NHS Standard Contract

Regional Voices are aware of many issues in commissioning the voluntary sector - one of which is the disproportionate nature of the NHS Standard Contract. We, and the wider Health and Care Voluntary Sector Strategic Partnership, have committed to supporting NHS England develop a lighter touch version of the NHS Standard Contract - more proportional and suitable for use with VCSE organisations.

In 2015 we undertook a survey of organisations to gather intelligence on their experiences of using the NHS Standard Contract and find out what would help remove the barriers to VCSE commissioning (download the results below). 

For the first time, NHS England has published a shorter-form version of the Standard Contract, for use in defined circumstances. The document is intended for NHS commissioners to use when commissioning certain non-primary healthcare services of relatively low complexity and value. The shorter-form contract may be used for services commencing from 1 April 2016, and is about a third of the length of the existing full-length contract, and is much simpler and less burdensome to use.

Guidance on when each form of the Contract should be used is set out in section 9 of the NHS Standard Contract 2016-17 Technical Guidance. The documents are all available at https://www.england.nhs.uk/nhs-standard-contract/16-17/ 

The Contract has been updated from the 2015-16 to the 2016-17 version. NHS England have committed to updating and improving the contract again for 2017-18 and will be glad to receive any comments about how it is working in practice. Comments can be submitted to england.contractsengagement@nhs.net

Link to NHS England NHS Standard Contract 2016-17

Link to Regional Voices' work on grants

Link to our analysis of current commissioning issues