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Public Sector Procurement Questions specifically dealing with various aspects of Public Sector Procurement. Remember to indicate which COUNTRY you are from

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  #1  
Old 12-06-2010, 06:55 PM
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Trixie Lou is on a distinguished road
Default Social Care .... A conflict of interest?

If a council commissions and provides social care services (part b services) and has a process of putting each individual care package out to tender through the use of a procurement portal, is it obliged to ensure that its own in-house providers are registered on the system and put on a level playing field with other providers?

Standard practice in LA's in England: Each time a care package is needed, a social worker will complete an assessment of needs, identify key criteria and the outcomes required. This becomes the specification for services. This spec. is sent to in-house care providers only and there is currently a lot of controversy regarding whether or not appropriate packages are actually arranged with in-house providers. Often inferior packages are arranged as they are perceived to be cheaper (they may be in the short-term, but cost a lot more in the long-term when outcomes are not delivered).

If it's determined that a LA cannot provide a service, the spec is placed on a procurement portal and external providers are invited to tender. Then there is an option appraisal and the most suitable package is chosen.

My questions is: If councils are obliged to adhere to the EU procurement principle of equal treatment, can they lawfully give their in-house services an unfair advantage by enabling them to see a referral and secure business before it has the option of going out to the independent sector? This seems a bit of a conflict of interest to me as the decision makers are often the same people who are responsible for the viability of in-house provision (and it has been argued that this practice means they are able to protect their own jobs).

However, there has been some mention that councils can do this as they are outsourcing and different rules apply (?)

Its becoming an increasingly controversial area in social care and I would really welcome your views.

Last edited by liamm : 12-07-2010 at 07:23 AM.
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  #2  
Old 12-07-2010, 08:19 AM
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Default Re: Social Care .... A conflict of interest?

Great question! There are a couple of specialist social care lawyers on a LinkedIn Group aimed specifically at Home Care professionals. I'll ask the question there and let you know what they say. In house teams across the country are significantly more expensive than independent providers and one wonders how long this part of the sector can carry on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trixie Lou View Post
If a council commissions and provides social care services (part b services) and has a process of putting each individual care package out to tender through the use of a procurement portal, is it obliged to ensure that its own in-house providers are registered on the system and put on a level playing field with other providers?

Standard practice in LA's in England: Each time a care package is needed, a social worker will complete an assessment of needs, identify key criteria and the outcomes required. This becomes the specification for services. This spec. is sent to in-house care providers only and there is currently a lot of controversy regarding whether or not appropriate packages are actually arranged with in-house providers. Often inferior packages are arranged as they are perceived to be cheaper (they may be in the short-term, but cost a lot more in the long-term when outcomes are not delivered).

If it's determined that a LA cannot provide a service, the spec is placed on a procurement portal and external providers are invited to tender. Then there is an option appraisal and the most suitable package is chosen.

My questions is: If councils are obliged to adhere to the EU procurement principle of equal treatment, can they lawfully give their in-house services an unfair advantage by enabling them to see a referral and secure business before it has the option of going out to the independent sector? This seems a bit of a conflict of interest to me as the decision makers are often the same people who are responsible for the viability of in-house provision (and it has been argued that this practice means they are able to protect their own jobs).

However, there has been some mention that councils can do this as they are outsourcing and different rules apply (?)

Its becoming an increasingly controversial area in social care and I would really welcome your views.
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  #3  
Old 01-05-2011, 05:09 PM
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Default Re: Social Care .... A conflict of interest?

Steve, did you ask your network about this question?
Anyone else have any views?
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  #4  
Old 01-05-2011, 07:32 PM
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Default Re: Social Care .... A conflict of interest?

I have reminded the group that the question remains unanswered and will post back here when a reply is given. Thanks Steve
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  #5  
Old 01-06-2011, 02:33 PM
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Default Re: Social Care .... A conflict of interest?

There is now a helpful answer on the UK Home Care Executives group on Linked In. You can join this group to see what has been said. If you need help in doing this please contact me via my company website (www.docare.co.uk). Thanks
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