4. Key Considerations for Procuring Care and Support Services
4.1 This chapter describes those key considerations that bring together all of the critical themes outlined in the preceding chapters. That is, compliance with the public procurement rules combined with the principles of SDS and integration policy and also human rights and equality considerations. These considerations are for a public body to consider before and when procuring care and support services. These are grouped and summarised in the diagram immediately below.
4.2 These key considerations reflect the complexity of procuring care and support services and the challenges associated with upholding the values, delivering high standards and responding to individuals' needs while complying with the procurement legislation and securing best value as described in earlier chapters. Taken together, these serve as a best-practice framework.
4.3 A public body should seek to ensure that its procurement policies and procedures for care and support services reflect these and are informed by its procurement strategy. These should also be used as a framework for evaluating local practice.
- Outcomes - achieve positive outcomes for people who use services and also their carers through the delivery of good quality, flexible and responsive services which meet individuals' needs and respect their rights and which improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of a public body's area. For example, see the National Performance Framework.
- National Care Standards - ensure services meet the National Care Standards and adhere to the principles underpinning those standards. That is, to provide safe and compassionate care and support, help promote positive outcomes for people, support early intervention and empower people to live full and healthy lives in a way which upholds their human rights and reflects their needs and wishes.
- Codes of Practice (Scottish Social Services Council) - ensure staff involved in procuring services promote the interests and independence of people who use services and their carers, protect their rights and safety and gain their trust and confidence; ensure employers provide learning and development opportunities which enable staff involved in procuring services to strengthen and develop their skills and knowledge.
- Fair work practices - ensure the procurement of services, in support of delivering positive outcomes for people who use services, values a workforce that is treated fairly, is well-rewarded, well-motivated, well-led, has access to appropriate opportunities for training and skills development and is a diverse workforce. A public body must have regard to the Statutory Guidance on Addressing Fair Work Practices, including the Living Wage, in Procurement.
- Best value - secure best value by balancing quality and cost and having regard to efficiency, effectiveness, economy, equal opportunities and sustainable development. Should also have regard to innovation, the accessibility, continuity, availability and comprehensiveness of services.
- Strategic commissioning - place the procurement of services within the wider context of strategic commissioning, reflecting strategic and service reviews.
- Procurement rules - ensure procurement exercises comply with the TFEU fundamental principles (transparency, equal treatment and non-discrimination, proportionality and mutual recognition), the legal requirements of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015, The Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016, statutory guidance issued under the Act and Scottish public procurement policy generally and including the Scottish specific equality duty.
- Benefit and risk - base strategic decisions concerning the procurement of services on benefit and risk analysis of the potential effects on: the safety and wellbeing of people who use services and their carers; the quality and cost of services; and partnership working with service providers and workforce issues.
- Personalisation - secure personalised services which provide independence, choice and control for people who use services and take account of the specific needs of different circumstances of people who use services.
- Co-production - development of services with, and the empowerment of, people who use care and/or support services and also their carers.
- Leadership - ensure senior managers give a high priority to the procurement of care and support services, setting clear strategic goals and managing performance.
- Partnership - promote collaboration between public bodies and partnership working across the public, private and third sectors to make the best use of the mixed economy of care and bring about cultural change in all sectors.
Summary of key messages from this section:
There are various responsibilities on a public body when procuring care and support services. For example, a public body has a duty of care in relation to people with social care and support needs. It is also responsible for demonstrating cost effectiveness and securing best value, while maintaining expenditure within available resources. The interaction between these responsibilities requires a public body to give special consideration to its approach to the procurement for care and support services.
Chapter 4 describes the key considerations that bring together some of these critical themes (for example compliance with the public procurement rules combined with the principles of SDS and integration policy and also human rights and equality considerations). These key considerations are for a public body to consider before and when procuring care and support services.