All procurement activity throughout the Trust will be conducted under the professional and ethical guidance provided by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply. Public Procurement Regulations will also be adhered to, in conjunction with local Trust Standing Orders and Standing Financial Instructions.
Prior to undertaking any competition, a review of goods or services available through National and Regional Contracts / Framework Agreements should be performed. A Framework Agreement is a centrally pre-tendered list of suppliers who are available for the Trust to contract with, without the need to follow a more strenuous tendering procedure (e.g. OJEU.) The Framework itself is not a contract but the ‘call off’ from the Framework is a contract. Frameworks can be used for services, supplies and works and used in conjunction with the OJEU procedures. and you can often award directly to a supplier as well as run a ‘mini-competition’ between suppliers capable of meeting the Trust’s need.
Evaluation of the range of items held on the NHS Supply Chain catalogue should also be undertaken. Benchmarking price, quality and service of proposed purchases with other Trusts also proves valuable and is supported by the Procurement Department.
Through using the Procurement Department’s contacts in other Trusts, there may be the opportunity for both formal and informal collaboration. For some products and services, combining demand can improve the commercial outcome and ensure better value for the Trust.
Authorisation Levels For Electronic Requisitioning System
All staff authorised to approve the purchase of goods or services, and signing of invoices where appropriate, will be allocated to one of the following six authorisation levels:
Level 1 - Up to and including £500 per total requisition (e.g. nurses, ward assistants, staff with requisitioning responsibility in smaller departments)
Level 2 - £501 - £5,000 per total requisition.
The actual level of authority will depend on the work area and the following are examples: -- - £1,000: requisitioning staff in larger departments
- £2,000: ward sisters
- £3,000: supervisory levels in departments, requisitioners in theatres, staff club manager
- £5,000: catering manager, medical physics manager, deputy head in genetics
Level 3 - £5001 - £15,000 per total requisition.
- £10,000: DSNs, DMs, heads of larger departments
- £15,000: Director of Facilities
Level 4 - Up to £20,000 per total requisition.
: Finance Manager, Financial Controller
Level 5 - Up to £100,000 per total requisition.
: Chief Operating officer, Director of HR, Director of Nursing, Medical Director
Level 6 - Over £100,000 per total requisition.
(but subject to any other limits approved by the Trust Board):
Chief Executive, Director of Finance
Once it is established that specific goods or services cannot be sourced through the above mentioned routes, the Trust should seek to obtain best value for money through competition.
This procedure is conducted in line with the Procurement Strategy, the Trust Procurement Environmental Policy and the Trust Standing Financial Instructions/Standing Orders. The Procurement Department will be happy to lead tendering exercises for you and, in line with the DoH eProcurement Strategy, utilise online tendering portals.
Each tender must have a clear specification or scope and a strong scoring system agreed prior to the issue of documentation. The most economically advantageous tender (MEAT) will be awarded the business, provided that the total amount falls within the agreed budget. This scoring mechanism will be the basis for all debriefs to unsuccessful bidders. Guidance will be given by the Procurement Department in constructing the evaluation criteria, examples of which can be found in the Appendix. Details of operational procedures relating to procurement can be found in the Procurement Manual.
All purchases/contracts which exceed the relevant European financial thresholds (except those where appropriate National Contracts are in place), will be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), through the Procurement Department.
Failure to comply with Trust rules could result in disciplinary action. Failure to comply with EU procurement could result in:
a) The High Court setting aside a contract
b) High Court claims for damages from companies denied the ability to participate in competitive tenders
c) Infringement proceedings in the European Court of Justice
For purchases which fall below the OJEU threshold, potential alternative sources can be found through placing an electronic notice through the Procurement department on to the Government Opportunities website.
