Date received – 24 Dec 2021 – Date responded – 27 Jan 2022
I represent a manufacturer who supplies NHS England & NHS Wales trusts with adult & children's buggies successfully.
We were recently at an association meeting with a couple of suppliers who mentioned the contract being extended again until late 2022.
We spoke with a contact at National Services Scotland late 2019, who informed us that an announcement should be released soon, no communication seems to have been issued.
The last announcement from Garry Brown was 07-04-2015 ocds-r6ebe6-0000312685, we have actively sent emails to Garry but the email address appears to be unreachable.
The original contract was awarded for 3 years and an additional 2-year option, which would have seen the contract expiring March 2020.
Our associate members also mentioned that the contract had previously been extended, again we can't find any announcements on the Public Contract Scotland, or the recent Find A Tender website, relating to this.
Having raised this with our colleagues at PASS, they indicated that official announcements should have been given through the electronic websites, and pointed out that recent announcements appear for 15 voluntary ex ante Transparency (VEAT) Notice & 20 Modification Notice's.
There appears to be some inconsistency & blocking of new manufacturers gaining access to the contracts. Our partner who wishes to remain anonymous at this time is seeking clarification on the situation, before instructing any additional proceedings.
Our partner understands the operating issues brought around by the current pandemic for trusts, but is conscious that no announcement was made when the contract was ending early 2020 prior to the initial lockdown regulations being brought in.
Freedom of Information Reference: FOI-2021-000518 - NP590 15 Supply of Children's Buggies, Adult Children's Wheelchairs
I refer to your freedom of information request which we received on 24 December 2021 requesting the following information.
I can advise you that we have now completed the search of our records and can provide you with the following information:
- Could The Common Services Agency (more commonly known as NHS National Services Scotland) ("NSS") please provide the documentation that informed manufactures of the legal changes being made to the contract NP590/15 Supply of Children's Buggies & Adult and Children's Wheelchairs which expired March 2020, and how these where communicated.
The original term of this contact expired in March 2020. At that time business as usual contract work was interrupted for National Procurement resources to support the Scottish Government’s response to the Covid19 pandemic. The contract was extended with existing framework suppliers from 1st April 2020 to 30th September 2021.
Extension letters were issued to Framework suppliers, see attached below. No VEAT or modification notice was issued at that time.
A further extension was approved from 30 September 2021 to 30 September 2022. Extension letters were issued to Framework suppliers, see attached below. The ongoing pandemic, resource constraints and staff absences resulted in a delay to publishing this contract modification notice and a number of others.
Please see attached:
A new tender for Children's Buggies & Adult and Children's Wheelchairs is planned for issue in the Spring or early Summer 2022, enabling a new contract to be awarded from October 2022. Any supplier is encouraged and invited to participate in the procurement. Notification of the tender will be published on Public Contracts Scotland and Find a Tender Service (FTS).
- Could The Common Services Agency (more commonly known as NHS National Services Scotland) ("NSS") please provide the documentation that covers the internal process for these communication changes, either in an abridged form if document is extensive.
Due to the unprecedented challenges on National Procurement resource due to the pandemic, there were a number of frameworks that needed to be extended under Regulation 72 (1)(b) and (c) of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015. It was during this period we noted that our work instructions did not fully reflect the need to issue a modification notice to that effect to the OJEU (now FTS). We have remedied this and now observe the following updated procedure an excerpt of which is produced as follows:
Extract below from internal work instruction for extending out with contractual term – version available in internal Quality Management System from August 2021.
Please see Appendix 16 - Contract Extension Outside of Advertised Contract Term
It should be noted that the volume of activity and that extensions were already in progress has resulted in the late publishing of notices.
- Could The Common Services Agency (more commonly known as NHS National Services Scotland) ("NSS") please provide the details of any additional contracts that have expired and have not been formally communicated to inform manufactures of missed/delayed opportunities to gain access to these contracts when either a 15 voluntary ex ante Transparency (VEAT) Notice or 20 Modification Notice was not provided. [We represent other manufactures who have also expressed some concern]
All extended contracts have had Reg 72 modifications published. Prior to updated work instruction (Aug 21) there were 13 notices published covering legacy extensions.
Please see Appendix 17 Table 1 2
See table 1 within Appendix 17. Following the updated work instruction 7 modification have been approved and modification notices have been published but after extension award, 2 including VEAT notices. See table 2 within Appendix 17. Reasoning for the delayed modification publication is due to ongoing constraints of the pandemic and has been acknowledged on the published notice.
I trust you will find the information of assistance and if you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact us.
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NHS National Services Scotland
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