Tag Archives: Procurement

National Core Content Procurement – Survey Feedback

To follow Richard Bridgen’s update on the national core content procurement work, I’d like to follow up with a short post to mention how we used feedback from January’s survey of NHS library teams to refine the selection criteria for HEE-funded digital knowledge resources.

As a reminder, selection criteria are high level criteria used at the start of the procurement process (the ‘invitation to quote’ stage) to guide our decisions about which resources to seek quotes for, and then again at the end of the process, to select and justify the final resources purchased. They are thus different from evaluation criteria which are used in the middle part of the process, to evaluate all capable providers.

The responses to the survey question about selection criteria were mostly very helpful. They helped further define the criteria we had already proposed, for instance to reflect the aspects of ‘quality’ and of ‘breadth’ that you feel are important. For instance, currency of content (lack of embargoes) is clearly regarded as important, and many survey respondents highlighted the need to try to better cater for specialist groups. Survey responses also pointed to the need to include ‘continuity’ as an additional criterion: many of you commented on the value of long term stability and the fact that if a resource has been purchased centrally for some years, funds which may once have been used to purchase it locally will have long since been diverted elsewhere!

Some of the suggestions for ‘additional’ selection criteria – such as access via mobile devices, interoperability, service availability, stability of content, customer support – were a useful reminder of what is important to customers, but are in fact already built into the Framework Agreement procurement process. This is because they are included in Framework as service requirements: suppliers will not have been included on the Framework unless they can demonstrate they meet these requirements. Some of the suggestions were unfortunately too broad to be useful without further clarification (‘usability’ was our favourite in this category!).

So in summary, as a result of your feedback, we have added widened our definitions for all criteria, and added continuity to the list, which now looks like this.

Breadth: this resource will contribute to a collection which supports our aim to provide the NHS workforce in England access to resources which support the range of NHS functions, specialisms and priorities;

Quality: this resource supports our focus on resources which healthcare and knowledge professionals regard as being of high quality. Key indicators of quality are currency, authority (peer-reviewed content, expert editors) and relevance;

Value for money: there is evidence that

  • central or collaborative procurement of this resource provides a clear discount on local procurement
  •   if this resource were not purchased centrally or collaboratively, many organisations would seek to purchase it locally;
  • current or anticipated usage of this resource indicates that full text cost per download is/will be less than the cost of access via document delivery

Discoverability: this resource is likely to be readily discoverable via multiple routes, including the NICE-provided infrastructure and current/future alternative routes;

Recommended by LKS: a significant number of LKS think it is essential or highly desirable to include this resource amongst those purchased centrally;

Continuity: it makes sense to continue to make procure this resource centrally/collaboratively, because it meets other criteria and there is dependence on its continued availability/discontinuation would have a significant adverse impact.

Thanks again for your input.

Helen Bingham
Head of Knowledge Services and TEL, HEE (South)

Core Content Re-procurement Update

As you know, the current contract for core content resources  has been extended to 31st March 2019.  HEE is now in the process of deciding which resources to purchase from April 2019 onwards, supported by a Core Content Re-procurement Group including representatives from HEE and LKS in each region and colleagues from NICE (group members are listed below).  The results of the recent survey of LKS managers and audit of local e-resource procurement are very interesting and have significantly informed our thinking.

The key findings from the survey of LKS managers are that:

  • There is broad support for the selection criteria we have proposed, although several respondents surveyed suggested additional criteria
  • The most popular type of resource for national procurement is bibliographic databases
  • The top three individual resources identified for inclusion in the national collection are Medline, Embase and CINAHL with full text
  • The single resource which was most popular as a suggested addition to the national collection was Clinical Key
  • The most popular resource type suggested as an addition to the national collection is a collection of journals or a specific journal title and there was also considerable support for provision of a point-of-care tool
  • There is general agreement that a bespoke single search solution for access to NHS-funded e-resources is essential, both for end-users and for NHS librarians and advanced searchers
  • There is agreement that it is reasonable to expect NHS librarians and advanced searchers to use suppliers’ interfaces to bibliographic databases, though there is also a significant amount of divergent opinion
  • There is general agreement that evaluation of suppliers’ interfaces should form part of the selection criteria for inclusion of resources in the national collection
  • There is no clear consensus about the desirability of having a national discovery service
  • There is continuing disquiet among some librarians about the reliability and functionality of the HDAS interface and the quality of the ProQuest search interface
  • Most managers indicated that they would definitely or possibly be willing to contribute local funding to collaborative procurement, but with caveats relating to understanding the detail and cost benefits
  • There was broad support for the draft HEE Digital Content Strategy and many useful suggestions for augmentation

