Opportunities for Healthcare Tenders are available across the whole of the UK. It’s likely that there will be a suitable tender opportunity for your business near you.

We source healthcare business leads for sub-sectors including:

Our portal is different because we don’t rely on CPV codes. CPV codes can often be confusing and unreliable. Our Opportunity Trackers manually search through thousands of sources every day, bringing you the most relevant contracts for your business. This means that each opportunity is new and brings with it the potential to add value to your organisation.

The portal’s search function is easy to use. You’re able to filter your results by region, keyword, budget or sector. This takes the headache out of searching for your new healthcare tender. This allows you to focus on the more important things such as running your business.

Book a free, live demo to gain further insight into our services and see which opportunities can benefit your business.

Save even more time by upgrading to Discover Elite

Discover Elite’s two new time-saving packages can help optimise your tendering efforts even when you’re busy! An on-hand Account Manager will carefully consider which tenders are most suitable for your business. They can give you advice on applying to the LPP framework, helping improve your competitor awareness and bid success rate.

The Ultimate Time-Saving Tool offers your business:

  • An annual subscription to a maximum of two Discover portals of your choice. This option is perfect if your business overlaps two industries such as Healthcare and Technology, for example.
  • Up to five bid breakdowns per month to help you make your bid or no-bid
  • Weekly phone calls with your dedicated Account Manager to discuss viable healthcare leads and tendering opportunities.
  • Award and pre-market engagement notices monitored on your behalf.
  • Public and private buyer portal management including registering, password management, downloading documents and assessing viability based on your bid strategy.

Become a Pre-Bid Master package includes:

  • All of the above.
  • Up to seven tender breakdowns per month.
  • The development of a bid strategy delivered by a Senior Bid Manager with a minimum of 5 years of experience. It will also be managed by our Global Bid Director.

Contact us for more information.

7 Things to Consider When Applying for Hospital Tenders

How to succeed when applying for Hospital Tenders

Hospital tenders are some of the most abundant tenders going. Health is by far the biggest area of government procurement spending. The current COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in procurement within the healthcare sector. Increased procurement has been needed for both goods and services as they struggle to cope with increasing demand and pressure.

There are several things to consider when applying for hospital tenders.

Who puts out hospital tenders?

Private Healthcare Sector

This includes Private Hospital Groups such as:

  • Bupa
  • SPIRE
  • Ramsey
  • Nuffield Health
  • BMI Healthcare

Public Healthcare Sector

In the UK, this is the National Healthcare Service (NHS). This is inclusive of hospitals, general practices (GPs) and community care. Most of the procurement opportunities in healthcare and hospital tenders are put out by the NHS, local authorities and central government.

The NHS Supply Chain

This is the central body that oversees the procurement of healthcare products, services and food within the NHS. The NHS Supply Chain manages more than 4.5 million orders per year across 94,000 order points and 15,000 locations. They consolidate orders from over 8,000 suppliers saving time and money.

How are goods and services purchased?

In England, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) acquires funding through taxes and national insurance. This then goes to regional NHS organisations. Each region within the UK has its own healthcare board, known as the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). They receive the money from the government and decide how and what to put the money towards in their region. Each hospital decides how to spend money from the government as they might need to procure different goods and services. As a result, our Healthcare Tenders portal sees a constant stream of healthcare contract opportunities.

The DHSC spent around £70 billion on procurement in England in 2018/19 and it is increasing each year. The public healthcare sector couldn’t run efficiently without private sector suppliers. An estimated 1 in 3 NHS clinical service tenders are won by private-sector contractors. 

There are three general areas of procurement and hospital tenders. These are:

  1. Digital

NHS Digital which controls IT procurement of dater systems and software solutions. Digital hospital tenders would be put out for software solutions to be used within hospitals. It is worth bearing in mind that if applying for NHS Digital procurement opportunities the following accreditations are needed:

  • ISO 9001
  • ISO 13485
  • ISO 27001
  • Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSP) Toolkit
  • IASME GOLD also known as IASME Governance
  1. Goods

The main goods bought by hospitals are equipment and medicines. This includes single purchase capital equipment tenders for things such as beds and x-ray machines. It also includes consumables which could be anything from bedsheets to paper towels. Both of which hospitals are in constant need of. In response to the pandemic, this would include the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE).

