Latest Public Sector News

18.10.18

Council strips contract from NHS trusts and hands it to Virgin after High Court row

Lancashire County Council (LCC) has awarded a controversial £104m healthcare contract to Virgin Care for the second time after a hearing in the High Court ordered a re-evaluation of the decision.

The contract to run LCC’s Healthy Child Programme ‘0 to 19’ was originally awarded to the private company, but two Lancashire foundation trusts contested the decision and, following a High Court hearing in April, a judge set aside the decision.

Mr Justice Stuart-Smith ordered a full reassessment of the bids after it was ruled that Lancashire CC hadn’t followed the evaluation and procurement process correctly.

But now, following a re-evaluation of the bids, Virgin Care has once again been chosen as the preferred bidder for the contract, a move heavily criticised by unions.

The two trusts, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust (LCFT) and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTHT), did not score as highly in the re-run evaluation, which was overseen by an independent panel of senior experts.

County councillor Shaun Turner, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Virgin Care has now been selected as preferred bidder to provide a range of new public health services for children aged 0 to 19 after the conclusion of this procurement process.

“The law requires the county council to open services such as these up to competition where they are not provided in house. In February 2017, the previous administration chose not to do the latter and instead decided to conduct the procurement process in the open market.

“This contract will ensure there is a consistent range of 0 to 19 services across the whole county, available to all, with additional support for those who most need it.”

The existing contract will continue to be run by LCFT and BTHT until the end of March next year, ensuring minimum disruption up until it expires.

In the absence of any challenge, the county council intends to enter into a full contract with Virgin Care.

But the choice to award the contract to Virgin was criticised by Unison as a “terrible decision.”

The union’s north west regional organiser, James Rupa, said: “At a time when other councils are trying to work more closely with local NHS organisations, LCC has chosen to shift over £100m of public money from the local NHS to Virgin.

“This decision will destabilise the local NHS in Lancashire, making it harder for them to provide a full range of health services.”

He claimed that that gap between the NHS bid and Virgin’s bid was of 0.07% and argued that the council was helping to privatise the delivery of the key NHS services.

 

Enjoying PSE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Utilising data to best deliver meaningful public services

14/11/2019Utilising data to best deliver meaningful public services

Public Sector Executive’s Matt Roberts explains how living in a modern, interconnected world, as we do, means public sector organisations cannot afford to ignore the rol... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >