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NHS Professionals says 'StaffBank' procurement back on track

Gill Hitchcock Published 11 July 2013

Health service recruiter identifies two new suppliers after 'business failures' derail ERP procurement


NHS recruitment and management authority NHS Professionals has confirmed that it is to replace its enterprise resource planning (EPR) systems, including its StaffBank shift management application, with a Microsoft Dynamics AX platform.

The announcement follows the cancellation of a tender issued by the organisation early last year. NHS Professionals told Government Computing that the initial tender process had identified a suitable partner. During the normal due diligence process, however, it became clear that there were "financial problems" with the chosen company.

NHS Professionals said that it could not name the company for reasons of confidentiality. It did say, however, that the procurement had gone "a long way down the road" before the company's poor finances became apparent.

NHS Professionals added that despite the cancellation of its initial procurement, the shortlisting process had enabled it to identify the Microsoft Dynamics AX platform it needed, along with two new suppliers.

It intends to sign an agreement with two final preferred partners, rather than launch a complete re-tender.

The organisation issued a pre-tender notice, valued at up to £2m over five years, in the Official Journal of the European Union in March 2012. It set out requirements for a software platform to service all its business areas, including the booking and placement of shifts, recruitment, complaints, service management, HR and payroll.

It also held an open day in April last year to which suppliers that could demonstrate relevant experience in delivery of enterprise scale ERP or CRM systems of a similar size and complexity to those required by NHS Professionals were invited.

The first phase of the programme aimed to replace StaffBank, an application for booking and placing around 2.5m shifts each year through the NHS Professionals bank or through external agencies. StaffBank is currently provided by e-rostering specialist Allocate.

It also included a learning management system designed to link in with a number of other systems that are currently used to support NHS Professionals' operations.

In a statement to Government Computing Stewart Buller, director of marketing and communications at NHS Professionals, said: "The reason why NHS Professionals cancelled the OJEU tender was because the preferred supplier was unable to fulfil the contract due to business failure.

"Having determined the most suitable platform as Microsoft Dynamics AX, we are now in discussions with Microsoft corporate and a number of their 'gold partners'."

NHS Professionals was set up in 2000 by the Department of Health to provide a central supply of temporary staff across the health service. In 2010 it became a limited company owned by the Department of Health with the aim of enabling it to compete more effectively with private sector employment agencies.


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