Clarity for NHS Led Provider Collaboratives working in ‘shadow form’

New guidance issued for NHS Led Provider Collaboratives working through a shadowing period before ‘going live’.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have issued new guidance for NHS Led Provider Collaboratives who have chosen to have a shadowing period, or work in ‘shadow form’, prior to ‘going live’. NHSEI recognise the need for clarity, and have issued guidance on definitions and guiding principles for those Provider Collaboratives.

Key definitions and principles

An NHS Led Provider Collaborative is ‘live’ when the NHSEI regional team and the NHS Lead Provider sign the Lead Provider contract.  This contract captures the roles and responsibilities assumed by the Lead Provider on behalf of the Provider Collaborative.

‘Shadow form’ is defined as the lead-in process before the Lead Provider formally accepts that responsibility.  During ‘shadow form’, the Lead Provider will lead certain tasks and responsibilities on behalf of the NHSEI regional team, with regional support available. This will enable the Lead Provider to prepare fully for its forthcoming responsibilities. These shadowing tasks may include:

  • Managing contracting meetings;
  • Leading contract negotiations;
  • Working at Level 2 of the Quality Maturity Framework;
  • Leading procurement on behalf of the NHSEI regional team;
  • Pathway management; and
  • Lead data returns and reporting on behalf of the Collaborative.

The guidance recognises that, prior to a Collaborative ‘going live’, further work may be needed to achieve the full requirements of a Provider Collaborative. The mechanisms to account for this include the Quality Maturity Framework, a three month long-stop for signing sub-contracts, and service development and improvement plans with the Lead Provider Contract.   

Whilst shadowing cannot occur once a Provider Collaborative has ‘gone live’, this does not prevent certain responsibilities being transitioned over a specified time-frame. This includes progression through the Quality Maturity Framework. Nor does it prevent the Regional Specialised Commissioning Team colleagues from providing ongoing support, mentorship and guidance to the Lead Provider when the Provider Collaborative is live.

Rhian Vandrill, and Charlotte Lewis, are working with a number of NHS Led Provider Collaboratives in England. Rhian and Charlotte worked with the East Midlands Provider Collaborative, known as IMPACT, to enable Adult Secure Care services to be delivered via a partnership model using an agreement and a series of prime and sub-contracts between the lead NHS provider and the remaining NHS and independent sector providers.

For more information on developing NHS-led Lead Provider Collaboratives, you can read the team’s useful FAQs.

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