A greener NHS: achieving the NHS’s net- zero targets and its wider social value priorities

NHS England has published new guidance setting out how the procurement of NHS goods and services can play its part in achieving these policy objectives.

From 1 April 2022 Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 06/20 on the social value model and net zero emissions will extend to the commissioning and purchase of goods and services by NHS organisations, as well as organisations acting on behalf of such commissioners and purchasers (in scope organisations).

This latest guidance builds upon PPN 06/20 which was adopted by the NHS and applied since 1 April 2021. It provides a set of NHS specific examples which all in scope organisations will find helpful when applying PPN 06/20.

NHS England recognises that NHS procurement has a role to play in achieving its 2045 net zero commitment, as more than 60% of NHS carbon emissions occur in the supply chain.

Incorporating social value in the procurement process will work towards helping to reduce health inequalities and drive better environmental performance, supporting the NHS policy commitments made in the 2019 Long Term Plan and the 2020 Delivering a net zero NHS report.

The new guidance covers a range of issues that NHS England summarise as follows:

  • Selecting the social value themes: at the earliest opportunity, the relevant themes of the Social Value Model should be selected, with the ‘Fighting Climate Change’ theme to be included in all tenders – referred to at section 1.
  • Determining net zero and social value weighting at or above the 10% minimum: an appropriate weighting for net zero and social value should, where appropriate, be added to the evaluation criteria – referred to at section 2.
  • Adding net zero and social value questions to the tender: appropriate tender questions should be created – examples available in section 3.
  • Evaluating tender response: responses deliver additional benefit to existing supplier activity – referred to at section 4.
  • Effective contract management: contract key performance indicators are critical to ensure additional benefit to the NHS is delivered – examples available in section 3.

The guidance has been created in collaboration with over 90 procurement professionals from NHS trusts and is a key output from the Social Value Health Module Workshops. It provides a step-by-step process to apply the Social Value Model to each trust’s procurement, helping to unlock the health and environmental related social value.

Looking ahead, the guidance references the changes coming down the track in the Health and Care Bill which will take the commissioning of healthcare services outside of the scope of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, and provide a new set of rules specifically for procuring healthcare services. These new rules, known as the NHS Provider Selection Regime, will in some cases enable services to be contracted without competitive tender exercises.

At the time the NHS PSR comes into force this guidance note will be updated to include details of how NHS England’s commitments on net zero and social value should be dealt with when commissioning healthcare services.

These latest changes support existing policy and initiatives being carried out by the wider NHS on issues of sustainability and ESG. For further information on procurement, head to our procurement portal where you can find out the latest on procurement law reform here.

 

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