The Health Service Journal reveals that a Freedom of Information request to CCGs on tendering community services contracts has shown that, out of 195 who replied, 72 holding such contracts said they had no plans to retender them. These contracts are estimated at £2.3 billion annually, while seven CCGs have already retendered contracts worth around £156 million in total and 39 plan to do so with contracts worth £998 million by 2017.
The decision not to retender could cause legal ramifications, as, under Section 75 rules of the Health and Social Care Act, commissioners have to award service contracts through an open competition, unless they can show that the current situation was the “best possible for patients”, a provision that can open the door for challenging decisions in courts. Some CCGs include acute services in their contracts, which could make their decision not to tender more easily defensible, as they can claim that having a unified provision of these services is to the best interest of patients.
Elias from PSI: It would be really interesting to follow the outcome of the decision not to tender community services for any independent provider activity. As the Section 75 provisions are still settling in, CCGs are often navigating uncharted territory, with possible reaction by providers not easy to predict.