  1. Services

The services can be viewed as the procurement of people. This could be doctors, cleaners or care workers. Service tenders would be put out to solve needs such as long waiting list problems. The current pandemic has led to an increase in the procurement of services in the last year.

7 things to consider when applying for hospital tenders:

  1. Accreditations and Qualifications

It’s no surprise that to secure healthcare and hospital tenders, you have to have certain accreditations and qualifications. The procurement teams need to know that you’re appropriately qualified to tend to their needs. Without these, you’ll likely fall at the first hurdle. Displaying some basic, internationally recognised qualifications and accreditations assures your quality. Including your organisation’s information security standards will help.

Some of the key accreditations that are needed when applying for hospital tenders are:

  • ISO 9001
  • ISO 27001
  • NVQs (usually level 3 or above)
  1. Case Studies

If you’re a relatively new business, it’s worth keeping in mind that hospital tenders will require you to include past case studies. If you don’t have these, it’s best to start with a small spot provider opportunity that you’ll champion. Once you’ve secured three small projects, you will have enough experience to apply for larger bids. The NHS requires case studies of previous work, so you must have these before applying.

  1. Price

When applying for hospital tenders, you want to make your bid the most price attractive to the buyer. The most economically advantageous tenders (MEATs) will come out on top, and it’s something worth remembering. Although a lot of tenders have greater scoring in quality, you must not overlook the pricing aspect.

  1. Framework

If you’re new to tendering, consider starting with framework agreements. A framework agreement is a form of tendering contract. Tenders often focus on a single supplier delivering the required goods or services. However, if you’re a new or small business, this might not be appropriate.

Frameworks aim to establish a multi-supplier agreement. This means there are more places available. These agreements are often over longer-terms, usually between 2 – 10 years. Buyers release a framework opportunity and award places to the best suppliers. Goods/services on frameworks are often divided into multiple lots. Therefore, instead of delivering the whole contract, you only deliver your section.

  1. End-user Engagement

If you’re applying for digital healthcare and hospital tenders, the implementation and end-user engagement are always worth paying attention to. You want the emphasis on support for whatever you’re providing. If you can get the end-user engagement right, you will be highly successful.

  1. Time

NHS tenders are often large, complex and notorious for being a lengthy procurement process. The NHS can be a difficult place to implement your solution. It takes time. Remember that there are many people involved in the process.

  1. Portal Notifications

It’s worth keeping an eye out for amended documents – don’t ignore portal notifications! If there are numerous clarification questions about the same clause, the procurement teams may make some changes. These amendments may significantly affect quality responses and/or pricing. 

Here are just some of the past hospital tenders we have sourced on our Healthcare portal:

On-site Perfusion Services Embedded within the Hospital

Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust- Wales- Budget: £14,000,000

23-11-2020

Enteral Nutrition Services for Alder Hey Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

HealthTrust Europe LLP (HTE)- North West- Budget: Undisclosed

19-11-2020

GB-East Grinstead: Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust require a replacement   Nurse Call System 

Queen Victoria NHS Foundation Trust- South East- Budget: £100,000

05-11-2020

Framework for Adult Mental Health and Adult Learning Disability Hospitals

NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership-Procurement Services (hosted by Velindre University NHS Trust)- Wales- Budget: Undisclosed

05-11-2020

Hospital Intervention ‘Navigator’ Service РViolence Reduction

Greater Manchester Combined Authority- North West- Budget: £180,000

18-11-2020

If you want to enter the world of healthcare and hospital tenders but don’t know where to start, we can help.

What we can offer you:

Bid Writing Support

Once you’ve found a hospital tender for your business, we can support you through the NHS tendering process. We offer a variety of healthcare bid writing services to suit your requirements. From passing the PQQ to finalising your ITT response, our team are ready to help.

