Hillingdon primary care trust is set to name BUPA as the company it plans to use to help it commission services under the Department of Health's external commissioner list, HSJ has learned.

The PCT is to recommend to its board next week that it approves the letting of a contract under the DoH's framework for procuring external support for commissioners (FESC).

The organisation will present an options appraisal to its board at a meeting on Tuesday. Members will be asked to vote on an option which would see the only remaining tenderer for the contract, understood to be BUPA, working to analyse and help performance-manage the activity data of local acute trusts. It will also come up with ways to commission more efficiently and save the PCT money.

Ministers have not yet signed off the final FESC list of suppliers or the areas that will pilot the scheme. But Hillingdon is pressing ahead with its proposals to employ a private company to help it commission.

Hillingdon PCT's service specification for the 'provision of external support services', seen by HSJ, states that the company chosen will have to 'interrogate and validate activity data from acute service providers and identify queries within the data sets'.

The chosen company will also be required to 'benchmark commissioned acute sector activity to resolve areas of over-commissioning'.

The PCT will recommend that the performance-management of commissioned activity from acute trusts is shared by both BUPA and the PCT.

In June, Hillingdon PCT issued an invitation to tender to companies in the first stage of the bidding process.

HSJ understands that BUPA will be recommended to the board as the only company capable of providing the services to the PCT.

According to the organisation's option appraisal only one tenderer was able to 'demonstrate experience of the clinical review process' needed to analyse the acute activity data.

The government is expected to announce the FESC in October and will then organise a series of roadshows to showcase companies to PCTs.

The first of these will take place in partnership with NHS North West on 2 November.

A spokeswoman for the DoH said: 'The framework for procuring external support for commissioners will provide primary care trusts with easy access to a framework of expert suppliers that can support them in undertaking their commissioning work.

'Hillingdon PCT has been in discussion with the department about how the FESC might offer them easy access to a range of expert suppliers, in relation to commissioning activity.

The spokeswoman added: 'The department is expecting to make an announcement shortly regarding the completion of the FESC, including those suppliers appointed to the framework.'