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Allied Health Professionals and Health Science Services Staff

Contract ID: CM/AST/08/4966

Start Date: 24/04/2009

End Date: 30/06/2014



Please note this framework has expired and as such no new bookings can be made from it. There will be Service Level Agreements in place however, let before the expiry, which will continue in force for the specified period, under the terms of the Framework with related charge rates

Any new business should be sourced using the new Framework, RM 959, which came into operation on 1st April 2014

For information and appropriate action: NHS Employers have provided an update regarding required health screening - click here to find out more.

This framework provides access to Allied Health Professionals (AHP) and Health Science Services (HSS) staff across two lots:

  • Lot 1: Allied Health Professionals includes but is not limited to:

Arts Therapy; Chaplaincy; Clinical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy; Diagnostic & Therapeutic Radiography; Dietetics; Generic Therapy; Health Promotion; Orthoptists; Occupational Therapy; Physiotherapy; Play Specialists; Podiatry; Public Health – Health improvement; Sexual Health and Speech and Language Therapy.

  • Lot 2: Health Science Services includes but is not limited to:

Anatomical Pathology; Biomedical Science; Cancer Screening; Clinical Sciences; Cytology; Dental Services; Genetic Counsellors; Healthcare Science; Medical Technology; Optometry and Pharmacy.

The framework uses a national set of terms and conditions of contract and was awarded on a national basis.  It is available to for use by the NHS and wider public sector bodies throughout England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

It has a transparent contract pricing mechanism and allows you to realise efficiency savings through negotiating service level agreements and benefiting from additional discounts for volume business agreed with the appointed agencies.


  • Mitigation of risks through the use of vetted agencies, which will provide temporary workers that have been vetted and audited.
  • Legal protection from equitable contract clauses covering such matters as placement fees, insurances and professional conduct and relevant legislation.
  • Competitive rates and a range of further discounts obtained from suppliers using the collective bargaining power of NHS.
  • Ability to achieve savings via a range of discounts available including Volume base level, e-invoicing and length of placement discounts
  • Flexibility of new framework agreements which allows for a rate escalation procedure, high cost area pay arrangements along with specialist skill set rate adjustments.
  • Strategic management of the supplier market, utilising providers who have sufficient insurance and liability cover.
  • Contractual obligations for suppliers to provide clear and transparent timesheets and invoices, along with beneficial payment terms.
  • The ability to tailor the agreement with suppliers to meet local requirements via service level agreements.
  • Legally compliant framework developed under the guidance of EU public procurement regulations, which eliminates the need for organisations to individually undertake their own procurement exercise.
  • Choice of 50 suppliers offering a range of temporary AHP and HSS workers.
  • Streamlined pricing arrangement that reflect the Agenda for Change pay structures - provides pricing for job bands on a minimum, medium, and maximum basis.
  • NHS specific conditions of contract.
  • Ready to use agreement with no need for separate tender exercise.
  • Access to pricing and management information reporting data in one location via Agency Information Management System (AIMS).
  • Minimise the risk to patients through maintaining and improving quality standards for allied health professional and health science service temporary worker provision.

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Routes to supply

Individual trusts

As an individual trust, there are multiple routes to access supply through the framework -

You can make bookings on an ad hoc basis to fulfil requirements, contacting as many agencies as required to check availability and book workers.

It may be practical to develop a prioritisation list of suppliers to call, based on a supplier short listing that has been established through a selection process.

There is also the opportunity to commit to using one or more agencies to supply, usually through a service level agreement (SLA). This provides the potential to agree specific discounts for your trust.

The CPO in your region may be able to facilitate a wider agency selection process. The CPO may also be able to consolidate your potential spend with that of other NHS trusts to gain access to higher volume of business levels (VBL) discounts.

Consortium of trusts

Alongside accessing the agreement on an individual trust basis, there is the potential to engage with other neighbouring NHS trusts, and approach suppliers with the aggregated volume of business. This should maximise the discount achievable through the consolidation of spend for specialist skills.

Collaborative procurement organisations (CPOs)

In the changing NHS purchasing environment it is critical that we plan and work to retain the support of the CPOs. All CPOs are represented on the project stakeholder group and we will continue to build working relationships with category managers in the new CPOs as these emerge.

We have retained the successful model of allowing enhancement of the template SLA with permitted content, through local agreement to meet specific local requirements. The category team offer support and work with organisations at a local level during implementation of the new agreement. It is expected that the CPOs will involve their stakeholders for comments and feed back as appropriately required.

Non NHS bodies

The options for other authorities outside of the NHS are very similar to individual trusts. There is the potential to use the framework on an ad hoc basis, develop a prioritisation list of suppliers to call, based on a supplier short listing or commitment to using one or more agencies to supply, through a SLA.

Demand management

For all of the routes to market, it is recommended that where possible customers support suppliers by utilising effective forward planning methods to ensure the best possibility of temporary agency worker coverage. The associated benefits of this shared approach are included within the implementation pack which can be found in the documents section.

Service level agreement

A SLA provides a formal method of capturing benefits at a local level, as well as providing an opportunity to agree additional areas of local trust/supplier performance which are permissible within the terms and conditions.

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Benefit methodology

The purpose is to illustrate changes to the average actual rates paid by NHS Trusts in FY 2009/10 to the rates paid in 2011/12 and the benefits therein.

On 2 November 2010 we instigated a review of all supplier rates, in line with the austerity message, by asking all suppliers to review their tendered rates and reduce wherever possible. As a result of this initiative, a new set of reduced rates were made available to the NHS which is the basis for the savings used in this Benefits Methodology.

