NHS Shared Business Services seeks suppliers for £500m cloud procurement framework

NHS Shared Business Services is seeking suppliers for a four-year procurement framework designed to streamline how public sector organisations source cloud services

NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) has set its sights on simplifying the cloud migration process for the public sector through the creation of a soon-to-be launched £500m framework agreement.

The organisation is currently on the hunt for suppliers to populate the framework, which is due to go live in early June 2019, and is expected to run for four years. It is valued at between £75m and £500m, and will be accessible not only to NHS organisations, but the wider public sector too.

In a statement to Computer Weekly, a spokesperson for NHS SBS said the framework’s four-lot design aims to provide public sector authorities with access to support and services for every step of their journey to the cloud.

Lot 1 covers solution design and consultancy, Lot 2 focuses on infrastructure-, software- and platform-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings, Lot 3 is concerned with cloud support services and Lot 4 will provide users with access to end-to-end cloud solutions.

“The framework is structured in a way that guides customers through their cloud journey: from consultancy and readiness assessment, to the procurement of their infrastructure and platform and ongoing support, in-house skills development and cloud optimisation,” the spokesperson said.

“The framework also provides a wraparound end-to-end cloud solution (Lot 4) for those public sector organisations that require more support with their journey to the cloud.”

There are some broad similarities between the Cabinet Office’s G-Cloud framework and the one NHS SBS is proffering, both in terms of the types of users they are targeting and the range of services they will offer.

While this apparent duplication in effort might take some industry watchers by surprise, the NHS SBS spokesperson said its framework is geared towards simplifying the procurement of cloud services for public sector organisations by providing users with access to a smaller set of suppliers.

“The NHS Shared Business Services Cloud Solutions framework will provide a concise, OJEU-compliant [Official Journal of the European Union-compliant], flexible and accessible route to procure cloud solutions for public sector authorities, with a smaller and more focused pool of suppliers,” the spokesperson said. 

“Benefits of this framework include a compliant route to market, a simplified procurement route in a complex and crowded market, potential for efficiency savings through AI [artificial intelligence], access to tier 1 cloud providers and enhanced data security in line with new regulations, including the General Data Protection Regulation.”

Prospective suppliers have until 3 April 2019 to apply for a place on the NHS Shared Business Services Cloud Solutions Framework.

The framework’s focus on streamlining the procurement process for public sector authorities is in keeping with the NHS SBS’s ongoing efficiency push, exemplified by its long-standing aim to deliver £1bn in savings back to the National Health Service by 2020 by using technology to reform its back-office operations.

The organisation, formed through a joint venture between the Department of Health and technology consultancy Sopra Steria, claims this work has already delivered audited savings of more than £400m to the NHS organisations it represents.

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