The Black Country Alliance (BCA)
The Black Country Alliance (BCA) is a procurement collaborative between Sandwell & West Birmingham NHS Trust and The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust with the aim of sharing resources, knowledge and maximising buying power across the group. The BCA also aims to utilise the status of our Trusts as anchor institutions within their regions to improve the opportunity to engage with the NHS for local, SME and diverse suppliers.
BCA organisations have a turnover in excess of £1bn and influenceable non-pay spend in Procurement (not including pharmaceuticals) of over £150m per annum. The BCA operates as one team across both Trusts and is responsible for the following:
- Strategic Procurement - Contract Formulation and Management, Tendering, Supplier Negotiations, Product Standardisation.
- Operational Procurement - Processing of purchase orders in line with Trust Standing Financial Instructions, lower value procurement, customer help desk, management of NHS Supply Chain.
- Receipt & Distribution - Operate a Materials Management service to top departments up to agreed levels, distribution of ad-hoc items.
- Trust Engagement - The team has Clinical Procurement Nurse specialists and operates a Divisional lead approach.
- Improving Sustainability - Through greener procurement and adding social value through and supplier relationship and contract management.
The BCA directly supports these aims through the following activities:
- Delivering cost savings to support financial stability.
- Managing Trust inventory to provide resilience, business continuity and enhance patient safety.
- Promoting good corporate governance.
- Ensuring sustainability and social value are key aspects of procurement activity.
- Working with partners across the ICS and wider to deliver value.
- Working with Finditin the Black Country, Black Country Chamber of Commerce and relevant Anchor networks to promote opportunities for local, SME and diverse businesses.
- Mike Hanson, Director of Procurement – email@example.com
- Paul Mellor, Deputy Director of Procurement – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Clare Nash, Head of Clinical Product Management – email@example.com
- David Lamond, Strategic Procurement Project Manager (including Midland Metropolitan University Hospital) – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jane Ashmore-Hall, Head of Operational Procurement – The Dudley Group – email@example.com
- Andy Brierley, Head of Operational Procurement – Sandwell & West Birmingham – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kirk Johnson, Senior Category Manager (Corporate) – email@example.com
- Claire Parsons, Senior Category Manager (Surgery) – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lorna Caines, Senior Category Manager (Medicine & Community) – email@example.com
Guidance for Suppliers
The BCA is required to advertise business over the value of £25k across the life of a contract.
This is to ensure there is full transparency of opportunities for suppliers to bid for. The relevant levels and portals that business will be advertised on are shown below:
- Over £25k – Contracts Finder portal - Contracts Finder - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Over £139k – Find a Tender portal - Find high value contracts in the public sector - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Some service areas have a higher threshold before they need to be fully advertised, key examples:
- Health & Social Care Services - £664k
- Works contracts - £5.34m
The NHS utilises the Atamis system to support e-tendering, contract and supplier relationship management.
Using the Atamis e-tendering platform will link to the Contract Finder and Find a Tender portals listed above when projects are advertised, however, opportunities will also be shown within Atamis.
Suppliers can register on the Department of Health’s Atamis portal where NHS Trusts can also access supplier financial and other information. It may therefore be beneficial for visibility to register on the Atamis which can be done through this link.
Where new equipment or electrical items are procured the Trust is required to ensure that they meet the appropriate safety standards. As part of this a Pre-Acquisition Questionnaire (PAQ) will be provided to suppliers to completed. It is therefore sensible that this document is reviewed by prospective suppliers to ensure such details are in place for their products.
Where taking products on trial or loan suppliers will also be required to evidence that they are part of the Department of Health & Social Care’s Master Indemnity Agreement (MIA), providing insurance in these circumstances, please see here: Master indemnity agreement: approved suppliers - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
It is sensible for prospective suppliers to ensure engagement with Procurement swiftly should there be contact from the Trust.
NHS Evergreen Framework
The NHS has committed to reaching net-zero for emissions by 2040 for our own activities and 2045 for those of suppliers and partners. As part of this our suppliers have a huge role to play and the NHS Evergreen Framework is being developed to support this process, as well as providing the mechanism for how improvements are measured. It is therefore recommended that suppliers engage with this process as soon as possible here:
From April 2022 all NHS organisations are required to allocate at least 10% of the evaluation criteria for a tender exercise to social value. This covers the below themes which will be considered as they apply to each particular exercise:
- Covid-19 Recovery: Supporting recovery of suppliers and economies.
- Fighting Climate Change: Seeking to minimise any negative environmental impacts of goods and services purchased, across their life cycle from raw material extraction to end of life.
- Ethical Procurement: Managing and monitoring supply chains to ensure that fair contract prices and terms are applied and that ethical, human rights and employment standards are protected and all requirements of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 are met. The BCA will ensure work to ensure that Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 is given full consideration whenever major tenders are let.
- Tackling Economic Inequality: The economic principle relates not only to obtaining value for money from our contracts, across the whole life of the product or service, but also ensuring as far as is possible under relevant procurement law, that local businesses, particularly Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME’s) can benefit from our procurement processes in being able to supply the BCA where it is feasible for them to do so.
- Equal Opportunity: Ensuring that processes adopted by organisations and suppliers are inclusive of disadvantaged groups, supported by fair and equitable standards.
