NHS Arden & GEM CSU (AGCSU) has successfully led and delivered one of the largest ever mobilisations to take place through the Lead Provider Framework – a £30m contract, commissioned by seven Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country.
This complex project has been completed smoothly and on schedule thanks to our bespoke programme management approach which draws on key elements of PRINCE 2 and fully complies with all NHS England requirements. Services have been seamlessly transferred in just 12 weeks, with minimal disruption to CCG customers and their patient population.
Having been appointed to provide Lot 1 services (excluding business intelligence and IT) and Lot 2B (CHC, IFR) services to the seven CCGs in Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country, AGCSU was tasked with managing the mobilisation of the new services. This involved working closely with the previous supplier, as well as coordinating and responding to the requirements of the seven CCGs.
We had just three months to complete the transfer before the new contract began. A considerable amount of work was needed to understand the detailed operational requirements of each of the seven CCGs, identify and manage risks and ensure a seamless handover. At the heart of the project was ensuring continuity of services to the CCGs without impacting on patients and maintaining the quality of care throughout the transition process.
Recognising the challenges faced by CCGs when mobilising new LPF and Clinical services contracts, we took the unique decision to appoint a dedicated Mobilisation Director, Jeannie Ablett, to oversee this and all new service implementation projects. Under
Jeannie Ablett’s direction, our team began by engaging with customer CCGs to fully understand objectives and pressure points, ensuring there was joint ownership of the project and complete clarity from the outset. ‘Statements of Work’ were developed for each of the contract areas which sought to align service expectations by outlining in detail what was required and how it would be delivered. This gave us a clear understanding of the complexity of the project, both in terms of scale and range of services.
We developed a comprehensive strategy and implementation plan which embedded partnership working at its core and focused on delivering:
While the CCGs were focused on delivering a high quality service, they wanted us to have sufficient autonomy to resolve issues directly with the transferring CSU. We therefore established a joint CSUs’ forum to sit behind the Tripartite Governance Board to drive mobilisation at a strategic level. This was supported by detailed plans for each party to clarify individual actions and responsibilities. Regular meetings ensured there was a constant flow of information, with appropriate senior support provided where needed to resolve issues early on.
As a fellow NHS organisation, designated DSCRO and Safe Haven, we were able to manage every part of the mobilisation, including the transfer and management of patient identifiable data which would not be possible for a private sector organisation. Potential risks in the transfer of access to data were identified early on in partnership with our Information Governance colleagues, and all appropriate notifications were put in place with the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) to ensure the CCGs remained compliant as data owners. A clean switchover from the outgoing CSU to AGCSU took place on commencement of the new contract.
Statutory reporting was maintained on time throughout, ensuring regulatory compliance at every stage.
Staff engagement was firmly embedded within the project plan, with specialist input from our in-house HR, internal communications and change management experts. Staff transferring to AGCSU were visited by a member of our Executive Team and introduced to the culture and style of our organisation early on.
Communications activities including welcome packs, project updates, workshops and team briefings have helped to smooth the transition; ensuring staff feel valued and understand the importance of their role in delivering high quality services to patients.
Mobilisation of the Lot 1 and Lot 2B services was successfully completed on schedule, with the new service up and running from 1 April. Over a hundred staff have been transferred and are now working with colleagues in AGCSU to support the needs of over 2.6 million patients across Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country.
The CCGs have been closely involved throughout the process, while trusting AGCSU to make decisions and resolve issues on their behalf thanks to clear work programmes and regular communication between all parties.
“I have been involved in many service mobilisations in my NHS career and the AGCSU mobilisation of services to the seven CCGs in Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country has been one of the most successful. I think the key success factors have been the openness and good communications from AGCSU and the listening and responsiveness to CCG problems and issues.”
Dr Diane Reeves, Accountable Officer - Birmingham South CCG
Chair - Birmingham, Solihull and Black Country LPF Procurement Board
“The CCGs were looking to us to bring solutions and deliver a seamless handover. I am proud of the way our team worked proactively and positively with both the outgoing CSU and our client CCGs to complete this complex project successfully and on schedule.”
Jeannie Ablett, Executive Director of Mobilisation, NHS Arden & GEM CSU