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Creating a new NHS England: NHS England and NHS Digital merged on 1 February 2023. More about the merger.

Part of Sustainability Annual Report 2021-22

Building a sustainable supply chain

NHS Digital’s Commercial team has responded positively and proactively to the increasingly important challenge of improving sustainability impacts and awareness across the supply chain. 

Going beyond simply ensuring NHS Digital procurements were compliant with the government’s Social Value Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 06/20 (effective 1 January 2021) and the Carbon Reduction Plan PPN 06/21 (effective 30 September 2021), the team established a clear approach to delivering positive sustainability change through their commercial remit.

Managing our supply chain

A working group was established to create a plan and set objectives. They identified 4 areas of focus to meet their objectives:

  • strategy, policy and governance
  • training
  • management information (MI)
  • supplier engagement

Each area set out key activities and plans, giving the team clear and common goals to support and track progress against.

They reported successes and achievements in 2021-22 across each of the key focus areas:

Strategy, policy and governance
  • 5 social value themes were selected and are now fully embedded into NHS Digital’s processes and policy for eligible procurements: COVID-19 recovery, tackling economic inequality, fighting climate change, equal opportunity, and wellbeing
  • our commercial strategy was updated to include social value at all stages of the procurement life cycle
  • our financial and commercial approval process was amended to manage and measure impacts of the changes made.
  • our commercial policy was revised to reflect PPN 06/20 (Social Value) and PPN 06/21 (Carbon)
  • commercial staff completed Cabinet Office SV training
  • NHS Digital’s commercial function achieved the CIPS Ethics Kite Mark
  • raised supply chain awareness through supplier lunch and learn sessions
Management Information (MI)
  • established a social value dashboard for the Commercial Senior Leadership Team
  • built social value MI tools and reporting
  • actively exploring carbon measurement tooling (Scope 3) options
Supplier engagement
  • launched NHS Digital’s social value charter
  • contributed to Tech UK industry engagement events
  • hosted sustainability innovation events
  • started to engage with strategic suppliers on how to monitor social value through contract life cycle

Looking ahead

In 2021-22, the Commercial team made significant progress against their plan. Building on their success, they have set further objectives to develop their sustainability agenda going forward:

  • develop supplier exemplars and case studies
  • work with commercial colleagues at NHS England to pilot and launch the Evergreen sustainable supplier assessment
  • embed social value through the contract management processes and contract lifecycle
  • further explore (Scope 3) carbon measurement tooling options
  • build sustainability into wider profession training

Last edited: 4 November 2022 4:04 pm