Share

Charities warn voluntary sector will be pushed out of NHS service delivery

Charities warn voluntary sector will be pushed out of NHS service delivery
News

Charities warn voluntary sector will be pushed out of NHS service delivery1

Finance | Vibeka Mair | 19 Apr 2013

A coalition of charities has urged peers to vote to annul secondary procurement regulations attached to the Health and Social Care Act, that they say could push the voluntary sector out of delivering NHS services.

Next week, the House of Lords will debate a motion tabled by Labour peer Lord Hunt to annul regulations which set the rules for how clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) should commission NHS services.

According to the Financial Times, Lord Hunt says the regulations will open the NHS “to wholesale privatisation”.

“At its heart, this is what the government always intended with its legislation last year,” he adds.

Ministers have already been moved to reword the delayed Section 75 regulations after criticism from Labour politicians and others that it was “privatisation by stealth”. Sections amended included assurances that CCGs do not have to tender all services.

 

Even the largest charities could struggle to gain contracts

But charities and other campaigners have said the changes to the NHS procurement regulations do not go far enough.

In a briefing from a coalition of charities, including Marie Curie Cancer Care, Sue Ryder and Help the Hospices, it is warned that “the regulations as they are currently worded could lead to mandatory use of competitive tendering by CCGs in all but the most exceptional circumstances.”

It continues that given the administrative and financial burden of having to place each individual service out for tender, CCGs will tend to bundle services when contracting. “If contracts are bundled, then they are out of reach of voluntary sector providers and will force them out of the market," it says. “Even the largest charitable providers would struggle to justify the resource and the risk needed to bid for large, bundled contracts.”

The charities conclude by suggesting that peers vote to annul the regulations next week.

However, Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, said it was important that the regulations be passed: “These regulations will enable charities to do more in partnership with the NHS, not less, and the result will be better services for NHS patients,” he said. “The regulations should be passed, without falling victim to another political slagging match, so that NHS commissioners and charities can get on with the job of improving the health services made available to the public.” 

He added that he did share concerns that a lot of people had right across the public sector about larger contracts being problematic for the charity sector. But he said it was a separate issue to the NHS procurement regulations. “The trend towards larger public service contracts is happening, and is likely to continue, irrespective of these regulations. They are about other issues like transparency and fair competition. We need to address the implications of larger contracts, but it’s a separate issue.

“There is a danger that the procurement regulations will descend into a political battle which will not be helpful.”

Last year, Sir Stephen Bubb was appointed to the NHS Future Forum to assess choice and competition when the government’s controversial Health and Social Care Act was going through Parliament.

Sir Stephen was appointed following mounting criticism of the Bill to take part in a “listening exercise” which would review the proposed reforms.

Titus Alexander
Coordinators
Democracy Matters
9 Jun 2013

This raises a much bigger question about democratisation of the NHS so that citizens (patients, public, voters, taxpayers) have an effective voice at all levels, with direct links to local councils and parliament. Coalitions of charities, the House of Lords and NHS Future are all very well, but none are directly elected or accountable to the public. NHS England is creating a Citizens Assembly, which could be an important forum for issues such as the rules for commissioning. But we also need to broaden, strengthen and improve our existing democratic mechanisms or they will continue to be bypassed by market mechanisms on the one hand and professional-official structures on the other. Both have a role, but they must be subject to democratic oversight and direction. A 'Parliament for Health' is one suggestion of how this might develop: see; http://democracymatters-practicalpolitics.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/we-need-parliament-for-health.html and http://www.democracymatters.org.uk/how-would-a-parliament-for-health-work/

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

Get involved or risk bad charity policies, fundraisers told

30 Jan 2015

Fundraisers need to be more involved in policy-making or risk the government “losing the plot” when...

Unicef launches record £2bn appeal to combat 'new generation' of crises

30 Jan 2015

Unicef has launched its biggest ever appeal to raise funds for "growing numbers" of children experiencing...

CFG policy head questions 'worrying' comments by Bubb over 'too many charities'

30 Jan 2015

The new policy head at the Charity Finance Group, Andrew O’Brien, yesterday labelled as "worrying" comments...

Shawcross reappointed as chair of the Charity Commission

29 Jan 2015

Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, has reappointed William Shawcross as chair of Charity...

Commission shows ‘real improvement’ but many concerns remain, says Public Accounts Committee

29 Jan 2015

The Charity Commission has been praised by Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, for...

Commission to investigate charitable school over private benefit from leisure centre and dating agency

29 Jan 2015

The Charity Commission is set to open a statutory inquiry into Durand Education Trust, a charity connected...

NGO domain pages will launch in May

28 Jan 2015

The Public Interest Registry will make the .ngo generic top-level domain name generally available from...

Comparison website for special needs services launched by charity consortium

23 Jan 2015

A coalition of social care charities has launched a TripAdvisor-style website, designed to help families...

CRUK debuts contactless giving through shop windows

21 Jan 2015

Cancer Research UK has announced a collaboration with outdoor media owner Clear Channel to bring contactless...

Join the discussion

 Twitter button

@CSFinance