Systems thinking analytics modelling

Mitigating procurement risks

Tanzo Creative was engaged by an NHS Clinical Commissioning Group to undertake activity and financial modelling to reduce the risk of failure of a £70 million procurement for Integrated Urgent Care Services. The procurement attracted sufficient competent bidders to give confidence that the chosen provider had a competitive and deliverable service.

The clients biggest and riskiest procurement to date

An NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was planning the procurement of an Integrated Urgent Care Service (IUCS), which would bring together existing 111, Single Point of Access (SPOA), Out-of-Hours GP (OOH) and night nursing services. The combined service procurement would be the largest undertaken by the CCG and they were concerned that the financial envelope available for the service would be insufficient to deliver a successful service. They were acutely aware that many public-sector procurements resulted in failure as a result of insufficient funding within the financial envelope for the provider to deliver a sustainable service; resulting in either providers choosing not to bid for the service, or successful bidders withdrawing from the contract once they realise that they could not deliver the service with the funding available. In both situations the CCG would be left with no provider to deliver critical healthcare services.

Converting data into actionable intelligence

Tanzo Creative was engaged to provide activity and financial modelling to support the evaluation of service delivery options; determine the overall financial envelope for the procurement; and, provide financial templates and evaluation of responses during the tender process.

The challenge was to capture the complexity of the service model:

  • Staffing needed to vary by day of week, hour of day, and take into account seasonal fluctuation. This required analysis and modelling at a detailed level, beyond the capabilities of Microsoft Excel.
  • The contact centre staffing model had to change to include an increased bias towards clinicians in the staff mix. There was limited information on what impact more clinicians would have on the overall system.
  • There were multiple options for the location of treatment centres and home based services, and the modelling needed to evaluate the trade of between cost of service delivery and equity of service access for patients.
  • Modelling needed to recognise various economies of scale across the system. The CCG wanted to explore cost savings which could be obtained by doing joint procurements with other areas (economies of scale in contact centres); integration of night nursing and primary care out-of-hours services; and, any other local economies which could be identified.

To manage this complexity, Tanzo Creative used a combination of data analytics tools (KNIME, SQL database) and Microsoft Excel (Financial Models) to develop the model framework. This allowed the detail and complexity of the model (need by hour of day, treatment locations) to be accurately modelled, to be combined with the flexibility of Excel to model financial information and manage assumptions for different service model scenarios.

Planning for successful outcomes

In addition to the development of the model, Tanzo Creative developed a procurement pack of information for bidders, and detailed financial templates for them to complete as part of their financial offer.

Analysis of the responses from the bidders provided significant insight into the providers models and allowed the CCG to provide feedback to all providers which enabled them to further refine their bids so that they fell within the available funding and included staffing which would support a sustainable service.

The modelling, financial templates and evaluation provided a package of support to the procurement that significantly reduced the risk of failure in the procurement, and provided greater insight into the bidders’ service models to ensure that the best, and most sustainable provider was chosen.

Scope of Work Provided

  • Obtained activity data from existing services, performed data cleansing and analysis to determine activity levels for the existing service.
  • Using historic data, developed a regression model against demographic and census data to forecast future usage of the services over a ten-year period.
  • In consultation with service delivery experts, developed activity and finance models which were used to evaluate the cost effectiveness of potential service models.
  • As part of the Dorset CCG procurement process, Tanzo Creative engaged with potential providers to explain the assumption behind the activity and finance model; using the feedback from potential providers to improve the model.
  • Produced a provider briefing pack, setting out detailed planning assumptions and overall estimated contract value against which providers were able to accurately cost their solutions.
  • Analysed provider responses against the model, provide the client with detailed reports highlighting variances against the mode, between providers and potential service delivery risks.
  • Provided detailed written and auditable reports at each stage of the procurement process that could be used to defend procurement decisions in the event of a legal challenge.

Tools Used

The following analytic tools were used: SQL database, Microsoft Excel, KNIME, PowerBI.

In addition, two custom visuals (population pyramid, time of day/week heatmaps) were developed in Typescript/Javascript and JAVA for both KNIME and PowerBI.