As CCGs and providers are well aware, many community services contracts are either fast approaching expiry or have already expired. Re-commissioning of community services offers CCGs a real opportunity to put in place new models of delivering care, in particular to facilitate more integrated care. It provides both a great opportunity, but also a risk to providers. Will providers retain an existing service? Will they be able to win more contracts?
So far it seems that few CCGs have run or are running new tender processes, with many contracts simply being extended. But this mechanism is not indefinite and most contracts will expire by 2016 at the very latest. Given the time which a commissioning process can take, forward planning is essential.
Monitor published its paper ‘Commissioning better community services for NHS patients’ on 22 January 2015. Monitor is clear that it does not think commissioners should automatically roll over community service contracts. On 21 January 2015, Monitor announced that it was investigating a decision by New Devon CCG not to tender a community services contract. Decision making may therefore come under closer scrutiny.