Public Services > Healthcare

CCS opens HSCN Access Framework dynamic purchasing system to supplier bids

David Bicknell Published 18 October 2017

The landmark DPS, which will allow new HSCN compliant suppliers to join at any time, is due to go live on November 24


The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has announced that the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) Access Services dynamic purchasing system (DPS), a key route to market for suppliers delivering new telecoms services to the health and social care sector, has been opened for bids.

Suppliers can now sign up, and customers will start to be connected after it goes live next month. The anticipated go-live date for the DPS is expected to be November 24.

The DPS, created by CCS in partnership with NHS Digital, allows organisations and services who currently connect to the HSCN Transition Network (previously N3) and who need to migrate, or who are new to the provision of health and social care services, to procure HSCN Connectivity Services as soon as possible.

The HSCN Access Services agreement (RM3825) offers the benefit of streamlining procurement for both suppliers and authorities in that suppliers don’t have to demonstrate suitability and capability every time they wish to compete for a public sector contract, and the award of individual tenders can be quicker than under some other procedures.

The DPS is like a framework in that a customer authority may use it to award contracts by competition between suppliers appointed to the DPS in response to a call for competition. But it is unlike other frameworks in that new suppliers can be added to a DPS over its duration. And also unlike other frameworks, the four-year limit has been removed; there is no specific maximum duration.

Michael Bowyer, innovation director at industry association, Innopsis, which has been heavily involved in getting its members engaged to provide feedback on the HSCN Access Framework DPS said, "We welcome news that CCS have just announced the launch of the HSCN Access Framework, one of the key routes to market for suppliers delivering new telecoms services to the health and social care sector. Delivering on schedule, this marks a key milestone in the journey taken by NHS Digital to implement the next generation of connectivity services for health and social care users via the HSCN.
"As the trade body for suppliers of digital infrastructure to government, we have been working closely with NHS Digital and CCS to ensure that there is a vibrant supplier market. The framework RM3825 will pioneer the use of a DPS, enabling customers to offer and award contracts electronically in a compliant fashion. The DPS will also provide suppliers with a much simpler process for admittance to the framework on an ongoing basis, further promoting the competitive marketplace. 
“We are excited about the potential to unlock innovation from a wide range of suppliers to deliver more flexible services to health and social care providers to the benefit of the nation.”

Darren Turner, General Manager of Carelink, the healthcare division of Piksel and a provider of managed network and infrastructure services to health and social care providers added, “We welcome the creation of the RM3825, the Health and Social Care (HSCN) Access Services Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS), and applaud CCS’ engagement with the industry in developing a mechanism that is fit for purpose. 

“We did have some early concerns that the existing framework for network services – RM1045 – may be used for HSCN procurement and that this static framework, which does not allow for regular new entrants, could potentially constrain the supplier landscape and effectively recreate the monopoly for network services that HSCN is looking to move away from. 

“So, it is extremely positive that CCS and NHS Digital have heard these concerns, carried out in-depth consultation with industry and expedited the rollout of RM3825 in such a short time scale, creating a DPS framework for suppliers to join at any time.”

He added, “Carelink achieved HSCN stage 1 compliance back in August and was one of the first suppliers to be recognised as a Consumer Network Service Provider (CN-SP). The RM3825 framework is expected to go live towards the end of November and we will begin to process our application to see our network and infrastructure platforms and solutions listed immediately. 

We hope and expect to achieve HSCN stage 2 compliance around mid-December and look forward to being in a position to stand up our HSCN compliant connectivity services in a health and social care environment by the end of the year.”

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