7. Key Stages of the Procurement Process - Introduction
7.1 The second part of this best-practice guidance focuses on the procurement of care and support services.
7.2 Detailed consideration of other methods of securing services is outwith the scope of this guidance. The following chapters are therefore only relevant where a public body has either decided to, or is required to, procure a service from an external service provider.
7.3 Where a public body is procuring a care and support service, the commissioning cycle diagram at chapter 5 of this guidance envisages four stages to that procurement whereby public bodies should:
- stage 1: analyse individual needs, intended outcomes and service providers;
- stage 2: plan the procurement process and develop the service specification;
- stage 3: do the procurement exercise and award and manage the contract; and
- stage 4: review the arrangements and individual outcomes.
7.4 Chapter 8 focuses on the first stage (analysing individual needs). It is worth noting that much of the information described will likely be routinely collected by a public body as part of its wider commissioning process, to inform procurement strategies, and/or to support statutory and local performance indicators and contract management. Information is also available from public bodies' finance systems. Public bodies should make use of all existing information in their analysis.
Rules specific to the procurement for care and support services
7.5 As mentioned in part 1 of this guidance, the quality or availability of care and support services can have a major impact on the quality of life and health of people who might use these services and also their carers. Also, many of these services are being increasingly personalised to better meet people's needs. For these reasons, these services are often purchased differently to other services that generally apply to public procurements and human rights and equality principles.
7.6 Chapter 8 also introduces the specific public procurement rules that apply to care and support contracts (including those that apply at different contract value/threshold levels) and which public bodies should familiarise themselves with before taking forward a procurement exercise.
7.7 In summary The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015 provide for the 'light-touch' regime that applies to the procurement of certain health or social (including care and support) and some other services where these exceed a threshold of €750,000. See Annex 7 which describes the range of health or social care services covered by that regime.This guidance is concerned with those services that are principally care and support in focus.
7.8 With effect from 18 April 2016, the 'light-touch' regime (for health or social and including care and support contracts above the new €750,000 threshold) broadly replaces the 'Part B' arrangements that were in place for procuring these types of services formerly.
7.9 Chapter 8 also describes the procedures for handling lower-value procurements for these types of care and support services and which are not regulated by EU law but are, instead, regulated by the Act. The European Commission recognises that contracts for these services which are worth less than €750,000 will typically not be of interest to providers from other EU Member States. The cross-border interest test should however be considered by a public body on a case-by-case basis.
7.10 These rules which are described in the context of the key stages of the procurement process as illustrated in the commissioning cycle diagram at chapter 5 and are the main focus of the following chapters.