Tendering for Care

NHS Standard Contract

The contracts, terms and conditions which are applied to services delivered on behalf of the NHS are subject to standard contracts, each having sets of standard variations. These are available for download and consideration well before the tender process starts.

TfC advises that all contracts should be the subject of legal advice as part of the tendering process. Often this causes difficulties as not every purchaser provides the contracts, or even draft terms with the tender documents. At least with NHS tendering it is possible to obtain a view before the process starts.

Contracts for service purchased by the NHS including by Foundation Trusts, CCGs, PCTs or other departments, are subject to standard contracts with standard terms. In addition there are standard variations which the purchaser may choose to include. 

In terms of preparation, we suggest that any provider who feels that there is even a vague possibility that they might tender for a contract which would be subject to the contract, downloads the relevant sections as early as possible. It is then possible to review the relevant sections, but more importantly to put in place systems and procedures which will meet the contractual requirements at an early stage and as a result be in a position to prepare a high quality tender.

The NHS Standard Contract

The NHS Standard Contract for 2012/13 brings together the previous four core contracts into a single restructured contract. The contract is for use by commissioners when commissioning NHS funded acute, ambulance, community and mental health and learning disability services from all types of providers.

The NHS Standard Contract for 2012/13 reflects the requirements set out in the2012/13 NHS operating framework which sets out the business and planning arrangements for the NHS. Associated supporting guidance and national variation documents will be issued to vary the existing standard contracts that expire after 31 March 2012.

This contract sits alongside the Care Homes Contract and the High Secure contract both of which were published in 2011/12 and can be found by following the link below.


The Contract makes reference to the NHS Operating  framework

The NHS standard contracts for acute hospital, mental health, community and ambulance services and supporting guidance 2011-12 (effective from 1 April 2011)This is a very useful page from which it is possible to download standard contracts and variations for services the following areas:

  • Acute Hospital Services contract;
  • Mental Health and Learning Disability Services contract;
  • Community Services contract;
  • Care homes contract

As early as possible befor a tender is published, providers of services in these areas are advised to download, read, understand, and possible obtain legal advice regarding the contracts which relate to the services they offer.



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