NHS England’s single operating model will continue apply to all contracts. NHS England will normally only hold (or be party to) one NHS Standard Contract with any provider unless explicitly advised during any given procurement. Prior approval should be sought for any elective specialised services activity not commissioned via a signed contract, reimbursement will be based on agreed contracts. Whilst pathway design work is increasingly aligned with CCGs, NHS England will remain the contracting body for all patients across England treated for services within the scope of specialised commissioning for Contracts awarded from April 2017.
All contracts will use the following national standardised documentation:
• Indicative Activity Plan standardised formatted template;
• Local Prices standardised formatted template;
• Local Quality Requirements (Acute and MH respectively);
• Information Requirements (already in the NHS Standard Contract);
• Service Specifications; and
• Generic and clinical commissioning policies
Increasingly as part of networked provider arrangements subcontracting will play an important role in commissioned services. In line with the NHS Standard Contract providers will be expected to agree and obtain written approval in advance from the commissioner to enter into any material sub-contracts.
NHS England will advertise intended contract awards and any market testing or procurement through the government ‘Contracts Finder’ website meeting the objectives of proportionality, transparency and non-discrimination for current or potential providers from the NHS, independent or third sector in line with the new Public Contract Regulations. The introduction of HRG4+ and refresh of specialist top ups is a significant improvement in the accurate attribution of costs relative to patient complexity. NHS England does not expect to make payments above mandatory tariffs for services.
Providers will be expected to provide sufficient data to enable NHS England to validate invoices to ensure that all payments for specialised services are compliant with commissioning policy and are as per the rules of the National Tariff Payment System. The invoice validation process supports the delivery of patient care across the NHS and is vital to ensure NHS England fulfils its statutory duties of fiscal probity and scrutiny.