Private firms and two local authorities are in the running for a place on a ‘lead provider’ framework that will determine which organisations supply back office services to clinical commissioning groups from next year.

NHS England today announced the bidders that passed the first stage of its procurement process. It could herald the entrance of a range of new players into the support market.

Currently, the support market is dominated by the 17 commissioning support units which sit within NHS England. Nine bids from CSUs - including some joint bids - have also passed the first stage of the process.

Among the non-NHS organisations to make it through are Capita and Optum, which submitted a joint bid with BT, KPMG and the Greater Manchester CSU. This CSU has also made a separate bid with Cheshire and Merseyside CSU, with which it is due to merge to form the North West CSU.

Two county councils - Essex and Surrey; and Mouchel - a consortium of public services, Engine and Dr Foster Intelligence have also made it through to the next stage.

CSUs which have not been applied to the framework are expected to survive as subcontractors to the lead providers only.

The long term viability of Central Eastern CSU was thrown into question when it announced it had opted out of applying for the framework in April.

Applications for the next stage of the process, an invitation to tender, are due to be submitted by 29 October. The framework is expected to go live at the end of January 2015.

Organisations through to the next stage of the lead provider framework for ‘end to end’ support services

Local authorities:

  • Essex Council Council
  • Surrey County Council

Private sector and private sector led bids:

  • Mouchel, BDO, Engine, Dr Foster Intelligence co-bidding as “MBED”
  • Capita
  • SSG Health
  • UnitedHealth UK Limited (trading as Optum) and its supply chain partners including BT, KPMG, BDO, Healthskills, NHS Greater Manchester CSU, Hanover Media and CSC


  • North East London CSU
  • NHS Central Southern CSU
  • NHS Midlands and Lancashire CSU
  • NHS North of England CSU
  • North West, Greater Manchester, and Cheshire and Merseyside CSUs (pending merger to become North West CSU)
  • South and West Commissioning Support Alliance, a co-bid from South West and South CSUs and partners
  • South East - formerly South London, Kent and Medway - with North West London CSU
  • The Arden-GEM Partnership: Arden Commissioning Support and Greater East Midlands CSU working in partnership
  • Yorkshire and Humber Commissioning Support - currently operating as North Yorkshire and Humber, and West and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw CSUs) in partnership with Attain, an independent provider of commissioning services


  • NHS Shared Business Services, working together with a range of specialist partners including 365 Response, A2B Public Relations, Abbey HR Services, Advanced Computer Services, Byline Communications, Cloudbuy, Dell, Deloitte, Inspire Change, SAS, Shulmans, Wilkins Chapman