Services - 333759-2020

15/07/2020    S135

United Kingdom-Belfast: Health and social work services

2020/S 135-333759

Voluntary ex ante transparency notice


Legal Basis:
Directive 2014/24/EU

Section I: Contracting authority/entity

I.1)Name and addresses
Official name: Department for Communities formerly the Department for Social Development DSD
Postal address: Causeway Exchange, 1-7 Bedford Street
Town: Belfast
Postal code: BT2 7EG
Country: United Kingdom

Internet address(es):

Main address:

Address of the buyer profile:

I.4)Type of the contracting authority
Body governed by public law
I.5)Main activity

Section II: Object

II.1)Scope of the procurement

DSD Medical Support Services

Reference number: Project 71
II.1.2)Main CPV code
85000000 Health and social work services
II.1.3)Type of contract
II.1.4)Short description:

DfC is placing this voluntary transparency notice to alert economic operators of its intention to modify the Medical Support Services Contract with the incumbent supplier in accordance with Regulation 72(1)(c). The Contract Variation shall provide for an extension of up to two (2) years 01 August 2021 — 31 July 2023. This transparency notice does not place any obligation on the authority to enter into this modification.

II.1.6)Information about lots
This contract is divided into lots: no
II.1.7)Total value of the procurement (excluding VAT)
Value excluding VAT: 82 250 208.00 GBP
II.2.2)Additional CPV code(s)
72000000 IT services: consulting, software development, Internet and support
75000000 Administration, defence and social security services
75313000 Disability benefits
75313100 Temporary disablement benefits
75311000 Sickness benefits
II.2.3)Place of performance
II.2.4)Description of the procurement:

Continuation of the provision of work capability assessment services in Northern Ireland.

For full details of the nature of the services please see OJEU 2007/S 063-077231.

II.2.5)Award criteria
Quality criterion - Name: Medical personnel / Weighting: 15
Quality criterion - Name: Service quality / Weighting: 25
Quality criterion - Name: Transition and service / Weighting: 10
Quality criterion - Name: IS/IT solutions / Weighting: 10
Quality criterion - Name: Legal and contractual / Weighting: 10
Quality criterion - Name: Properties / Weighting: 5
Cost criterion - Name: Financial / Weighting: 25
II.2.11)Information about options
Options: no
II.2.13)Information about European Union funds
The procurement is related to a project and/or programme financed by European Union funds: no
II.2.14)Additional information

Section IV: Procedure

IV.1.1)Type of procedure
Award of a contract without prior publication of a call for competition in the Official Journal of the European Union in the cases listed below
  • The procurement falls outside the scope of application of the directive

On 5 March 2020, DWP published a PIN signalling its intent to re-procure its Health and Disability Assessment Services contract for the provision of Work Capability Assessment services in England, Scotland and Wales. The Department for Communities agreed to join the procurement with Northern Ireland constituting a separate Lot. The re-procurement of the HDAS Contract was in accordance with Section 7 of the PCR 2015. However, the Covid-19 pandemic began impacting on the UK, in particular for the Department, impacting both the delivery of health assessment services, and the planned launch of the procurement. The continuation of the provision of services under the current contract over a period of 2 years has become necessary.

Regulation 72(1)(c) PCR allows:

(i) The need for modification has been brought about by circumstances which a “diligent contracting authority” could not have foreseen. Covid-19 is a unique event whose impact could not have been foreseen; and

(ii) The modification does not alter the overall nature of the contract; The services to be provided by the incumbent will remain consistent and there will be no alteration to the overall nature of the Contract, and.

(iii) The modification does not exceed 50 % of the original contract value.

The price to be paid for the extended period of the Contract does not exceed 50 % of the original value of the Contract, (iv) DfC will publish a Modification Notice pursuant to Regulation 72(3) of PCR. Please see Section VI.3 below for additional information.

IV.1.3)Information about framework agreement
IV.1.8)Information about the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA)
The procurement is covered by the Government Procurement Agreement: yes
IV.2)Administrative information
IV.2.1)Previous publication concerning this procedure
Notice number in the OJ S: 2007/S 063-077231

Section V: Award of contract/concession

Contract No: Project 71

DSD Medical Support Services

V.2)Award of contract/concession
V.2.1)Date of contract award decision:
V.2.2)Information about tenders
The contract has been awarded to a group of economic operators: no
V.2.3)Name and address of the contractor/concessionaire
Official name: Atos Origin IT Services Ltd
Town: London
Country: United Kingdom
The contractor/concessionaire will be an SME: no
V.2.4)Information on value of the contract/lot/concession (excluding VAT)
Total value of the contract/lot/concession: 18 400 201.00 GBP
V.2.5)Information about subcontracting

Section VI: Complementary information

VI.3)Additional information:

The impact of Covid-19 on health assessment services has been, and continues to be significant. DfC has had to act quickly to implement a number of changes to service delivery, both to ensure the health and wellbeing of the public, its own employees and health assessment provider staff, and in response to the effect of the pandemic on the capacity of DfC and its assessment provider to deliver health assessment services. These changes include the temporary suspension of face to face assessments, and the introduction of telephony based assessments. The changes implemented to date, and the unknown impact of future waves of the pandemic on service delivery, are challenges to DfC’s efforts to stabilise the service in advance of any procurement. Given that Work Capability Assessments (WCA) undertaken as part of the Contract Services support critical statutory welfare benefits catering for vulnerable people, a gap in service provision is not an option. DfC has therefore concluded that extending the existing MSS Contract for up to 2 years is the best option for:

(i) stabilising Work Capability Assessment services,

(ii) ensuring a continuous service for these complex and vitally important services, which support delivery of statutory welfare benefits to vulnerable claimants each year and

(iii) allowing DfC to fully understand and evaluate the impacts of Covid-19 ahead of any future procurements or decisions on service delivery.

DfC will continue to implement steps to secure further efficiencies and service improvements in the way that the existing Contract is currently delivered and in particular throughout the extension period and will monitor performance in order to demonstrate value for money. DfC, partnering with DWP, intends to continue engaging with the market to discuss the future transition of Work Capability Assessment services and the future of health assessments more broadly. DfC will build in periodic reviews (4-6 monthly) to identify whether longer or shorter extensions than 24 months are needed.

VI.4)Procedures for review
VI.4.1)Review body
Official name: The UK does not have any such bodies with responsibility for appeal/mediation procedures.
Town: Belfast
Country: United Kingdom
VI.4.2)Body responsible for mediation procedures
VI.4.3)Review procedure
Precise information on deadline(s) for review procedures:

The Public Contract Regulations 2015 provide for aggrieved parties who have been harmed or are at risk of harm by a breach of the rules to take action in the High Court (England, Wales and Northern Ireland). The authority has incorporated a standstill period before this contract is awarded.

VI.4.4)Service from which information about the review procedure may be obtained
VI.5)Date of dispatch of this notice: