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NHS Digital, HSCN – Procurement Strategy & Delivery 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 backbone (N3) is the core of the NHS communications network which keeps patients, clinicians, nurses and a broad range of NHS organisations connected. The N3 contract was due to expire; so to evolve and meet the ever-increasing digital demands of the NHS (more capacity, flexibility and choice) – NHS Digital was required to procure a replacement “Health and Social Care Network” (HSCN); to manage the exit from the N3 contract; and plan the migration of users from legacy services to HSCN.


We were called upon by NHS Digital to deliver the procurements for two of the successor services in parallel; the Network Analytics Service (NAS) and the Advanced Network Monitoring Service (ANM).

Both services are critical to the successful migration of N3 services onto the new HSCN:  NAS provides cyber security features and monitoring for all HSCN traffic; and ANM provides internet filtering and reporting capabilities across the HSCN.  Against tight budgets and relatively short timeframes, each service needed to be in place and fully operational prior to the full-scale roll-out of HSCN Services to the NHS.

In this complex environment we delivered through the complexity and provided expert commercial leadership:

  • Design and development of Commercial Models to inform each service’s contract set and to inform the supplier market of the key commercial terms for each service.
  • Tailoring of the framework’s call-off contract to align to each Commercial Model ensuring the greatest value achieved from the contract as it governs each service.
  • Developed agreed Procurement Strategies for the procurements.
  • Leadership in designing and delivering a modified approach, using a pre-existing framework to go to market quickly and enable an optimum number of organisations tendering.
  • Managed the commercial and legal approvals with Crown Commercial Service and external Legal advisors.
  • Design and development of the procurement products and deliverables across all phases of each procurement.
  • Design and development of the Tender documentation including the Evaluation methodology and models and managed the evaluation process.
  • Commercial case of the Full Business Case.
  • Design and delivery of supplier engagement activities throughout each procurement.


Two successful, independent and competitive procurements (and a reduction of 7% following price challenges) and executed contracts on time and within budget, with a comprehensive handover to the client’s own staff.