NHS ProCure 21+ is a six-year framework programme being run by the UK Department of Health to procure publicly funded capital schemes for England's National Health Service (NHS). Its predecessor, ProCure 21, successfully delivered over 420 community hospitals, primary care centres, mental health units and other acute services such as cardiac care and out-patient units.
Each project is undertaken by one of a framework of principal supply chain partners, engaged by the relevant NHS trust under an NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) option C (target contract with activity schedule). Each partner has a series of specialist primary supply chain members that form an integrated team. The framework enables rapid mobilisation of projects and the long-term relationships and ECC's partnering approach provide increased certainty of time, cost and quality.
Under Procure 21, which was based on NEC2 ECC, over 90% of schemes were delivered to time and budget and client satisfaction remained high. And although voluntary, the previous framework became the most popular procurement route for NHS capital schemes, with a total programme value of £4.3 billion.
ECC: quicker and cheaper
As Procure 21 reached the end of its seven-year programme in summer 2010, the Department of Health announced it had adopted the NEC3 ECC as the basis of its new streamlined procurement framework. ProCure21+, which started in October 2010, is expected to save the NHS a further £200 million in procurement costs and enable hospitals to be upgraded more quickly.
New Framework Head Peter Sellars said, "ProCure21+ is designed to streamline the procurement process by cutting bureaucratic red tape and allowing NHS organisations to concentrate on delivering patient care and improving outcomes." According to Sellars, "ECC was mandated in the framework due to its focus on sound project management and established track record in promoting best practice. The contract provides greater certainty and less risk to ensure quicker and more cost-effective hospital construction and refurbishment."
Cutting procurement by six months
The new framework is designed to enable NHS trusts to select a framework contractor and start work on projects in 36 weeks, saving at least six months in procurement time. A total of six contractors have been approved for the new framework. These are Balfour Beatty Group Limited, Healthcare Partnership Solutions Ltd, Integrated Health Projects, Interserve Project Services Limited, Kier Regional Ltd and Willmott Dixon Holdings Ltd.
Benefits of using NEC
- Focuses on sound project management and has established track record in promoting best practice.
- Provides greater certainty and less risk to ensure quicker and more cost-effective hospital construction and refurbishment.
- Encourages parties to allocate risks effectively and creates a working relationship which provide value for money and a successful outcome.