NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) has re-launched its Legal Services Framework, which is expected to save the public sector around half a million pounds in the next four years.
Enabling organisations in both the NHS and wider public sector to access legal services in areas such as contract and commercial law, NHS governance and public law and employment law, the free-to-access Framework provides a fully compliant route for public sector purchasing and legal teams to access both generalist and specialist legal support.
New for 2018 and beyond is Lot 11, which focuses on firms capable of providing multi-disciplinary project support for briefs that are likely to have requirements in many different legal areas, such as major capital projects. There is also an increase in the number of firms capable of providing support in the area of IT and data, recognition of the drive towards digitalisation in the NHS and wider public sector.
With 11 different Lots, the Framework includes more than 25 suppliers, ranging from large national firms to more niche specialists.
Designed to provide the flexibility that public sector procurement managers need, the Framework allows organisations to award contracts directly or hold a mini competition, with organisations entitled to an initial free of charge consultation of up to 45 minutes ahead of formal instruction. Legal support can be provided via the Framework on an ad hoc, project or ongoing basis.
For organisations using the Framework, NHS SBS procurement specialists also provide guidance in areas such as drafting Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and contracts.
In order to maximise value for NHS trusts and other public sector organisations, value-for-money tariffs were ensured at the time of the initial competition for hourly and blended rates. Volume discounts are also available based on annual fees and aggregated annual spend.
Suppliers have also gone through a rigorous assessment process in which experience, expertise, quality assurance, capacity for innovation and financial information were all scrutinised before appointment to the Framework.
To support the NHS and wider public sector organisations using the Legal Services Framework, NHS SBS will also be running a number of free seminars on current legal issues, such as the newly-introduced General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), with the first event likely to be held in the autumn.
Phil Davies, NHS SBS Procurement Director, said: “Our Legal Services Framework will enable procurement teams across the NHS and public sector to quickly access legal expertise in a fully OJEU-compliant, hassle-free way.
“With the legal landscape always changing, we’ve listened to our partner organisations and ensured the Framework incorporates the specialisms they are most likely to need in the coming years – such as IT and data experts. It ensures that there are a range of supplier types, from the big legal firms with an office in every major city, to smaller companies with very specific expertise.
“Ensuring value for money without compromising on quality is a must for all public sector organisations, so we’ve also thoroughly assessed all firms on the Framework, with only the most robust, with the best credentials, winning a place.
“The Framework will allow our NHS and public sector partners to get it right first time when appointing legal services, something that can only be good news for stretched NHS and public sector budgets.”
(Source: NHS SBS)