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Issue - decisions

Healthwatch Sheffield Procurement

21/10/2016 - Procurement of Healthwatch Sheffield


The Executive Director, Communities submitted a report describing plans for procuring a Healthwatch Sheffield service to operate from 1st April 2017.









Sheffield City Council (SCC) commissions Healthwatch Sheffield core service via formal commercial tender process in the interests of the citizens of Sheffield and to ensure that SCC statutory duties are fulfilled;






the service be known as “Healthwatch Sheffield”;






the new contract is let for a period of 5 years with options to extend for up to 2 further years; and






authority to initiate the tender process and award the contract to the most suitable bidder be delegated to the Director of Commissioning in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care.





Reasons for Decision




During February and March 2016, SCC undertook a soft market test to determine if there were sufficient qualified, able and interested organisations to make a full tender process worthwhile. Five detailed responses were received, four of which were from existing local Healthwatch organisations.  This offers strong evidence of a vibrant provider market and supports the recommendation to go out to the market with a full commercial tender.




Local Authorities must follow a robust selection process to ensure high quality outcomes, accountability and value for money and enter into a commercial agreement with their local Healthwatch. 




Local Authorities are bound by domestic and European legislation as well as the Standing Orders of the Council when it comes to entering into commercial relationships. 




Due diligence in identifying our ongoing partner to deliver Healthwatch Sheffield is of strategic importance and a full commercial tender continues to be the best mechanism to offer the required level of diligence and compliance with Council Standing Orders. 




Alternatives Considered and Rejected




Healthwatch is a statutory provision that SCC has to provide through a third party. The legislation requires SCC to enter into a commercial agreement with a body to provide the service and therefore ‘doing nothing’ and allowing the contracts to expire is not an option.




Other Local Authorities have used different mechanisms to commission their local Healthwatch, for example entering into strategic partnerships or grant funding arrangements.




SCC made the decision to commission Healthwatch Sheffield via an open tender process; the service was let under a commercial contract with clear extension options and contract end date.




The current contract for Healthwatch Sheffield will end at the end of March 2017 and arrangements are required to be made to procure a provider from April 2017.




Due diligence in identifying our ongoing partner to deliver Healthwatch Sheffield continues to be of primary importance.  A full commercial tender, rather than a grant award, is recommended as the best mechanism to ensure the required level of diligence, compliance with Council Standing Orders and avoid challenge.




Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted








Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration








Respective Director Responsible for Implementation




Laraine Manley, Executive Director, Communities




Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In




Healthier Communities and Adult Social Care