FESC

The Framework for procuring External Support for Commissioners (FESC): a practical guide

Posted on June 14, 2009. Filed under: FESC, Reports/papers | Tags: |

Department of Health | Leaflet | 12 June 2009

FESC is a practical and cost effective procurement tool to help primary care trusts (PCTs) address gaps in commissioning capability or capacity by providing easy access to high quality commissioning solutions from pre-qualified and experienced private sector partners. This brochure sets out what FESC is, why you should consider using it and how to do so.

Download The Framework for procuring External Support for Commissioners (FESC): a practical guide (PDF, 1106K)

he Framework for procuring External Support for Commissioners (FESC) has been established to provide practical support to PCTs as they work to develop their commissioning skills and move towards being world class. It is a practical, easy to use and cost effective procurement tool available to all PCTs, to help address gaps in their commissioning capability or capacity.
FESC is a route to accessing thirteen independent sector organisations that have been selected as ideal partners to work with PCTs. All thirteen qualified to be on the Framework following a rigorous due diligence and selection process run by the Department of Health. Each organisation has tried and proven commissioning skills; some offer the full breadth of skills across the commissioning spectrum, while others are specialists in specific aspects of commissioning. These organisations can support you on all areas from better assessing need to managing performance and undertaking service redesign.
FESC will deliver commissioning solutions, rather than traditional consultancy services. The business model is based around developing medium to long term relationships which can provide PCTs with vital specialist knowledge and experience.
For these reasons, FESC is different to Catalist and other conventional procurement routes, which NHS organisations have traditionally used for buying consultancy services. FESC is the only framework in place that has the sole objective of enhancing core commissioning skills across the NHS.
With the Framework already in place, FESC will enable you to move straight to procuring the services you need within a competitive environment, allowing you to focus on the task at hand without getting caught up in costly and lengthy procurement processes.

What is FESC?

The Framework for procuring External Support for Commissioners (FESC) has been established to provide practical support to PCTs as they work to develop their commissioning skills and move towards being world class. It is a practical, easy to use and cost effective procurement tool available to all PCTs, to help address gaps in their commissioning capability or capacity.

FESC is a route to accessing thirteen independent sector organisations that have been selected as ideal partners to work with PCTs. All thirteen qualified to be on the Framework following a rigorous due diligence and selection process run by the Department of Health. Each organisation has tried and proven commissioning skills; some offer the full breadth of skills across the commissioning spectrum, while others are specialists in specific aspects of commissioning. These organisations can support you on all areas from better assessing need to managing performance and undertaking service redesign.

FESC will deliver commissioning solutions, rather than traditional consultancy services. The business model is based around developing medium to long term relationships which can provide PCTs with vital specialist knowledge and experience.

For these reasons, FESC is different to Catalist and other conventional procurement routes, which NHS organisations have traditionally used for buying consultancy services. FESC is the only framework in place that has the sole objective of enhancing core commissioning skills across the NHS.

With the Framework already in place, FESC will enable you to move straight to procuring the services you need within a competitive environment, allowing you to focus on the task at hand without getting caught up in costly and lengthy procurement processes.

What range of commissioning solutions can you buy from FESC?

The framework is organised into four categories:

• Assessment and Planning e.g. Health Needs Assessments

• Contracting and Performance e.g. Robust contract negotiation processes

• Performance management, settlement & review e.g. Acute invoice validation

• Patient and public engagement e.g. PCT prospectus

Who are the suppliers?

• Aetna

• AXA PPP

• Bupa Health Dialog

• Partners in Commissioning

• Dr Foster

• Humana

• KPMG

• McKesson

• McKinsey

• Navigant

• Tribal

• United Health UK

• WG Consulting

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Exclusive: Half of PCTs use firms to help commission services

Posted on May 21, 2009. Filed under: FESC, News stories | Tags: , |

Healthcare Republic | 20 May 2009

More than half of PCTs used private companies or consultants to help commission services in 2008/9, a GP newspaper investigation has found.

In addition, a fifth of PCTs use private companies to develop, write or improve their strategic plans, the investigation shows.

Data obtained from 64 PCTs under the Freedom of Information Act show that they paid an average of £284,329 to private firms in 2008/9. PCTs used an average of four firms each to provide advice or support.

14 admitted a private firm was paid to write, develop or improve their annual or long-term strategic plans.

Some PCTs paid private firms huge sums for help. Birmingham East and North PCT paid data supplier Dr Foster more than £990,000 as part of a plan to cut health inequalities.

GP newspaper also found that two SHAs – NHS East of England and NHS North West – employed firms on behalf of PCTs to help develop their strategic plans.

In addition, PCTs are spending tens of thousands of pounds preparing themselves for the scrutiny of the DoH’s World Class Commissioning (WCC) panel. Five PCTs and one SHA – NHS North West – paid private firms to conduct mock interviews to prepare PCT board members for their WCC assessments.

