Innovators holding procurement and supply chain jobs in NHS Digital have devised a new ‘sector-led service’ aimed at assisting independent providers of adult care services to harness the power of digital technology to improve service delivery. Having studied their new NHS supply chain model overviews, procurement and supply chain execs at NHS Digital have devised a £793,000 deal, which their organisation will award to members of the Care Provider Alliance, a group of Britain’s 10 largest voluntary sector providers of adult care services.

The first task of the Alliance under the deal, NHS Digital says, will be to evaluate existing levels of ‘digital maturity’ across the independent sector, after which these service suppliers will be helped to adopt currently available digital tools. Following that, the Alliance will develop “a core set of requirements for care providers to use when procuring new IT systems, as well as best practice for managing IT suppliers.”

Nic Fox, Director of Primary Care and Social Care at NHS Digital, said that standards of care could be dramatically improved through the use of tools that enable safe and secure information sharing between the NHS, local government, and voluntary sector social care providers. He added that “the work being done here is by the sector, for the sector, which will help to move the digital standards conversation forward within the care provider community.” NHS Digital awarded the money through a procurement process that began in July. The engagement with the members of the Alliance is scheduled to continue until March 2021.

On behalf of the Care Providers Alliance, Registered Nursing Home Chair, Ian Turner, expressed excitement at being able to collaborate with NHS Digital on this important project. Secure and safe information sharing, he stressed, could transform the delivery of services throughout the social care sector. The innovative decision to collaborate with the social care sector, he added, meant that the latter could drive the agenda.

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