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NHS SBS spies £75m savings on IT purchases through new procurement framework

NHS organisations and public sector bodies will be encouraged to use £500m procurement framework to acquire IT software and hardware in a more cost-effective way

NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) has rolled out a new procurement framework that promises to provide public sector organisations with a lower-cost means of acquiring datacentre hardware, desktop IT and enterprise software products.

The newly launched £500m Digital Workplace Solutions Framework is populated by IT services and infrastructure products from 28 public sector suppliers, and is initially set to run for two years until August 2022, with an option to extend it by a further 24 months if needed.

It is being ushered in as a replacement for the long-standing NHS SBS Link: IT Solutions Framework, which is due to be shuttered in early September after more than four years in operation.

NHS SBS claims IT buyers will have access to pricing discounts of about 15% on any products and services acquired through the framework, which, in turn, should net the public sector up to £75m in savings over the framework’s lifetime.

The framework is accessible to wide range of public sector organisations, including NHS trusts, clinical commissioning groups, universities, police forces and local councils, which can use it to buy servers, storage and networking equipment, as well as end-user computing devices, desktop operating systems, various enterprise software packages and professional services.

It also promises to provide NHS organisations specifically with a fast-track means to procure healthcare-specific enterprise licensing agreements with Microsoft and other tech firms.

Phil Davies, director of procurement at NHS SBS, said the new agreement is intended to build on the success of its predecessor, which has been “very well used” by the NHS and wider public sector.

“As remote working has become commonplace due to Covid-19, the launch of the Digital Workplace Solutions Framework means public sector organisations can access technologies like virtual private network remote access and virtual desktops, which can be needed to mobilise home working securely and effectively,” said Davies.

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“The framework has been carefully negotiated to ensure it covers the widest range of infrastructure, hardware and software, while saving valuable time and resource for NHS and other public sector organisations.”

The framework is free to access, and is designed so that public sector organisations can make single or bundled up IT purchases, but also set up mini competitions between the suppliers listed on it in the interests of ensuring value for money.

It is the latest in a long line of frameworks that NHS SBS has introduced in recent years, in its ongoing work to deliver £1bn savings to the NHS by 2020.

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

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