Capita has been announced this morning as the preferred bidder for a national contract to provide back office support services for primary care.

The outsource firm’s bid was supported by Anglian Community Enterprise - a social enterprise providing community services in north east Essex. An NHS England spokeswoman described the enterprise as a “subcontractor” to Capita.

Capita beat competition from Capgemini and Equiniti, the two other bidders shortlisted in January.

The stock market is being briefed on the news this morning.

Office work

Capita beat competition from Capgemini and Equiniti to win the PCS contract

NHS England is understood to have selected Capita shortly before the general election, and their choice has now been approved by the Department of Health.

The total contract value is understood to be around £400m, and the deal will run for 7-10 years. The framework deal used to let the contract allowed for deals of up to £1bn. Primary care support services are currently provided in house by NHS England, at a cost of around £60m per year.

NHS England has already made significant savings on the cost of primary care support.

An NHS England spokeswoman said the authority will now work with Capita for 6-9 weeks to discuss options for how it will manage primary care support services over the duration of the contract. Capita has promised to standardise processes for primary care support across the country and to improve the quality of the service. The authority will now need to discuss transfer of undertakings (protection of employment) arrangements with Capita, and with unions representing staff.

The final contract will have to be signed off by both the DH and the Treasury before the deal is completed.

NHS England opted to go to tender to outsource the services last year after receiving a lone bid from Shared Services Connected.