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As demand increases and pressure to deliver more for less continues to grow in the NHS and wider public sector, Peter Akid, director of Procurement at NHS Shared Business Services, describes how the newly-launched Hard Facilities Management (FM) framework provides value-for-money and legally-compliant access to a huge range of essential goods and services
Over the next four years – the length of the framework agreement – around £100 million of public sector spend is expected to go through our new Hard FM framework. And with the organisations that purchase via NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) frameworks expecting to save a minimum of five per cent, compared with buying direct from a supplier, the potential cost saving to the public sector stands at over £5 million.
The latest framework agreement adds to our comprehensive estates and facilities portfolio, which also includes Modular Buildings, Construction Consultancy Services and Soft Facilities Management. It means that the majority of goods and services within the estates and facilities field, which NHS and other public bodies need to function safely and efficiently, and, in an increasing number of cases, to expand to meet growing demand, are available to buy via these carefully-negotiated and free to access agreements.
Hard Facilities Management framework
The Hard Facilities Management framework was introduced to provide hospitals, GP practices, schools and local authorities – and any other public body for that matter – with a quick, easy and legally-compliant route to market for Hard FM service lines. It includes 85 different suppliers across 45 different lots, covering everything from building management systems and removal services; to fire safety equipment and training; electrical sundries and components, to catering equipment maintenance.
Within each lot there is also a broad range of specialised services. For instance, if an NHS trust is moving to a new hospital site, suppliers providing ‘removal services’ can offer support around the removal of office furniture and equipment, transporting expensive and unwieldy medical equipment, any storage issues, and the full project management around such a move. The framework also provides the scope for organisations to procure the more every day services they need to operate. High quality providers of roofing and guttering, ventilation and air conditioning, painting and decorating, and flooring and plumbing, are all included within the framework.
Like with all of the frameworks managed by NHS SBS, this one was launched following a robust procurement process, which included upfront financial checks and evaluation of quality assurance. Crucially for many of the public sector organisations across the country that will use it, the negotiated contracts are OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) compliant. This gives public sector organisations the confidence that they are not only purchasing in a way that saves them time and money, but at the same time guarantees their compliance with complex UK and EU procurement legislation.
It also means that framework users have the flexibility to either purchase directly from a listed supplier, or run mini-tenders as per their individual requirements, whilst there is even the option for a fully managed service, where one provider is awarded to perform all services across the scope of the framework agreement. Elsewhere, measured term contracts can also be put in place via the framework for the maintenance of building, electrical, mechanical, and painting and decorating. A good mix of large national providers and regional SMEs on the framework, meanwhile, ensures it is reactive to local needs.
In total, NHS SBS manages over 100 framework agreements that cover a huge range of products and services used by the NHS and wider public sector. Like the Hard FM framework, they are available quickly through contracts with NHS terms and conditions, which achieve economies of scale cost savings without compromising on quality.
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