Malcolm asks about social care procurement for adults
Questions on Social Care for adults Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab):
To ask the Scottish Executive whether the revised guidance on adult social care procurement will make it clear that retendering is not obligatory if existing services are of good quality and highly rated by users. (S3W-31648)

Shona Robison (Minister for Public Health and Sport):
The draft guidance on social care procurement states that a commissioning organisation should take account of feedback from service users and other information about the quality of an existing service when deciding if that service should be maintained.

If the commissioning organisation decides that a service should be maintained, it must then determine whether the existing contract provides an option to extend the contract. If there is no extension option, the commissioning organisation must determine if it is required under procurement legislation to re-tender the service.

The draft guidance confirms that social care services are subject to regulation 8(21) of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2006 under which a local authority "must, if required by its general community obligations, for the benefit of any potential economic operator, ensure a degree of advertising and follow a procedure leading to the award of the contract which is sufficient to enable open competition and meet the requirements of the principles of equal treatment, non-discrimination and transparency". The continuation of an existing services that does not take place in accordance with an extension option may risk breaching regulation 8(21). Any decision to extend an existing contract in these circumstances should be taken after careful consideration of the treaty principles and the associated risk of challenge.

The draft guidance can be accessed on the Scottish Government’s website:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2010/01/13125045/0.

Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab):
To ask the Scottish Executive what research has been carried out on the impact on users and carers of tendering and retendering adult social care services.(S3W-31647)

Shona Robison (Minister for Public Health and Sport):
Scottish Government has engaged in a programme of research activity throughout 2009 to inform the development of draft guidance on social care procurement. This involved national surveys of local authorities and service providers; meetings with local authorities, service providers, service users and carers and regulatory bodies, and consultation with members of a reference group of interested parties. Reports of this activity are available on the Joint Improvement Team website:

http://www.jitscotland.org.uk/action-areas/commissioning/procurement/.
March 4th 2010