Our bid writers have an 87% success rate and over 40 years of bidding experience. We offer tender support through four services:

Tender Writing

Simply send the bid specification to our team and they’ll write your hospital tender. They’ll even submit the bid on your behalf. This service is priced per bid and we provide a full Tender Writing breakdown. You’ll know how long it’ll take, what we’ll need from you and when you’ll see an initial and final draft.

Tender Improvement

Our bid writers will assess your previous tender responses and work with you to develop improved content.

Tender Mentor

Our team will analyse your content and check for any errors before you submit your tender response. 

Tender Ready

Tender Ready helps businesses that are completely new to the tendering process. We offer a three-stage process and a 4-week programme.

Tender VLE

Our Tender VLE platform provides expert masterclasses and fact sheets covering many aspects of tender writing. From technical writing tips to design elements, you’ll find clear answers to almost any question you may have about tendering. Our team shares their expert knowledge through video tutorials.

Why join Healthcare Tenders?

  • Our Opportunity Trackers manually search thousands of sources daily to ensure our clients never miss a tender. This means each opportunity is current and relevant to your organisation.
  • We post opportunities on our portal, Healthcare Tenders, and tag them with accurate keywords manually. We don’t rely on CPV codes, which are often incorrect and cause tenders to be missed.
  • You can filter results easily by keyword, region, budget, service and more.
  • You can receive daily alerts when tenders are released for services in their sector as well as 24hr access to our Healthcare Tenders portal.
  • You can have a free 20-minute phone consultation with our bid writing experts from Hudson Succeed. We will answer specific questions and provide advice and guidance related to your tendering journey.

Get in touch with Healthcare Tenders today for a free live demo.

We source healthcare business leads for sub-sectors including:

Domiciliary Care Tenders

Medical PPE

Social Care Contracts

Medical Supplies & Consumables

Mental Health Tenders

Supported living Tenders

Medical Equipment Tenders

Want to receive all care frameworks, direct to your inbox? Book a free live demo today.

Let us help you to help others.

Now is the time for Healthcare Tenders.

NHS Frameworks: How to Succeed

NHS Frameworks – An Expert Guide 

NHS frameworks are the perfect way to secure new business opportunities for your organisation. On an annual basis, the NHS spends billions of pounds within the procurement industry. These procurement opportunities can range from consumables, works, services and much more. With such a wide range of opportunities out there, it can be challenging to know where to start.

Here, we will explore the information needed to ensure your business succeeds in securing a place on NHS frameworks.

What are NHS frameworks?

An NHS framework agreement is a form of tendering contract. Here, the NHS, as the buyer, is seeking a supplier to deliver goods, works or services. While tenders often focus on a single supplier delivering the required product, frameworks aim to establish a multi-supplier agreement. These agreements are often over a longer term of between 2-10 years.

The NHS tendering process is similar to that of an average tendering contract. The buyer will issue a notice for suppliers where they can submit a bid to provide their services. Once these bids have been submitted the buyer can then review each bid. At this point, the buyer will be able to create a list of approved suppliers. These suppliers will then be awarded a place on the NHS framework agreement.

From here, whenever the buyer has an opportunity or project available, they will have their list of pre-approved suppliers available. Often, there will be a mini competition held to select a preferred supplier from this list. This is a lot simpler than the normal tendering process as most information will be readily available. The award can be based on performance, location, and availability. Alternatively, the buyer may allow for a direct award.

Ultimately this form of agreement will reduce the amount of time and stress involved in the tendering process.

What are the advantages of being a supplier on NHS frameworks? 

As we have already established, there are many advantages to using NHS frameworks to secure work. However, the benefits are limitless.

