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NHS Digital Commercial Strategy Case Study

26th Mar, 2019


NHS Digital is the national information and technology partner to the health and social care system, using digital technology to transform the NHS and social care. Their mission is to harness the power of information and technology to improve health and care.


The NHS’s information network is the critical core of sharing data and communications, keeping patients, clinicians, and NHS organisations connected. The existing monolithic contract was costly and expiring.

Timescales for replacement was extremely tight. We were tasked with creating and delivering the commercial model, establishing the successor services, and overseeing the delivery of the necessary procurement projects while managing the exit of the current contract. The scope of work continued into enabling successful delivery of the new network (HSCN) to meet the Government policy of disaggregation, resilience and security of Critical National Infrastructure (requiring widespread approval from external stakeholders such as Cabinet Office, HMT, CCS.).


Working closely with NHS colleagues, we successfully developed, led and delivered key commercial and procurement outputs including:

  • Developing a range of commercial, procurement and financial approaches and option assessments to inform the Board’s decision making.
  • Establishing effective commercial governance.
  • Creating the commercial model to set out the commercial principles for HSCN and procurement strategies and leading on the procurement activity, reporting to the Board.
  • Establishing an exit strategy for the management of the incumbent supplier.
  • Liaising with the key stakeholders across Government including Crown Commercial Services, HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office, to finalise and agree the commercial and procurement approaches.
  • Development and maintenance of financial models to support the business case and procurements.
  • Engaging with Crown Commercial Service for the development of the ‘Should Cost’ financial models for key components to inform the overarching model and supplier negotiations.
  • Creation of bespoke sourcing strategies and procurement approaches for each service.
  • Pre-procurement industry-wide to feed programme/procurement decision-making and market engagement activities to confirm market acceptance of the proposed approaches.


  • Achieved the targeted 3 successful procurements all within budget and timescales.
  • Enabled the NHS to move forward with confidence that the approaches were supported as the best commercial options.
  • Delivered the programme-wide financial model.
  • Validated HSCN’s requirements as deliverable within the supply market.
  • Ensured Government-wide support for HSCN programme and commercial approach.
  • Full Business Case approval.
  • Delivered a Transition Network contract, ensuring business continuity whilst maintaining the planned exit from the original contract.
  • Full knowledge transfer of all resources, key deliverables and ongoing activities.