Monitor has just released two draft guidance documents about the NHS (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013, in force since 1 April.

A central provision of these Regulations is the requirement for a commissioner to formally tender for healthcare services unless it is satisfied that the services are capable of being provided only by one provider. Since commissioners have limited budgets and capacity to run procurements, they need practical advice about when they must procure, and what circumstances could permit them to roll over existing, satisfactory contracts.

There is a two-month consultation on the draft guidance documents. One guidance note deals with compliance. The consultation questions focus very specifically on making sure that the examples cited in the guidance are relevant and clear. To aid interpretation, Monitor has additionally published six example scenarios that work through the issues to be considered by commissioners. Although commissioners and providers cannot influence the substance of the legislation, the consultation enables them to make sure that the guidance is comprehensive and robust.

A second guidance covers enforcement by Monitor - when it will decide to take action in response to breaches of the Regulations, what measures it is likely to take, and how it will go about the enforcement process. The consultation questions for this guidance are fairly broad and could influence how enforcement is handled.