Here is a breakdown of the top 5 advantages of securing work via framework agreements:

  1. They are an easier way for small and medium enterprises (SME’s) to secure work

When you start tendering for work, the whole process can feel daunting. Many buyers require contract examples and prior experience. As an SME, you may feel as though your business won’t stand out from the crowd. You could have the capabilities; however, a bigger or more established organisation may pip you to the post. NHS frameworks offer the perfect solution to this. As multiple suppliers can be admitted onto the agreement, you will not be competing in the same way. Similarly, the more suppliers the framework allows, the better your chances are of securing a place on the agreement.

  1. Long term revenue

On average, a framework agreement lasts for 4 years. NHS frameworks tend to follow a structured process where estimated values are clear. By combining these two factors, framework agreements can provide businesses with structured, long term, revenue. Having this financial stability can make all the difference when planning for the future of your business.  

  1. Accepting work that is convenient for your business

Similarly, these long-term agreements can help when building your pipeline of work. It is extremely important to know when you finish one project, your organisation has another lined up. With framework agreements, you know you have potential work waiting for you. As well as that, you are under no obligation to accept work that arises as part of the framework agreement. You ultimately have the freedom to accept the work which is more convenient for your business.

  1. Building professional relationships

An NHS framework is a fantastic opportunity to work with public sector industries. Once you have been approved by the sector you can gain opportunities to secure more public sector work. You may be asked to extend your contract or given a reference for a more competitive project. Having these contract examples under your belt is also crucial to obtain contracts when tendering for work. These business relationships can last for the duration of your career and open a lot of doors for your organisation.

  1. Saving time and effort

Tendering can often involve a long and rigorous process. It can feel never-ending when submitting multiple bids for opportunities. However, with framework agreements, you can save a lot of time and energy and still get a few contracts under your belt. Once you have been accepted onto a framework, you will be on a pre-approved supplier list. This means when an opportunity arises the process will be a lot shorter. Ultimately, NHS frameworks are an extremely efficient way to secure work.

Who commissions NHS frameworks?

NHS framework agreements, alongside other procurement methods, are primarily commissioned by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). These groups replaced Primary Care Trusts in 2013. They are locally based and clinically-led NHS bodies who are responsible for procurement and commissioning within their area.

CCG’s are involved with assessing the needs within the area and making plans/ decisions based on these needs. CCG’s must constantly review these needs due to local circumstances changing rapidly. As they are responsible for the wellbeing within the local area, solutions must be constantly improved. This ultimately results in a substantial amount of new NHS framework opportunities arising.

In relation to the changing needs of communities, and how commissioning can impact this, the NHS Clinical Commissioners stated:

The commissioning system is continually evolving. We represent our members’ views in national debates on the future of commissioning by producing policy briefings and influencing documents.

One of our early influencing documents was Local solutions to national challenges (2015), which put forward a series of key “asks” to give clinical commissioners the freedoms and flexibilities they need to make even more of a difference in transforming healthcare locally.  

Our publication The future of commissioning (2016) set out our vision for the future of clinical commissioning, based on feedback from our members.

More recently, Steering towards strategic commissioning (2017) outlines what CCGs need to support their strategic commissioning ambitions and get there at pace.

We followed up our 2017 publication with a joint publication with NHS Providers, Driving forward system working (2018), which examined the changing relationship between commissioners and providers in the context of system working.

Is my business eligible to work with the NHS?

As the United Kingdom’s primary healthcare provider, the NHS can be quite an intimidating buyer, particularly for SME’s. A common assumption is that the NHS can only work with larger, more established organisations. However, this is certainly not the case. NHS commissioners actively seek suppliers who span across a range of levels and offerings.

The NHS is a publicly funded healthcare system for the United Kingdom. This means the NHS must comply with the public sector regulations. When using public money for purchasing, contracting authorities must be fair and transparent. The UK government currently has a target to spend £1 in every £3 with SME’s to support these growing businesses.

John Allan, National Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:

The government has much to gain from opening up public procurement to smaller businesses and we welcome the government’s commitment to achieve this ambitious target. To meet it, the government will need to focus on robust monitoring and challenge of poor practices wherever they are found. The FSB will play its part, and will work with ministers on this important goal.”

