ProCure21 is the procurement method for publicly funded NHS schemes (as opposed to schemes that use private funding, such as PFI and LIFT). As we highlighted in an update last week, ProCure21 will soon be replaced by ProCure21+.
So what is Procure21+ and how will it differ from the existing regime?
The NHS has published three important documents on Procure21+ that, between them, give a clearer picture of Procure21+:
- A draft list of “high level” requirements for bidders.
- A list of frequently asked questions.
- A framework timeline.
Key features of Procure21+ are:
- Timing. The ProCure21+ replaces ProCure 21 on 12 September 2010 and will last for six years. Interested bidders must submit their expressions of interest by 9 July 2009.
- Value. ProCure21+ schemes are expected to range in value from £1m to £80m, with the average being £8m.
- Number of principal supply chain partners (PSCPs). Six to twelve PSCPs will be appointed under the framework. As with ProCure21, single purpose vehicles can bid, provided they satisfy certain requirements regarding their financial stability, resources, authority and accountability.
- Location. A PSCP must demonstrate that it can provide national coverage across England.
- No guarantee of work. Being on the ProCure21+ framework does not guarantee work. However, the NHS considers it “highly improbable that a PSCP could gain no work through the framework.” Unsuccessful bidders will take consolation from the fact that ProCure21+ will not be a mandatory procurement route for NHS clients.
- Forms of contract. ProCure21+ will use the NEC3 suite of contracts. (ProCure21 uses NEC2.)
- Environmental issues. A bidder’s environmental credentials will be considered in the bidding process. For example, bidders will have to demonstrate compliance with environmental legislation, provide “evidence of the successful application of environmental management systems in a construction project environment” and show that they “proactively contribute to the development of sustainable schemes”. Compliance with BREEAM will be a key performance indicator.
ProCure21+ is intended to build on the perceived success of ProCure21. As such, it does not represent a radical departure from the existing framework, although there are some differences. Most importantly, ProCure21+ is a means for construction contractors to secure much-needed public sector work at a time when private projects are scarce and margins are tight. Competition for places on the new framework will no doubt be intense.