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18 December 2012 | Anna Reynolds
The North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO) has launched a national framework to help local authorities meet the requirements of the government’s personalisation of social care plan.
A four-year framework will support local authorities in implementing social care e-marketplaces, where users can purchase a range of services online from a ‘catalogue’ that includes residential home places, therapeutic days out and assistive equipment. The estimated value of the framework is £6 million.
Ian Taylor, director of NEPO, told SM: “This is a potential step change for the future of procurement and social care. By creating much more of a retail market, procurers and commissioners of social care will be able to get better deals for budget holders.”
The government has challenged local authorities to provide 70 per cent of their social care service users with personal budgets by April 2013, to give individuals control of their own care and support.
Some 13 suppliers have been appointed to the framework (see below) and categorised into four ‘lots’ depending on the type of service they are able to provide, with lot one the most basic implementation and lot four the most advanced, with payment options included.
The aim is to allow a broader range of providers, such as third sector and local suppliers, to sell to individuals. There will also be opportunities for authorities to generate revenues through advertising.
It is up to each local authority to decide which lot to use, depending on its size and scale. “We know that suppliers, especially charities and social enterprises will welcome the opportunities that the systems on the framework will provide to market their services to this growing market,” Taylor added.
Gloucestershire County Council, which assisted with the development of the framework, is expected to be one of the first to implement an e-marketplace.
NEPO is part of the buying consortium Pro5, which also includes the Central Buying Consortium, the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation and YPO.
A user guide has been developed to assist local authorities wishing to use the framework. For more information visit the Pro5 website or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Suppliers appointed to the framework