How to secure a place on NHS frameworks 

After finding an NHS framework, the next logical step is to submit a bid and secure your place. As you probably know, this is easier said than done. Developing a bid that is tailored to your business and the scope of work can be a lengthy, time-consuming process. There are so many factors to consider while trying to convey your competitive edge.

This is where Hudson Succeed can help. Hudson Succeed has a wealth of knowledge and experience in securing places on NHS frameworks. Our dedicated team thrive in creating bespoke packages to suit your bid writing needs. The main packages include:

  • Our Tender Writing service – taking over the full bid writing process.
  • The Tender Ready programme – a preparation programme for those new to tendering.
  • Tender Mentor – for making sure your bid is the best it can possibly be.
  • A Tender Improvement package – to assist businesses who are not seeing successful results from their tendering efforts.

If you require support in securing a place on NHS frameworks, please get in touch with us today.

Where to find NHS frameworks 

Knowing where to find NHS frameworks can seem like a daunting process. There may be a significant number of opportunities to suit your business, but no way of finding them all.

The good news is Healthcare Tenders is here to help. Healthcare Tenders is an online tendering platform, hosting hundreds of new opportunities in this sector from around the UK. We have a range of private and public sector opportunities.

Here is a breakdown of the top 3 unique features of Healthcare Tenders:

  • Time-Saving Benefits

Every week we search thousands of sources. This ensures you have access to all available public and private sector opportunities within the UK. We understand you are busy and may not have time to log in to the portal every day. So, we also send you a daily bulletin email to ensure you don’t miss any opportunities.

  • Tailored Support

We don’t rely on CPV codes. Instead, we tag these tenders by hand with industry-driven keywords. This means you will get access to 100% of all available tenders, relevant to you. You also have access to a dedicated Account Manager who is on hand to answer any general or technical queries. They will inform you of any specific opportunities they believe may be suited to you. Our clients receive tailored support that meets their individual needs.

  • Bid Support

You have access to 20-minutes of free consultation every month with a member of our Succeed Team. Here, they can answer any questions and give you advice on anything you need concerning your tendering journey. As an existing customer, you will also be eligible for a discount for Tender Ready and Improvement packages. Our team boast an 87% success rate and offer a range of services.

Below are previous NHS frameworks sourced on our portal:

NHS Increasing Capacity Framework

NHS Arden and Greater East Midlands Commissioning Support Unit- East Midlands- Budget: Undisclosed

NHS Framework for the Supply of Drugs Licensed Specifically to Target Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR)-expressing, RAS Wild-type Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

NHS England- Yorkshire & Humber- Budget: £75,000,000

NHS Framework Agreement for the Supply of Human Albumin

The NHS Commissioning Board (operating under the name of NHS England)- North West- Budget: £82,666,667

NHS National Framework Agreement for the Supply of Inhalation Anaesthetics and Vaporisers

The NHS Commissioning Board (operating under the name of NHS England)- North West- Budget: £38,966,874

NHS England and NHS Improvement South East – Integrated Health and Emotional Wellbeing Service to Lansdowne Secure Children’s Home (East Sussex) and Swanwick Lodge Secure Children’s Home (Hampshire)

NHS South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit- South East- Budget: £7,245,000

We source healthcare tenders for the following sub-sectors:

Domiciliary Care Tenders

Medical PPE

Social Care Contracts

Medical Supplies & Consumables

Mental Health Tenders

Supported living Tenders

Medical Equipment Tenders

Want to receive all care frameworks, direct to your inbox? Book a free live demo today.

Let us help you to help others.

Now is the time for Healthcare Tenders.

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

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:

Care Framework Agreements: An Expert Guide

What is a care framework?

Care framework agreements are a great way to establish your company in the care sector and build experience.

A care framework is usually one buyer seeking to establish a contract with multiple suppliers in the care sector. It’s common for tenders in the care sector to be large public sector contracts, and therefore part of a framework.

