• Surrey Downs CCG loses bid to overturn suspension of £100m community services contract
  • Contract award process challenged by Central Surrey Health, claiming it was “marginalised” from alliance that won bid
  • CCG denies that managing director told the company a challenge could affect other bids

A company has won a High Court procurement challenge against a clinical commissioning group.

Social enterprise Central Surrey Health yesterday won a case against Surrey Downs CCG over whether the commissioners could continue with a contract CSH had originally been part of, but claim they were subsequently “marginalised” from.

CSH also alleged in court that the CCG’s managing director had indicated they might lose other work if they challenged the decision for the Integrated Dorking Epsom and East Elmbridge Alliance to proceed without them – something the CCG denied.

IDEEA originally comprised CSH, three GP federations and Epsom and St Helier University Hospital Trust, which was principal bidder. The other members of IDEEA claimed CSH in fact left the alliance. The five year contract would have been worth £100m and was awarded in February.

The contract had been due to start this month but in light of the legal action the CCG extended incumbent provider CSH’s contract until February 2019.

The High Court yesterday ruled against lifting the injunction on awarding the contract. The next haring is expected in February.

CSH chief executive Steve Flanagan said: “CSH Surrey has been successful in the first stage of the legal proceedings against NHS Surrey Downs CCG. The judge has decided that NHS Surrey Downs CCG cannot continue with the contract award for the adult community health services to the IDEEA Partners excluding CSH Surrey. We will now consider our next steps.

“CSH Surrey has a proven track record of providing large scale and high quality NHS services to patients across Surrey since 2006. We believe our role in delivering adult community services offers the best outcomes for patients and value for money for the NHS.

“We will continue to seek to find a negotiated solution that offers the best outcomes for the people in this area.”

The amount spent on legal fees so far has not been disclosed by either side.

Mr Flanagan took on the role after previous chief executive Stephen Cass left to take a job with Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust. Mr Flanagan had previously been a non-executive director at CSH.

In a statement, the CCG said: “The CCG had previously made an application to lift the current suspension but today in court this application was unsuccessful.

“This outcome means that the CCG cannot proceed with the contract award to the partnership or the mobilisation of the new service until the legal issues have been resolved.

“We believe the new service will deliver more integrated care for local people so naturally we are disappointed by this outcome. However, patient care remains our top priority and we continue to work with all parties to ensure continuity of care, and continuity of services while this matter is concluded.”

In an interview with HSJ last month, Mr Flanagan said CSH had launched the legal action reluctantly and that the dispute within the IDEEA had been over clinical control and which body held the Care Quality Commission registration for services.

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust made no comment on the ruling.


*This story was updated on October 22 to reflect new information that a return court date had been provisionally set for February 2019.