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United Kingdom-Leeds: Health services
Voluntary ex ante transparency notice
Section I: Contracting authority/entity
Section II: Object
NHS England ICF Framework — NHS Increasing Capacity Framework Reference number:41574
The National Health Service Commissioning Board (which uses the operational name ‘NHS England’) has established a framework for clinical services titled Increasing Capacity Framework (ICF) under the light touch regime, and has entered into a framework agreement with each provider appointed to the ICF.
NHS England intends to enter into a variation of each framework agreement to introduce a quarterly process through which each provider may request changes to the services that they offer to customers under its framework agreement and the sites at which services may be provided under that framework agreement.
The National Health Service Commissioning Board (which uses the operational name ‘NHS England’) has established a framework for clinical services titled Increasing Capacity Framework Agreement (ICF) under the light touch regime.
NHS England has previously issued contract notice 2020/S 202 492264 advertising the procurement of the framework and issued contract award notices 2021/S 028 070725 and 2021/S 074 190543 including providers that have been appointed to the framework.
This VEAT notice is being issued to advertise NHSE’s introduction of a more detailed change control process through which providers may request changes to the services (procedures) that they offer to customers under the framework and the sites at which services may be provided under the framework.
When the framework was procured, providers were provided with a long list of services and asked to indicate which services they would be able to provide from go-live date. They were also asked to state at which sites services could be provided.
The proposed variation sets out the process through which providers are permitted to request, on a quarterly basis:
(i) that they be permitted to offer additional services to customers via the framework; and/or
(ii) that they be permitted to offer to provide services at additional sites.
The process includes the timetable for submission by providers, templates and method for submission of requests and, where accepted, publication of changes.
NHS England will apply the evaluation process set out in initial procurement documents to any request submitted via the new change control mechanism. The provider must continue to meet the minimum requirements included in the initial procurement documents in respect of any change submitted for approval via the new process.
Section IV: Procedure
NHS England previously procured the Increasing Capacity Framework (the ICF) (contract notice 2020/S 202 492264 and contract award notices 2021/S 028 070725 and 2021/S 074 190543). NHS England is intending to modify the framework agreements entered into under the ICF to include the process through which providers may request
(i) additions to the services they supply under their framework agreement; and/or
(ii) the inclusion of additional sites at which the provider is permitted to offer services.
NHS England has concluded that the proposed framework variation falls outside the scope of application of the directive as the modification will introduce the processed change control mechanism which is not a substantial change to the ICF (as defined in Article 72(1)(e)).
The original procurement documents did envisage that existing providers would be permitted to increase the scope of the services that they offered under the ICF provided such additional services were within the scope of the ICF services. Existing providers will be permitted to request changes via the process on a quarterly basis as per the mechanism. The proposed variation sets out the process through which such changes to services may be requested, considered and approved or rejected, as appropriate, by NHS England.
It is NHS England’s view that the proposed variation does not change the scope of the original framework agreements considerably, alter the economic balance of the framework agreements or materially change the character of the framework agreements. In addition, it would not have attracted additional participants or allowed for acceptance of a tender other than originally accepted or admission of candidates other than those selected.
The volume and type of in-scope services selected by providers as part of their bids were not evaluated and the original procurement documents did envisage that provider would be permitted to offer additional services provided such services were within the scope of the ICF. The proposed variation to framework agreements is not intended to replace the refresh process suggested as a possibility in the original procurement documents. The authority still reserves the right to undertake a refresh process as advertised in the original procurement documents through which (inter alia) additional providers may apply to provide services under the ICF.
Providers will not be permitted to offer additional services which go beyond of the scope of services covered by the original ICF or which alter the overall nature of the ICF.
The original procurement documents did state that providers could offer services at additional sites but that the addition of such sites would not be automatic and would be subject to an approval process. The proposed framework agreement variation will include the formal process through which providers may request and record such site changes.
Section V: Award of contract/concession
NHS England ICF Framework Agreement
Section VI: Complementary information
The award of the framework agreement is on behalf of the National Health Service, namely NHS England, all Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS Trusts, NHS Foundation Trusts and each of their successor bodies. A list of organisations that can draw down the services can be found at:
As this was a procurement process for healthcare services, NHS England and the contracting authorities using the framework are only bound by the parts of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 that specifically apply to social and other specific services.