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Fresh Thinking Could Land Council Top Award

A radical approach to finding an external partner to build a pioneering integrated care hub in South Tyneside has been shortlisted for a national award.

South Tyneside Council's procurement team in partnership with BT South Tyneside is now a contender to carry off the title of Procurement Innovation or Initiative of the Year in the Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards which are aimed at recognising achievement and innovation in public procurement.

South Tyneside Council adopted a ground-breaking approach in sourcing a partner to deliver its ambitious plans for a new Integrated Care Services Hub. The hub - which it is understood will be the biggest of its kind in the country ­­ will integrate health and social care services to enhance wellbeing of older people in the Borough, supporting them to live independently in the community.

The new approach to caring for older people - especially those with dementia - meant that there was not a "ready-made" supplier who was fully ready to deliver the new model of care. The council's procurement and legal teams decided to enter into a "competitive dialogue process" - which involved the Council discussing its needs with potential suppliers - to identify a partner who could help to shape the services, as well as design, build and run the hub from a single location.

This process involved the creation of a project board made up of internal experts from across the Council who worked with GPs and other health professionals to develop a brief. Use of an electronic portal gave potential suppliers unrestricted access to documentation and access to team members.

The contract was awarded to South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust who will develop the centre of excellence on a site at South Tyneside District Hospital.

Councillor Ed Malcolm, Lead Member for Resources and Innovation, said: "Our whole approach to providing care and support for older people - and particularly those with dementia - is revolutionary. We knew, therefore, that our approach to finding a partner to deliver our model would need to be equally radical.

"By adopting an innovative approach we were able to ensure a robust and fair outcome. I'm absolutely delighted that the fresh thinking of the procurement team has been recognised in this way."

South Tyneside Council has also been shortlisted for another two awards in the GO Excellence in Public Procurement Awards. The Council's Corporate Procurement Service is in the running for the title of GO Procurement Team of the Year Award and the Best Service Award for its role in managing the procurement of all third party arrangements on behalf of the Council. The service, which is run in partnership with BT South Tyneside, has exceeded agreed savings targets while ensuring value for money and the delivery of projects on time. The partnership is on track to beat its savings target by £17m which is protecting front line jobs and helping the Council to meet budget cuts. In addition, a stronger focus on face-to-face contact has seen a massive 225% improvement in customer satisfaction.

The awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, 26 February at the Midland Hotel in Manchester.

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