• Council to lead joint tender of CAMHS and council children’s services
  • Youth justice, “pupil premium” and public health services all rolled in
  • Alliance contract or lead provider deal considered
  • Incumbent provider enters into partnership with Mind

A county council has been nominated to lead the procurement of a new mental health services contract for young people spanning three clinical commissioning groups.

CCGs in Warwickshire have agreed that Warwickshire County Council should be the lead commissioner for a contract for mental health services for people aged 0 to 25.

The deal will cover Warwickshire North and South Warwickshire CCGs, and the part of Coventry and Rugby CCG that falls within the county council’s boundaries.

Warwickshire commissioners intend to roll together NHS child and adolescent mental health services with mental health services for young adults, council commissioned public health, youth justice services, and funding for disadvantaged pupils. It is also intended that the new service will be “aligned” with school nursing, health visiting and employment support services, which councils are responsible for.

The deal will be competitively tendered. A board report published by Warwickshire North CCG last month said this was because councils are subject to EU procurement rules, which have since 18 April also applied to the NHS.

A “most capable provider” procurement approach has been considered and ruled out. Instead the contract is being procured via a “competitive dialogue” process, which began this month.

An outcomes framework for the contract is under development. The CCG board report said no single provider would be able to deliver all the outcomes required.

Instead, commissioners plan to award either an alliance contract, binding together a group of providers to deliver the service, or to appoint a lead provider, which would directly provide some services and delegate some services to specialist subcontractors.

Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, the existing CAMHS provider, has entered into a partnership with the area’s branch of the Mind charity in response to the procurement.

The board report said a third option, in which an “integrator” holds the contract but subcontracts all frontline services to other providers, was rejected “on the grounds that it will incur significant costs”.

Last year CCGs in Birmingham jointly awarded a contract for mental health services for people aged 0-25. The deal led to a disagreement with the incumbent provider of adult mental health services, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, over the cost of integrating services for young adults with CAMHS. Both parties are yet to agree how much additional “bridging funding” should be given to the trust to help manage the transition.

The Warwickshire CCG board report said they had approached Birmingham South Central CCG to learn from their experience. “To date, complexities in their service development have prevented them from being able to feedback,” the report said.