Many jobs in the care sector are temporary or fixed-term contracts which rely on the renewal of funding. When you secure a place on a framework, you can become an ‘approved supplier’ for the duration of the agreement. This can be anywhere from 2-10 years or more. Obviously, this is a great way to secure ongoing work.

Framework agreements are an effective way for SME’s and new businesses to build experience and work towards securing larger contracts. Buyers don’t always require as many credentials or as much turnover as if the contact was to be delivered by a single supplier. And, in the long run, this experience can continue to benefit your company even after the contract is over. Experience on a care framework proves you are reliable and able to work effectively within a larger project. This will bolster your company’s future tender responses and help you build experience.

So, care frameworks can be a valuable stepping-stone for smaller businesses. They’re certainly worth tendering for, if you have the credentials to back up your services.

What types of care framework agreements are available in 2020? 

Care frameworks provide a wide variety of employment opportunities across the country. It’s hard to overstate the variety of work available. The care sector employs over 1.5 million people across 38,000 different organisations and support services. The adult social care sector alone contributes an estimated £43billion to the economy.

People often underestimate the breadth and scope of the care sector in comparison to healthcare. In fact, it’s a huge industry with lots of employment opportunities. It rivals the NHS as the biggest employer in the country. Much like healthcare, the social care sector is vital to society and a rewarding source of work. Due to its size, there are a wide range of care frameworks in need of qualified, skilled service providers.

Here are just a few of the settings your company may work in as part of a care framework:

  • Care homes
  • Private homes
  • Hostels
  • Probation centres
  • Shelters
  • Hospitals
  • Prisons.

The work you undertake may fall into any of the following categories:

  • residential care
  • domiciliary care
  • supporting living
  • childcare and early years
  • guidance and counselling
  • social care
  • child protection
  • community work
  • fostering and adoption
  • housing
  • occupational therapy
  • probation
  • psychology
  • art therapies
  • youth and community work.

Who are the main employers for care frameworks in 2020?

Care framework agreements can stem from a range of buyers and employers. These include:

  • The Nation Health Service (NHS) – e.g. hospitals, clinics, mental health trusts
  • Local authorities – e.g. city councils, social services
  • Charities – e.g.  Age Concern, Barnardo’s
  • Residential and non-residential care organisations
  • Private organisations
  • Educational facilities – e.g. schools, colleges and universities
  • HM Prison and Probation Service.

Each of these lists is simply intended to showcase the diversity of the care sector. They are by no means exhaustive lists of examples. For such a large and ever-changing industry, it’s impossible to showcase all of the opportunities available in this blog!

For a more in-depth look at buyers and opportunities available, book a free live demo of Healthcare Tenders portal. When you sign up, our opportunity trackers will send all relevant tenders direct to your inbox. You’ll never miss a tender! Your subscription to Healthcare Tenders gives you:

  • Unlimited access to the portal containing all active healthcare contracts in the UK.
  • An easy way of searching by filtering the contracts according to budget, 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. These opportunities are sourced by real people – not CPV codes – so we can guarantee accuracy to your sector.
  • 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. They will answer your questions and provide advice and guidance related to your tendering journey.

What are the core issues within care frameworks in 2020?

The care sector has been one of the worse affected sectors during the coronavirus pandemic. Elderly and vulnerable people, who often depend on care workers, are at high-risk to severe COVID-19 symptoms. This has put extreme pressure on the care industry throughout 2020 – and shown how resilient of an industry it is!

Both residential and domiciliary care patients are severely affected by coronavirus. Between March and June 2020, 29.3% of all deaths of care home residents were linked to COVID-19. During the same period, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) also reported 6,523 deaths of recipients of domiciliary care. This was more than double the three-year average. Social care staff were also more than twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as other adults during the pandemic.

When tendering for care frameworks in 2020, consider how you can adapt your services to keep up to date. Can you demonstrate how you’ll keep staff and service users safe as the pandemic continues?

Here are two key factors you should focus on to improve your tenders for care frameworks.

