Two more pairs of commissioning support units are entering into formal alliances to ensure they can offer a comprehensive set of high quality services, HSJ has learned.

HSJ has also been told that South and South West CSUs have entered into a similar arrangement to the “partnership agreement” announced by Central Eastern and Central Southern CSUs this week.

However, North of England CSU has indicated is likely not to enter into a formal alliance with another CSU.

The Central Eastern and Central Southern deal will be an “exclusive business relationship” to bolster their bids for accreditation onto the “lead provider framework”, which NHS England is currently developing to support the procurement of support services.

Unlike other CSU partnership agreements, each will submit separate bids to be accepted onto the framework, but will use the other to supply a key service line. Central Eastern will supply continuing healthcare support services to Central Southern, while Central Southern will provide strategic planning and service redesign services to Central Eastern.

Other CSU partnerships will result in a joint bid for a place on the framework, and have included discussions over a complete organisational merger.

A joint statement said: “Both CSUs have agreed to work exclusively with each other on the services within the scope of the business partnership, and will not bring in additional partners in those areas without explicit agreement of the other CSU.”

The South and South West CSU alliance will also result in two separate bids for accreditation onto the lead provider framework, HSJ understands.

The following CSU alliances have now been confirmed:

  • Central Eastern and Central Southern;
  • Greater East Midlands, West and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, North Yorkshire and Humber, Arden;
  • Kent and Medway, North West London and South London;
  • Central Midlands and Staffordshire and Lancashire;
  • South and South West.

That leaves the following yet to confirm whether they will enter into a partnership with another CSU:

  • North East London
  • Greater Manchester
  • Cheshire and Merseyside
  • North of England.

However, HSJ understands the North of England CSU will enter a lone bid for accreditation onto the lead provider framework.