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Hampshire & Isle of Wight Pathology Consortium (HIOW)

Procurement Advisory Services

The Challenge

The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Pathology Consortium was formed from three healthcare trusts to provide a consolidated set of Pathology Services across the region in order to realise upward of 20% of cashable savings from pathology services’ operating costs. This would be achieved through significant operational cost savings and performance improvements, and by the centralisation of laboratory services.

The Consortium recognised that delivering these reforms would be critically reliant on IT, in that it would need:

  • Comprehensive laboratory IT provision across all the Consortium’s member Acute Hospital Trusts; and
  • The laboratory IT to fully integrate with the various IT in wider use within the NHS organisations served by each of the Trusts.

In order to achieve these outcomes, the Consortium sought support in building the strategic investment case for an integrated Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) across the Consortium’s member Trusts. Following this, we provided procurement and Commercial expertise in developing and delivering the procurement project.

Our Approach

The first part was to build an Investment Case through effective market engagement. We were asked to find the answers to a number of key questions:

  • Were there proven solutions that could meet the Consortium’s requirements?
  • Could such solutions be procured and deployed to the project’s challenging time scales?
  • Were the costs justified by the benefits delivered?
  • Would suppliers be able to price offerings in a way that would be affordable, specifically in aligning with the release of cashable savings?

We worked with key Consortium stakeholders to design and implement a Market Sounding process that:

  • Gathered, from suppliers, the breadth and depth of evidence and supporting data needed to inform and support CEO-level decision-making across the Trusts;
  • Engaged the full breadth of the viable supplier base but without wasting the time of suppliers who could not meet the Consortium’s needs;
  • Incorporated both the internal and supplier-facing mechanisms needed to gain open and frank input, without bringing risk to a resultant procurement process;
  • Was based on open and equitable criteria for supplier engagement; and
  • Left the Consortium in a much stronger position to move quickly into procurement, contingent on CEOs deciding to proceed.

Our approach was to support and advise the client, including making use of our extensive expertise and Procurement Toolset in this area. A critical part of the engagement was to ensure that the Consortium retained effective decision making and leadership. For example, whilst we provided the structure and supporting processes for both supplier plenary and one-to-one sessions, all sessions were led by key Consortium stakeholders.

By exploiting our structured Market Sounding methodology, we were able to propose a Capped Price proposition, whereby the maximum cost to the Consortium was fixed at outset, however, any savings would accrue directly, say where a greater proportion of the exercise was carried out in-house.

The second part was to provide Procurement and Commercial Support to the Procurement Project. We were tasked with the following high-level requirements:

  • Prepare the procurement products and deliverables to launch an OJEU Publication using the Restricted procedure;
  • Support and oversee the evaluation of the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ)
  • Develop the Invitation to Tender (ITT) documentation, including design and development of the Evaluation Model and methodology;
  • Develop and provide advice to the Consortium on the proposed Contract;
  • Separate responsibility for the Commercial elements of the Contract, including their subsequent evaluation within the submitted bids;
  • Design, develop and deliver an “Industry Day” for suppliers who qualified into the ITT phase of the competition;
  • Provide ongoing procurement advice through all phases of the procurement project; and
  • Ensure oversight and moderation of the evaluation phase of the procurement project, including the preparation of evaluators and the evaluation environment.

The Results

In terms of supporting the Consortium to build an Investment Case, within 12 weeks of beginning the assignment, the final report was delivered to and agreed by the Consortium. This report confirmed that:

  • There were multiple, viable solutions;
  • These solutions were offered by suppliers active in the marketplace;
  • These suppliers were willing and able to bid through a viable procurement route and were willing to structure charges in a way that addressed Consortium affordability;
  • Delivery time scales achieved for other clients deploying such solutions were within the Consortium’s challenging time scales; and
  • The costs were justifiable within the Consortium’s overall investment case.

Based on background research, the success of the process was illustrated by the fact it gained full and detailed input from all suppliers currently active in the LIMS marketplace in the UK.

For the Procurement and Commercial Support to the Procurement Project, the project was run under the Restricted Procedure and the following phases were successfully completed, including the various deliverables and requirements set out in Our Approach detailed above:

  • Pre-Qualification Questionnaire and Selection;
  • Supplier Industry Day;
  • Visits to exemplar Operational Sites;
  • Invitation to Tender publication, including:
    • The Business, Commercial and Technical Requirements;
    • The Contract;
    • The evaluation model and method;
    • Award Criteria; and
  • Receipt of Tenders.

Following a periodic review by one of the Consortium members, the overall Consortium business case was not seen to offer the level of savings first envisaged and they therefore withdrew from the Consortium and the programme ceased. Clearly, this impacted the procurement project which also stopped, including any involvement we had in it. The completed phases of the procurement project set out above demonstrated that the project was still viable in terms of solutions available and that suppliers were willing to bid through a viable procurement route and to structure their charges in a way that addresses Consortium affordability.

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As with many organisations, we are adapting to working under difficult circumstances and working hard to continue supporting our customers.

Visit our Covid-19 Page to find out more about what we are doing and how we can help you to prepare for the ‘new normal’.

As with many organisations, we are adapting to working under difficult circumstances and working hard to continue supporting our customers.

Visit our Covid-19 Page to find out more about what we are doing and how we can help you to prepare for the ‘new normal’.