Leading finance and accounting, digital, procurement, and workforce services provider, NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), has launched its ‘second-generation’ Hard Facilities Management framework agreement.
The second iteration of its ‘highly successful framework’ is designed to respond to the need within the NHS ‘for high-quality, innovative, and cost-effective solutions, which help NHS Trusts manage their estates successfully’. The new framework’s scope has broadened to encompass COVID-19 safety provisions, and includes a specific emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Data from NHS Digital's 2020/21 Estates Return Information Collection shows the annual cost of running the NHS Estate now stands at £10.2 billion – a 4% increase on 2019/2020, with the cost of clearing the required maintenance backlog having risen 2.2% to £9.2 billion.
To support this challenge, NHS SBS's renewed Hard FM framework agreement has been specifically designed for the NHS and healthcare sector, with inputs from NHS Trusts (Procurement, Estate management, and Capital Development personnel), the wider healthcare community, and the public sector.
NHS SBS explains that the framework can provide up to 10% savings for Estates, Facilities, and Capital Development teams that buy services through it. With an £800 m expected spend via it over the next four years, it could potentially equate to public sector savings of up to £80 m. The organisation said: “The new framework caters for the significant developments in the digitisation and automation of systems and access control that have come to the fore since its previous iteration – for example, contactless preliminary temperature screenings at entry points in hospitals and healthcare settings, which detect individuals attempting to access the building who may have elevated body temperature.”
As the UK's largest employer, the NHS is responsible for around 4% of the nation's carbon emissions. With 60% of the NHS carbon footprint occurring within the NHS supply chain, NHS SBS emphasises that ‘public procurement will be leveraged to effect change’. As from 1 April this year, NHS England thus extended the reach of the Government's model to deliver social value through its commercial activities. The Hard FM framework makes provision for this, via the 154 suppliers awarded a place across its 46 specialist lots. This mix of expertise spans the provision of low carbon energy infrastructure (incorporating smart microgrids with on-site generation of renewable energy), alongside air cleaning, decontamination, and infection control systems. The framework also includes COVID-secure queue management systems and access control, partitioning, isolation, and social distancing systems, and integrated workplace management systems.
Brendan Griffin-Ryan, NHS SBS Senior category manager – Estates & Facilities, commented: “The management of NHS estates and facilities demands specialist expertise in areas such as strategic planning, alongside comprehensive knowledge of the estate's condition. Compliance with an ever-increasing list of regulations places further pressure on teams managing these vital services. This framework is designed to support Estates managers meet these targets ,and provide a compliant route for reactive, planned, and new installations of equipment and infrastructure.
“With an approach heavily focused on sustainability, NHS SBS's new framework agreement ensures that broader ethical environmental objectives are considered and met, tying into the strategies and ambitions detailed in NHS England's Delivering a 'Net Zero' National Health Service plan.”