Tendering for goods and services
In order to ensure best value for money it is essential that competitive quotations or tenders are obtained. This is the case whether an Item is to go onto the Trust catalogue or not. In determining the number of quotes or tenders to obtain consideration should be given to the likely volume of the goods or services to be required in the year ahead and subsequent years. The following are the quotation and tender requirements based on total life time costs (ie goods + x years maintenance) or total value over contract period:
Up to £2,000 – one quote required
From £2,001 - £3,000 – no less than three quotes
From £3,001 - £20,000 – no less than three written quotes against a formal specification using the Trust Quotation Form
From £20,001 - £50,000 – No less than four formal tenders
Greater than £50,000 – no less than six formal tenders
Over OJEU level will require publication in the Open Journal of the European Union
For more information on the number of firms to invite to tender and tendering limits please see the Trusts Standing Financial Instructions.
3.1 Sourcing Cycle
The procurement process spans a life cycle from identification of need, through the selection of suppliers and providers, to post-contract award management. A typical procurement process is shown below
3.2 Contract Monitoring
Key contracts will be regularly monitored to ensure that the Trust gains full value from the supplier, ensuring that suppliers adhere to agreed policies and performance indicators.
All staff involved with procurement must undertake to comply with the ethical code of purchasing provided by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.
The Trust will endeavour to satisfy itself that all purchases are made from organisations advocating fair trade. It will not support purchases from organisations which exploits labour.
The Trust has an environmental policy and a separate Procurement environmental policy can be found on the intranet. Consideration of the impact of all purchases on the environment will be made in all tenders.
Within each tender the equality impact will be assessed and will form part of the overall scoring as appropriate.
Where appropriate and in accordance with Public Procurement guidelines, the Trust will seek to support the regional economy using local suppliers.
Suppliers wishing to introduce their product range to the Trust must comply with the Trust's policy for Representatives on Site.
Awarding of Contracts
Will be undertaken by the Procurement Department in conjunction with the user department, based on whole life costing, taking full consideration of value for money and the benefits for patient care.
Debriefing of unsuccessful bidders will be led by a representative of the Procurement department, supported by user departments as appropriate.
3.4 Freedom of Information
Public Sector Contracts
When entering into contracts the Trust will refuse to include contractual terms which purport to restrict the disclosure of information held by the Trust and relating to the contract beyond the restrictions permitted by the Act. Unless an exemption provided for under the Act is applicable in relation to any particular information, the Trust will be obliged to disclose that information in response to a request, regardless of the terms of any contract.
When entering into contracts with public or non-public authority contractors, the Trust may be under pressure to accept confidentiality clauses so that information relating to the terms of the contract, its value and performance will be exempt from disclosure. The Trust will reject such clauses wherever possible. Where, under exceptional circumstances, it is necessary to include non-disclosure provisions in a contract, the Trust will agree with the contractor a schedule of the contract which clearly identifies information which should not be disclosed and include provision that The Trust will be responsible for determining in its absolute discretion whether any of the content of the contract is exempt from disclosure in accordance with the provisions of the FOIA.
Any acceptance of such confidentiality provisions must be for good reasons and capable of being justified in the public interest and to The Information Commissioner.
It is for the Trust to disclose information pursuant to the Act, and not the contractor. The Trust will take steps to protect from disclosure by the contractor, information which the authority has provided to the contractor which would clearly be exempt from disclosure under the Act, by appropriate similar contractual terms. In order to avoid unnecessary secrecy, any such constraints will be drawn as narrowly as possible and according to the individual circumstances of the case. Apart from such cases, the Trust will not impose terms of secrecy on contractors.
Accepting Information in Confidence from Third Parties
The Trust will only accept information from third parties in confidence if it is necessary to obtain that information in connection with the exercise of any of the authority's functions and it would not otherwise be provided.
The Trust will not agree to hold information received from third parties ‘in confidence’ which is not confidential in nature. Again, acceptance of any confidentiality provisions must be for good reasons, be in the public interest and be capable of being justified to the Information Commissioner.
Information will be made available upon request within the remit of the prevailing NHS Terms and Conditions of Contract and the guidelines of the Freedom of Information Act.