Earlier this year, the DoH publications Principles and Rules for Co-operation and Competition and PCT Procurement Guide for Health Services set out the department’s plans to establish a procurement portal for advertising health and social services contracts (which are Part B services for the purposes of the procurement rules). This service will be launched on 1 October 2008 under the name “NHS Supply2Health”.

All NHS commissioners will be required to use NHS Supply2Health from the launch date to:

  • advertise all Part B contract opportunities; and
  • give details of all Part B contracts awarded.

The purpose of the portal is to ensure that advertising is used by commissioners to obtain value for money, even though advertising in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) is not required for services of this nature. It is also intended to make it easier for suppliers to know where to look for NHS opportunities.

In starting to use the new service, commissioners should note the following points:

  • commissioners remain free to place advertisements in other appropriate publications, as long as this is in addition to advertising on NHS Supply2Health;
  • advertisements for Part A services contracts must still be published in the OJEU and not on NHS Supply2Health;
  • where a PCT is jointly commissioning with a local authority, it will only be required to advertise on NHS Supply2Health if the PCT is acting as lead commissioner; and
  • it is very important to be aware that the requirement to publish details of Part B contract awards on NHS Suppy2Health is in addition to the requirement of Regulation 31 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006, which requires commissioners to send a contract award notice to the OJEU for each Part B contract. Placing a contract award notice on NHS Supply2Health does not negate the need to comply with Regulation 31 in order to comply with the procurement rules. Commissioners will therefore need to ensure that contract award notices are submitted both to NHS Supply2Health and the OJEU.

The new portal can be accessed here.