All of the above principles will be objectively measured using an agreed BCA Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) prior to decision making. It is recommended that suppliers consider how the activities they undertake support the above goals and, when bidding for new work, how the contract can be used to improve the above factors specifically for that agreement.
Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA)
The SIA will be used by the Trust when planning new procurement exercises or business cases to ensure that sustainability and social value considerations are considered when planning an exercise. A template SIA form can be found here, showing the areas covered which it would be helpful for prospective suppliers to consider.
Carbon Reduction Plans
The NHS Net Zero Supplier Roadmap sets out the steps suppliers must take to align with the NHS net zero ambition between now and 2030.
The purpose of this document is to provide further details on the implementation of the following two milestones in the roadmap:
- From April 2023, for all contracts above £5 million per annum, the NHS will require suppliers to publish a carbon reduction plan (CRP) for their UK Scope 1 and 2 emissions as a minimum (see table 1 for further details).
- From April 2024, the NHS will extend the requirement for a carbon reduction plan to cover all procurements. Suppliers will be required to publish a CRP for their UK Scope 1 and 2 as a minimum (see table 1 for further details).
A two-year grace period on the 2023 and 2024 CRP requirements will apply to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and voluntary, community and social enterprises (VCSEs). However, SMEs and VCSEs are encouraged to demonstrate climate leadership and meet the requirements before these deadlines.
NHS England’s requirements build upon the principles of the UK central government’s Procurement Policy Note 06/21: Taking account of Carbon Reduction Plans in the procurement of major government contracts (PPN 06/21).
It is therefore recommended that all potential suppliers consider the completion of a Carbon Reduction Plan to ensure compliance with on-going NHS requirements.
Supplier Code of Conduct
It is expected that all suppliers to the Trust comply with the principles of the Trust’s Supplier Code of Conduct >
Under the Modern Slavery Act (2015) all organisations with a turnover in excess of £36m are required to produce an annual Modern Slavery Statement which confirms that the organisation does not condone or use modern slavery and outlines the steps it takes to ensure its supply chain also adheres to this.
The BCA have compliance with the Modern Slavery Act (2015) as a mandatory requirement in all procurement exercises and bids will be excluded where this is not in place.
Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI)
The BCA recognises the difficulties faced by businesses with a diverse background and is committed to promoting, supporting and encouraging EDI in all aspects of procurement.
The BCA has nominated an EDI Champion in order to support our approach to improving consideration of EDI in Procurement - Janice Nelson, Clinical Procurement Specialist Nurse, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of this a number of objectives have been identified to support the BCA in identifying and removing any barriers to working with the NHS for all suppliers.
Recent engagement with suppliers through surveys have identified that 20% do not have an EDI Policy, and more than 50% do not monitor the diversity of staff. It is recommended that prospective suppliers consider these aspects to ensure they are able to bid for future opportunities.
Policies and Procedures
Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for New Product Introduction
In order to ensure that our Trusts operate as safely as possible we have a SOP is in place for the introduction of new / alternative products into the Trust. This means that any new products go through a formal process with approval by a cross-functional group of stakeholders. Due to this it is requested that approaches from suppliers with new product initiatives are directed to Procurement in the first instance using the contact details found under the tab 'BCA Procurement'.
In order to ensure that clinical time is used as effectively as possible it is requested that all potential visits and approaches from suppliers, where not related to on-going contract management, training or requests from the Trust, are directed to Procurement in the first instance.
The Trust uses the Intellicentrics representative management system to ensure that supplier visits are logged and approved. This ensures that the visit is necessary and increases safety for all parties by ensure any visitor complies with the infection prevention and control requirements for the area in question.
To log a visit prior to attending the Trust, please visit Intellicentrics here.
Terms and Conditions of Contract
The NHS uses a standard set of terms and conditions of contract which will make engaging with the NHS a simple, standardised procedure regardless of the Trust in question.
Some of the key documents are included below and it is recommended that suppliers familiarise themselves with these documents.
BCA Pipeline Contracts
The below document shows the current procurement pipeline of contracts held by BCA Trusts, providing detail on the contract, expiry date and other pertinent information.
Should contracts within the pipeline be of interest, the Guidance for Suppliers tab above contains information on where opportunities are likely to advertised, or please feel free to make contact using the details in the Company Overview tab.
The pipeline will be updated monthly to ensure it remains relevant. Please click here.
The Black Country Alliance (BCA) Procurement Team, covering Sandwell & West Birmingham NHS Trust and The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, hosted a Black Country Meet the Buyer event.
The event was held on Black Country Day on 14th July 2022 at The Hawthorns stadium.with the intention of engaging with local businesses as to how they can identify opportunities to do business with the public sector in the Black Country and increasing visibility of spend within the region.
The full capacity event was a great success, being attended by 140 suppliers as well as public sector buyers from the NHS, Councils, Universities and Colleges, in addition to bodies such as HS2 and Mitie.
The format of the event centred around presentations in the morning, led by Mike Hanson – Director of Procurement for the BCA, with the aim of highlighting how local suppliers can identify and bid for opportunities in the area.
The afternoon session then provided workshops on important topics, in addition to the opportunity for suppliers to approach buyers for specific discussions. Feedback from the event was extremely positive.
There are currently no open opportunities linked to this project.