Personal Independence Payments (PIP) Assessment Service — Lot 4. Reference Number

A Voluntary Ex-Ante Transparency (VEAT) Notice

Contract (Services)
not specified
12 Jul 2019
not specified




Geochart for 2 buyers and 1 suppliers


Further to the VEAT notice issued on 24/8/18 the DfC shall enter into a contract variation of the personal independence payment assessment services Lot 4, contract with the incumbent supplier following a period of 10 days from the date of publication of this notice. The contract variation provides for an extension of two (2) years. The contract was awarded pursuant to the health and disability assessment services Framework Agreement (referenced DWP_100255) which expired in 2016. The contract was originally for a term of 5 years with the option of up to 2 years (1 + 1) extension. DfC has exercised 1 year, 8 months and 10 days of this optional extension and is due to expire on 31.7.2019. The new expiry date will now be 31.7.2021. The contract relates to the provision of 'social and other specific services' within the meaning of Schedule 3 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/102) (PCR) and is critical to the provision of statutory ‘PIP’ welfare benefits. DfC are constantly looking at ways to continually to improve the PIP service. Walter Radar, in his independent review of PIP in Northern Ireland, has recommended a number of improvements for DfC to consider, which included the introduction of audio recording of assessments. DfC is now piloting this with a view to full rollout in Northern Ireland. There have been improvements in the overall quality of assessments since go-live in June 2016 but there is still more to do to deliver the high quality of service those claiming PIP rightly expect. DfC will continue to work closely with stakeholder groups and our assessment providers to improve the quality of claimant communications, assessments, decision making and the overall claimant experience. It is vital for claimants that we continue to have a stable service. DfC considers it important to continue to make improvements to the end-to-end PIP service, including in response to recommendations from independent reviews. A stable PIP assessment service is vital in order to deliver improvements to the overall service. DWP (acting for and on and behalf of the DfC) had originally intended to publish a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) in spring 2018 for a re-procurement of the contracts in accordance with Section 7 of the PCR. That timeline included a 6 month transition window prior to an envisaged full service commencement on 1.8.2019. DWP (acting for and on and behalf of the DfC) has undertaken an extensive process of pre-market engagement and feasibility analysis (PME), including a number of supplier engagement events. Based on this PME, it was concluded that the IT and estate infrastructure needed to support the envisaged new contracts present substantial challenges to new market entrants. These challenges are compounded in the context of a 6 month transition period, which DfC considers poses an unacceptable risk. DWP and DfC therefore considered it necessary to explore options to extend the contract for 2 years in order to: (i) provide sufficient time for a safe and stable transition of these complex and vitally important services, which support delivery of statutory welfare benefits to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable claimants each year; and (ii) allow DWP to develop, build, test and implement an IT solution (which the DfC will use) to support the new contract(s). Given that PIP is a critical statutory welfare benefit that caters for vulnerable people, a gap in service provision is not an option. DfC will continue to implement steps to secure further efficiencies and service improvements in the way that the existing contract is currently delivered and in particular throughout the extension period and will monitor performance in order to demonstrate value for money. DWP and DfC intends to continue engaging with the market to discuss the future transition of the PIP assessment service and the future of health assessments more broadly. If you would like to participate in our market engagement process please contact ?subject=TED For the reasons set out below in Annex D1, DfC considers the proposed extension is permitted in accordance with the PCR.

Lot Division


Award Detail

1 Department for Communities in Northern Ireland (Sheffield)

CPV Codes

  • 85000000 - Health and social work services


  • Options are not available.

Other Information

Suppliers instructions: How to Express Interest in this tender: 1) Register on the eSourcing portal (this is only required once): — and click the link to register, — accept the terms and conditions and click 'continue', — enter your correct business and user details, — note your chosen username and click 'Save'. You will receive an email with your password (keep this secure). 2) Express an Interest in the tender: — login to the portal with the username/password, — click the 'PQQs/ITTs Open To All Suppliers' link (these are pre-qualification questionnaires or invitations to tender open to any registered supplier), — click on the relevant exercise to access the content, — click the 'Express Interest' button at the top of the page, — this will move the PQQ/ITT into your 'My PQQs/My ITTs' page (a secure area reserved for your projects only), — you can now access any attachments by clicking 'Buyer Attachments' in the 'PQQ/ITT Details' box. 3) Responding to the tender: — click 'My Response' under 'PQQ/ITT Details', you can choose to 'Create Response' or to 'Decline to Respond' (please give a reason if declining), — you can now use the 'Messages' function to communicate with the buyer and seek any clarification, — note the deadline for completion. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the PQQ/ITT, — there may be a mixture of online and offline actions to complete (detailed online help available). To submit your reply use the 'Submit Response' button (top of the page). For further assistance please consult the online help, or the eTendering help desk. DWP expressly reserves the rights: (i) to use a reverse auction; (ii) to cancel this procurement at any stage; (iii) to not award any contract as a result of the procurement process commenced by publication of this notice; (iv) and in no circumstances will DWP be liable for any costs incurred by potential suppliers.