Readers may be aware that CCGs, as statutory public bodies, will be subject to public procurement law when commissioning services. Clinical services fall into a category known as Part B services, which means that although not all of the formal legal rules apply to them, some procurement rules and principles do apply.
Commissioners need to be aware that the financial threshold for the application of procurement law to clinical services is changing from 1 January 2012. Currently, a clinical services contract is subject to Part B procurement rules if its value exceeds £156,442. From 1 January 2012, the Part B procurement rules will apply to clinical services contracts with a value of at least £173,934.
The procurement rules, as they apply to Part B services, require commissioners to act transparently and treat all providers equally and in a non-discriminatory way. Although there is no strict requirement to run a full tender process, this may be appropriate in line with procurement law and NHS procurement policy.
Our FAQs provide more information on the application of procurement law and NHS procurement policy generally.