If you would like to see the full survey report, if you are in the London & South East please email lucy.reid@hee.nhs.uk, if you are in the Midlands & East please email richard.bridgen@hee.nhs.uk, if you are in the North please email dominic.gilroy@hee.nhs.uk and if you are in the South, please email jenny.toller@hee.nhs.uk.

The audit of local e-resource procurement reveals which e-resources are most commonly being purchased at local level, the total spend on each product/with each supplier, and an indication of usage levels and cost-per-download figures.   We are treating this information as confidential and therefore not in a position to share.

We are now using the survey and audit feedback, together with our knowledge about usage of existing core content resources, to derive a short list from a long list of resources for which we would like NICE to seek quotations. We are, of course, highly mindful of our budget constraints.

In terms of next steps in the process of re-procuring content for 2019-2022, the timeline is:

2018 Activity
End March Confirm with NICE the specific products we would like suppliers to quote for
May Suppliers are invited to quote for our selected products included in tender
July Suppliers respond with quotes and how they meet the tender specification
August – October Quotes evaluated
November Contracts agreed with successful suppliers
2019
April New resources become available

If you volunteered your services to help with the evaluating resources, now’s your chance.  Please see the email from my colleague Lucy Reid from HEE London and South East about what we need you to do and how to get involved.

Richard Bridgen, Knowledge Systems Manager, HEE Midlands and East on behalf of the Content Re-procurement Group:  Nicola Ager, Kaye Bagshaw, Helen Bingham (Chair), Richard Bridgen, Alan Fricker, Imrana Ghumra, Dominic Gilroy, Steve Glover, Celestine Johnston, Lucy Reid, Marion Spring, Jenny Toller

Collaborative Procurement Survey

The ‘Collaborative Procurement Survey’ has been live now for over a month and the purpose of collating the data is to get a complete picture of NHS funded electronic resources procurement across the NHS in England (not print or eJournals). We’d like to know what you purchase, how you purchase and how it is funded. The information provided will allow us to negotiate with suppliers to provide better deals for collaborative procurement, ensuring we are providing a return on investment and better value for money. If you already purchase as part of a collaborative agreement, please provide details in the comments box for each question. Alternatively, if your area already has this data collated then please send the compiled data to HEEE.K4H@nhs.net.

Thanks to everyone who has completed the survey so far, that’s 106 services!

Answer Options Response Count
Health Education West Midlands 15
Health Education East Midlands 7
Health Education East of England 0*
Health Education South West 9
Health Education Thames Valley 5
Health Education North West London 7
Health Education South London 4
Health Education North West 24
Health Education Yorkshire and Humber 13
Health Education North East 4
Health Education Kent, Surrey and Sussex 9
Health Education North Central and East London 5
Health Education Wessex 4
answered question 106

*EoE are in the procurement process and will respond in due course.

I know a few have yet to complete it so we’ve decided to extend the deadline to Friday 20th May 2016. To view the survey before completing it, use the preview link. Once you ‘ve collated all your information, use this link to complete the survey.

The next step will be to analyse the data from the survey and work with three suppliers to explore a collaborative procurement model across the country. If you have the skill and capacity to do some analysis then please let me know and don’t hesitate to contact me should you have any questions about the survey HEEE.K4H@nhs.net.

Imrana Ghumra
Collaborative Procurement T&F Group Chair