Methodology for calculating savings

Baseline Price (( Average Hourly Rates Paid 2009/10 for matched roles) x counterfactuals - Actual Price (Average  Hourly Rate 2011/12 for matched roles) ) x Volume (Hours) consumed )  

Example: So for a higher level mortuary technician Band 5, in April 2011 the NHS used 664.5 hours at a cost of £17081.76 giving a current rate of £25.71. The baseline rate is £30.87 and the counterfactual multipliers are 1.0075 and 1.0169 so the saving calculation is (£30.87x1.0075x1.0169 - £25.71) x 664.5 = £3934.

The same applies for all job grades.

Non-cashable savings

Through the use of the framework for all NHS requirements, the following non-cashable benefits are being generated:

  • Helps support the NHS with their strategy to ensure that the right resources, with the right capabilities and skills, are in the right place, at the right time and at the right cost to meet required departmental objectives.
  • Due to the consolidation of health spend on clinical labour, suppliers continue to work closely with HR and procurement managers to ensure that staffing options and resource strategies of departments are implemented and aligned with their wider business strategy and goals of the NHS.
  • Allows NHS departments to have access to suppliers of certain skill sets that are in short supply at competitive rates.
  • Bargaining power of customers (NHS trusts) will increase as cost pressures rise and demand falls.
  • Compliance with NHS Employers standards for Safe Recruitment are met. This includes checks on CRB, right to work, immunisation, references, qualification and identity checks.
  • Control of health spends by allowing customer access to supplier rates.

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NHS trusts are the predominant purchaser of AHP/HSS from commercial agencies within the UK.

The AHP/HSS NHS market in England is estimated at £97 million per annum (based on 2007 figures).  This value is made up 55% spend under the AHP area and 45% spend under HSS.

The overall demand drivers for the market remain:

  • variation in output from existing NHS staff
  • employee absenteeism
  • temporary staff are perceived as a relatively cheap and flexible source of labour

Supply side drivers among others:

  • ability to choose flexible working hours and place of work
  • pay rate differentials (higher pay for temping)
  • improved statutory rights for temporary workers
  • ability to supplement income earned from permanent work

The current supply market continues to remain extremely fragmented. It is mostly unregulated with a large number of SMEs and niche market providers and a few significant larger national providers.

The framework is able to cover a significant amount of the NHS spend for AHP and HSS.

We undertook stakeholder consultation throughout the tendering process. Feedback on the agreement was very positive.

Through the regular stakeholder engagement, we have ensured that the new framework reflects the needs of the NHS users. An example of this has been introducing a streamlined pricing arrangement that reflects the Agenda for Change pay structures. This provides pricing for job bands on a minimum, medium and maximum basis - a change from the previous individual spine points.

We have negotiated the new framework primarily to meet the needs of the NHS in England. The framework can also be used by NHS bodies in Northern Ireland, Wales and other government bodies.

Methodology of award
A non-mandatory OJEU advertisement was published in April 2008. To ensure awareness of the procurement process we advertised in OJEU and posted a copy of the advert on our website.

The procurement process adopted included:

• Expressions of interest following the placement of the OJEU advertisement
• Pre-qualification questions and audits
• Pre-tender conference and meetings with short listed suppliers
• Indicative costing phase
• Documentation issued to short-listed suppliers
• Receipt of supplier proposals in response to invitation to tender (ITT)
• Tender evaluation, commercial and technical evaluation
• Identification of final suppliers

Expression of interest
86 expressions of interest were generated. These suppliers then undertook a pre-selection process to ensure they met the minimum quality and capability requirements. This involved pre-qualification questionnaires, pre-award audits and reference uptake. Following this process 86 expressions of interest was reduced to 50 suppliers taken through to the indicative costing phase.

A conference was held on 9 September 2008 with 50 suppliers. The suppliers were provided with details of the indicative cost phase and provide them with the final version of the terms and conditions of contract.

Indicative costing phase
An indicative costing phase was included within this procurement exercise prior to final invitation to tender.  This process provided the suppliers with the opportunity to indicate their initial offers, which allowed us to undertake a comparison of rates to establish target/baseline rates, and then to provide feedback to the suppliers. Areas of analysis taken from the indicative costing phase were provided to each agency at separate supplier tender clarification meetings. The aims of these meetings were to achieve pay rate compressions, reduce high agency commission fees and clarify any misunderstandings of the pricing schedule.

ITT stage
The agencies were issued with a final invitation to offer on 10 November 2008 and returns were received from 50 suppliers.

Tender evaluation & award
The pre-selection process ensured that those suppliers making an offer met the minimum quality requirements. The evaluation of the invitation to offer was based on risk (financial), capacity and coverage and price.

A decision was made to award to 50 suppliers that participated in the tender.  Final award was made on the 4 April 2009, which then allowed for a standstill period, before the conclusion of the framework agreements.
The award to 50 suppliers provides for a wide variation in the costs of the overall offers whilst also allowing for the highest levels of capacity and coverage.



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Lot details

Lot Number Lot Name Lot Category Number of Suppliers Contract Expiry
All suppliers 36 - click here to view suppliers
1 Allied Health Professionals Professional Services 36 - click here to view suppliers 30/06/2014
2 Health Science Services Professional Services 28 - click here to view suppliers 30/06/2014

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Framework Manager Contact Details

Katrina ONeill

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