NHS England won this year’s NEC Client of the Year Award for its 2022–2026 NEC4-based ProCure 23 capital healthcare projects procurement framework. The award recognises an outstanding organisation that embodies the spirit of NEC, and it is particularly noteworthy to witness a public sector entity achieving this recognition.
ProCure 23 is the fourth generation of the 21-year-old framework, which since it started in 2002 has collaboratively delivered over £13 billion of construction projects using NEC contracts. The latest version is being run on behalf of NHS England by Crown Commercial Service (CCS), the UK’s biggest public procurement association, as a modified version of CCS’ construction works and associated services agreement. The aim is to further streamline procurement with an even greater emphasis on collaboration.
Launched in March 2022 with 23 contractors and their supply chains, ProCure 23 has already been selected by NHS Trusts for 53 procurements across England worth a total of £2.07 billion. These range from community hospitals to primary care centres, mental health units and other acute services such as cardiac care and out patient units.
Contractors are engaged on either an NEC4 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) Option A (priced contract with activity schedule) or NEC4 ECC Option C (target contract with activity schedule). This is a departure from previous iterations of the framework, under which all works were procured using just Option C.
Following NEC ethos
ProCure23 follows the ethos of NEC by ensuring the required ‘mutual trust and co-operation’ by all parties is embedded throughout. It promotes transparency and collaboration among stakeholders, such as healthcare providers, contractors and designers, to ensure efficient project delivery, and effectively implements option X22 on early contractor involvement.
The framework focuses on value for money, quality and patient-centred care. ProCure23 aims to facilitate the timely and successful delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects across the NHS by standardising procurement processes and emphasising partnership working, facilitated by use of NEC.
The recent NEC award reflects the dedication and commitment to excellence that the Procure23 team has consistently demonstrated in the realm of procurement and construction management. A key criterion for the award, one that NHS England excels in, is collaboration, fostering partnerships with contractors, consultants and stakeholders that are built on trust and mutual respect. ProCure23 and CCS’s ability to bring diverse teams together and create an environment where ideas flow freely is built on NEC’s core principles.
NHS England’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility was another standout feature that led to the award. It recognises that infrastructure projects have a lasting impact on the environment and has taken proactive steps to minimise greenhouse gas emissions. With the use of sustainable materials, energy-efficient design and responsible construction practices, NHS England is leading the way in creating a more sustainable future.
A new benchmark
ProCure23 sets a new benchmark for all NEC users on how effective use of NEC contracts can, firstly, enable successful collaborative procurement and, secondly, create an environment to innovate and thrive in delivering projects, enabling social value and supporting the environment.