The revelations come as an investigation by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) found that the NHS spends £350m a year on management consultants, enough to expand the QOF by a third.

Dr David Jenner, practice-based commissioning lead at the NHS Alliance, said it may be effective for smaller PCTs to outsource highly-skilled work but PCTs should ‘be able to write their own plans’.

‘At a time like this we need co-operation, without paying for all the additional costs involved in the private sector, like their advertising.’

Dr Jenner said if a company’s contribution to a PCT’s strategy is not clear, it could be seen by the public as a form of deception.

The DoH approved 14 companies last year for PCTs to use under the Framework for procuring External Support for Commissioners (FESC).

Last year a handful of PCTs, including NHS Northampton and NHS Wigan, announced multi-million pound deals with private firms under the framework.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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Aetna Global Benefits coming to the UK

Posted on April 16, 2009. Filed under: FESC, Press/News Releases, Providers |

Private Healthcare UK | April 2007

aetnaThe international division of one of the largest US health insurers, Aetna, is coming to London. Aetna Global Benefits (AGB) will expand its current operations outside the United States. The intention is to serve the European-based expatriate market, which they say represents an opportunity that more than doubles the size of the US expatriate market the insurer currently serves.

“We have built a global infrastructure of multicultural and multilingual products and services that can be accessed from anywhere around the world,” says Martha Temple, vice president and head of Aetna Global Benefits. “By expanding our distribution, as well as further customizing our products and services for new markets, AGB is demonstrating its commitment to providing expatriate benefits to an even broader customer base.”

As part of its Global expansion strategy, the company’s Castleisland, Ireland service centre will significantly grow its staff of AGB international service professionals assisting with member services. The service centre is currently the largest employer in Castleisland.

Debra Williams has been named managing director of Europe and will be responsible for the expansion in European markets. She will head up the new London office. Servicing will be done in Ireland.

“AGB specializes in meeting the needs of expatriates, regardless of their home country. This is a natural extension of the current business and we’re prepared and excited to move into these new markets with innovative products and expanded services.” says Debra Williams.

Aetna Global Benefits (AGB), the international health and group benefits subsidiary of Aetna, Inc., provides comprehensive benefits coverage for more than 200,000 expatriates, third-country nationals, and key local nationals in more than 100 countries. It covers individuals, small and medium sized business, and international schools.

Aetna is one of the US’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, with a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities.

We will keep you up to date with details of what they will offer in the UK.

International health insurance: News update: April 2007

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HSJ commissioning supplement: An in-depth look at FESC

Posted on April 16, 2009. Filed under: FESC, Journals | Tags: , |

Health Services Journal | BY HELEN MOONEY | 1 NOVEMBER, 2007 

The Framework for procuring External Support for Commissioners has finally arrived. Launched by the Department of Health at the start of last month after several delays, the government hopes that the framework will usher in a change in the shape and strength of commissioning in the NHS.

fesc1The DoH’s commercial directorate has picked 14 private sector companies to appear on the framework list, which it hopes will be used by primary care trusts to help them in their commissioning role.

Seven organisations have already started down the road of using FESC, with some at the early stage, drafting a business plan for use of the private sector before consulting the board and other stakeholders.

Others, namely London’s Hillingdon PCT, are further advanced. The organisation has already picked BUPA Commissioning as preferred bidder to help it manage and analyse more effectively the contracts it holds with its acute sector providers.

The results from HSJ’s survey of 93 chief executives, commissioning directors, finance directors and others from a total of 74 PCTs about their views on FESC make for interesting reading. Four in five thought there were ways other than FESC to help the commissioning process at PCT level, and nearly half thought that the framework would prove only ‘a little’ successful within their organisations.

And although the PCTs were fairly confident – 61 per cent of respondents – that their uptake of the use of the FESC would not be performance managed by their strategic health authority, almost all respondents said that their SHA would be performance managing them on the quality and effectiveness of their commissioning.

This HSJ Commissioning Supplement is an attempt to gauge the view of commissioners and performance managers on FESC. It analyses the government’s reasons for introducing such a framework and asks how it might work.

DoH director general of commissioning and system management Mark Britnell explains how FESC forms part of the wider push for World Class Commissioning.

We also look at how the seven organisations selected to pilot FESC intend to go forward and what they are likely to use the framework for.

It remains to be seen how FESC will be used and how the private sector-PCT relationship will evolve. A best case scenario is that PCTs recognise what commissioning help they need and use the FESC and those private sector companies on it to provide real, intelligent commissioning expertise which remains within those organisations long after the private companies have departed.

It is clear that many PCTs are failing at present to manage the job on their own and, as Hillingdon PCT’s chief executive Professor Yi Mien Koh says, the private sector could well provide the ‘quick injection’ of expertise needed to make the commissioning process work in a landscape of payment by results, tariff, and an increasing number of semi-autonomous foundation trusts.

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