Decision Reference Number: WPCC3-0091
Lead Officer: Sara Ansell, Treasurer
Chief Officer approval: Not required
Date: 12th May 2023
The current contracts for Adult SARC services covering the West Midlands region expire on the 31st March 2024, and in accordance with current regulations need to be tendered to enable a new contract to be awarded. These services currently deliver an integrated forensic and clinical service through a co-commissioning arrangement between the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner / Police and NHS England (Midlands Region). This decision notice seeks formal approval for Warwickshire OPCC to continue with the co-commissioning approach, for service provision from April 2024 onwards, with the intention to tender documents due to go live in mid May 2023.
I confirm that my register of interests declaration is up to date and that none of my interests preclude me from making this decision.
Signature: Philip Seccombe
1. Background information
The Adult Sexual Assault Referral Service (ASARS) is co-commissioned by NHS England, West Midlands OPCC, West Mercia OPCC, Staffordshire OFPCC, and Warwickshire OPCC. NHS England are the lead and coordinating commissioner. The current service provider is G4S 2023 who operate from the Blue Sky Centre based at George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, which also includes a forensic response to adult victims of sexual offences (Adult SARC). This contract was awarded to G4S in 2018, but the current contract extension is due to expire at the end of March 2024, and as a result the service will need to be re-commissioned from April 2024 onwards.
This decision seeks formal approval for Warwickshire OPCC to participate and commit funds to the provision of services through the joint re-commissioning and procurement process for an integrated clinical and forensic SARC service.
The service is currently delivered through two separate contracts across the region, but the intention is that the new service will be tendered as a single contract covering all of the West Midlands region.
A steering group has been set up with representatives from each partner organisation, to oversee the commissioning process. Warwickshire has engaged fully with the process to develop the service specification and will be participating in the tender evaluation process. The contract period is for 5 years, with an option to extend for a further 3-year period, and the funding split allocation and budget are shown later in this decision notice.
The timetable for the intention to tender documents to be published is mid-May 2023, and the procurement will be live until the end of June 2023. The evaluation period will commence shortly after, and the procurement process will continue with final contract award expected in the early Autumn. The mobilisation period for the new contracts is anticipated to run from November to contract commencement in April 2024.
2. List of additional information attached as appendices
3. Expected benefits
The achievement of an Adult SARC service that is fully compliant with the FSR requirements for UCAS ISO accreditation by October 2023.
4. Impact of not approving the application
Warwickshire would have to commission these services independently and would be unlikely to reap the benefits that a jointly commissioned service will bring.
5. Costs (including any identified savings)
The tender will include a ceiling price, with any bids that go above this total cost being rejected. Tender responses will be expected to include efficiencies and innovations in service. The financial contribution rates for partners will stay the same as in 2022/23, with Warwickshire being expected to meet 5% of the total costs excluding the forensic service. Based on a 5% contribution rate, the budgeted sum before applying any inflation equates to £149,591 in 2024/25. This is provided for within the Medium Term Financial Plan.
For comparison purposes, the current Warwickshire 2022/23 cost of adult SARC service provision is £152,837.
6. Equality considerations
The joint co-commissioning process will provide for the continuation and development of adult SARC services for all people in Warwickshire, irrespective of their protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
7. Legal comments
NHS England are the lead commissioner, and their procurement team will ensure that a fully compliant process is ran, with oversight from partners on the steering group, who will seek their own legal advice if and when required.
8. Social or Environmental considerations
The specification will include a requirement for responses to outline any social value issues, which will be assessed as part of the evaluation process.
Information in this form is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act) and other legislation. Unless the information provided is covered by an exemption and stated to be either confidential or partly confidential, the information contained in the form will be published on the OPCC website.
Comments from the Treasurer
The budgeted costs of the service are in line with the assumed costs in the medium term financial plan from 2024/25 onwards. The joint commissioning approach will provide for an efficient process, and more effective service provision for the adult victims of sexual assault.
Comments from the Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer
I support the joint commissioning approach to maximise and benefit service provision for victims of sexual assault, enabling a strengthened partnership response via representation at steering groups and a cost-effective procurement process.