When a consortium of three NHS trusts and two GP federations needed to tender for the delivery of the urgent care service for their area, one of their first steps was to call At Scale. Having helped them win their previous bid for this service six years before, the consortium saw us as the trusted partner they could rely on to help them win it again.
At Scale’s support ensured the experts from across the different organisations effectively supported the development of a single integrated urgent care service bid for the whole Teeside area, covering some 650,000 people. At Scale worked in close partnership with the consortium’s programme management office to ensure the bid delivered on the requirements set out in the tender, was of a uniformly high standard, fully compliant and submitted on time.
The consortium was successful in winning the tender and our partnership continues as we help them prepare to go live with their new service arrangements.
NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (NENC ICB) issued an invitation to tender for the provision of integrated urgent care services covering four main centres of Teeside for the next ten years.
A consortium of two Foundation Trust hospitals , two GP federations and an Ambulance Trust wanted to secure the delivery of the service. As an incumbent service provider, their ongoing roles and the continuity of the services they provide were dependent on their success.
At Scale was commissioned to support the overall management and submission of the tender for the consortium having successfully managed the previous tender for three of the consortium partners some six years previously.
There were several challenges attached to the submittal of the bid.
Firstly, the timescales were very tight. From the tender being published, bidders were given one calendar month to answer a comprehensive set of questions, supply over fifty supplementary information requests and submit their response.
Second, the organisations that formed the consortium operated slightly different existing urgent care service models, split by geographical area - the Integrated Care Board expected a single, uniform approach for the delivery of whole-area services going forward.
Third, the two Foundation Trusts were in the process of merging meaning a necessary acceleration to planned changes to organisational arrangements. At the same time, operational pressures were ramping up for the oncoming winter period making access and availability of critical staff difficult and the effective use of their precious time vital.
Finally, this had to be a truly joint bid for the delivery of integrated services. Although the bid was being coordinated by a lead trust it was important that everyone’s voice from across all organisations within the consortium was heard.
Working with the Tees Valley Consortium
At Scale took on overall responsibility for ensuring bid submission and ensuring the right people were involved in developing responses to the core questions. At the same time as drafting, editing, reviewing and managing the submission and collating all the supplementary information requests required for the tender proposal.
For this tender, we worked hand-in-glove with the consortium’s programme management office: co-locating ourselves at their offices in the University Hospital of North Tees. With timescales being very tight, our knowledge of the organisations, the consortium team’s knowledge and expertise and understanding of in house governance arrangements a was crucial to mobilising the bid at pace.
At Scale’s experience of managing multi-organisational bids for numerous consortia across a diverse range of sectors makes us familiar with navigating bid portals, asking pertinent questions, and understanding the nuances of response structures, size and formatting required to submit a compliant bid.
Developing the bid response required more than simply collating information from multiple sources. The need to bring together alternative opinions on what constituted the most appropriate integrated care model and gain agreement on how to deliver it was central to the bid submission. We provided advice and, where appropriate, played the role of independent broker to help bring differing opinions and issues to a point of resolution.
Through both the tight management of the process and the knowledge and professionalism of the many experts called upon across the consortium, a comprehensive and fully compliant bid was submitted on time. Our quality review approach ensured consistency and continuity of responses across the entire bid.
An integrated urgent care service delivery model, consistent across all parts of Teeside, was identified and agreed by all the partners within the consortium. The timeframe allowed the submission to be signed off by respective Boards level several days before submission, giving time to incorporate final comments and ensure the support and buy-in of each organisation at its top level.
With the final decision over who would win the tender being made only three months before the new service arrangements would go live, we continued to work with the consortium to roll out and deliver their service mobilisation plans in preparation for a successful bid outcome.
Finally, the consortium was successful in winning the tender and our partnership continues as we help prepare to go live with their new service model.
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