  1. Adapting your quality of care

Quality of care is the single most important evaluation criterion for care frameworks. Unlike other industries, pricing is often less important than quality. If your services don’t meet the required qualities set out in the care framework, it’s not worth tendering for.

Most importantly, you must provide specific evidence to back up your quality of care. Demonstrate how your company aligns with the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) required standards, which include:

  • Person-centred care
  • Dignity and respect
  • Consent
  • Safety
  • Safeguarding from abuse
  • Food and drink
  • Premises and equipment
  • Complaints
  • Good governance
  • Staffing
  • Fit and proper staff
  • Duty of candour
  • Display of ratings

Consider the issues coronavirus has caused within quality of care, including:

  • Reduced staff availability (due to sickness)
  • A lack of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Patients being discharged from hospital into the incorrect care setting that does not fully meet their needs. This was due to the need to free up hospital beds during the pandemic.
  • Reduced, suspended or cancelled services. E.g. day centre closures and charities scaling back their services to ensure the safety of staff and service users.

Now more than ever within care frameworks, you must be able to tackle and overcome issues that arise, as they arise. Can your tender outline the ways in which you’ll overcome quality of care issues?

Care workers are adapting to and tackling these issues in inventive ways. For instance, the directors of adult social services (ADASS) produced an informative guide to care home infection control. The guide features case studies such as using motor homes for additional sleeping capacity for staff. Even simple solutions, such as using different coloured t-shirts to help staff work in new teams, have been effective.

  1. Evidencing your social value

Public sector contracts now put a stronger focus on the wider, positive impact that your business will provide whilst delivering a contract. If the tender is for work totalling over £180k, the buyer is legally obliged to ask about social value. Suppliers can demonstrate their social value in the form of:

  • Policies and procedures;
  • Spending;
  • Training;
  • Volunteering;
  • Community engagement;
  • Mentoring.

Social value is especially important in care frameworks, due to the sensitive nature of the work. It’s also more likely that your work will benefit the wider community and improve the lives of local people. Can you demonstrate your community engagement?

Emphasising the social value of your service can be key in strengthening your tender and winning the contract. Avoid being vague when you demonstrate the social value of your work. For example, will you improve the local community by employing local staff and ensuring an environmentally friendly workspace? If so, showcase this with specific figures, dates, and tangible objective and targets.

Need support bidding for care frameworks?

It can be difficult to win a place on a care framework. Care work is a particularly sensitive and emotionally challenging industry. Regulation standards are therefore very high and care frameworks have particularly strict evaluation criteria.

You may feel your services are perfect for the requirements of a care framework but fail to secure the work. If this has happened to your company before, you’re not alone. Losing a bid to a supplier with experience that is more specific or niche than yours? That’s a common occurrence due to the stringent criteria of care frameworks.

Our team of bid writers at Hudson Succeed can help you craft care framework tender responses that hit the mark. We can present your company in the best light possible to increase your chances of winning great opportunities. Or, if you’re new to tendering, we can guide you through the NHS tendering process, offering support at each stage.

If you need support to find tendering opportunities, our Healthcare Tenders portal can help. We will make sure you don’t miss out on any current care frameworks that are out to tender.

Below are previous care frameworks sourced on our portal:

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

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

Dec 2020 Re-Opening – Gloucestershire Health and Social Care Pseudo-Framework 2020-2024

Gloucestershire County Council- South West- Budget: Undisclosed

Live at Home Framework

Essex County Council- South East- Budget: £400,000,000

Care at Home: Homecare and Reablement Flexible Framework

The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames- London- Budget: £57,412,490

Domiciliary Care Framework

London Borough of Bromley- London- Budget: Undisclosed

We source healthcare business leads for sub-sectors including:

Domiciliary Care Tenders

Medical PPE

Social Care Contracts

Medical Supplies & Consumables

Mental Health Tenders

Supported living Tenders

Medical Equipment Tenders

Want to receive all care frameworks, direct to your inbox? Book a free live demo with Hudson Discover today.

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