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NHS Orkney

NHS Orkney

WINNER – Infrastructure or Capital Project of the Year, GO Awards Scotland 2019/20

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NHS Orkney recently oversaw the creation of The Balfour, the Orkney Islands’ new-build integrated healthcare facility providing a 49 bedded Rural General Hospital together with Primary  Care and Community services within one building. As winners at the GO Awards Scotland, NHS Orkney have achieved automatic nomination for the National GO Awards. Here, Project Director Ann McCarlie explains the scale of the project, and how its benefits extend well beyond providing healthcare to Orkney residents. 

The Project

The smallest health board in Scotland, NHS Orkney serves a population of approximately 21,000 people and employs nearly 600 staff with a wide range of general and specialist skills.

This project covered the procurement, design and delivery of the new integrated hospital and healthcare facility on a greenfield site in Kirkwall, the capital of Orkney. The project aimed to deliver a fit-for-purpose healthcare facility for the benefit of NHS Orkney’s patients, carers, staff and the wider community, ensuring the health needs of the population are met within facilities that are efficient, resilient and sustainable and which allows the delivery of integrated hospital and primary healthcare services.

Widening involvement

In the initial stages of the project, the project team undertook extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders to produce the Clinical Strategy for overall service provision. Further detailed consultation, informed by the Clinical Strategy, covered the range from the required size and adjacencies for each room to details such as the position of each socket in a room, to ensure the facilities function as intended. The consultations included meetings with patient and community groups, staff team meetings, reviews with healthcare planners and workshops to develop output specifications for each service. From this consultation process a reference design was developed which informed the overall design requirements of the building.

An important role for the Project Team was to record the agreed specifications for mechanical and electrical services, Information and Communications Technology and equipment, to ensure these were properly reflected in the procurement documentation and delivered in the eventual design and building.  The building specification was not changed or deviated from once agreed. This was in large part due to the extensive and detailed nature of the consultation process and the diligence of the project team.

Balfour Hospital Orkney entrance

The completed Balfour Hospital

To ensure that local trades, firms and people were involved in the delivery of the project at every stage, NHS Orkney specified that bidders for the project should demonstrate how local SMEs could have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from the overall project. The successful contractor demonstrated an interactive programme to engage with and develop local enterprises. This included offering apprenticeships jointly with local small contractors, working with the local Education Authority and SMEs to ensure that the apprentices would be able to complete their training either locally or on the mainland of Scotland. Local SMEs successfully bid to provide site start up services, scaffolding services, crane services, specialist stonework and joinery for the project.

Sharing skills

During the various stages of the project the small core Project Team was supplemented by a multidisciplinary in-house Extended Project Team of NHS Orkney staff from a variety of  backgrounds, including clinical, technical, IT, financial, operational, procurement and estates and facilities. The core and extended team met weekly, with monthly Risk Group Meetings also held. Over a period of approximately five years each member of the Extended Project Team brought their unique skill sets and experience to the project and developed a variety of project skills as the project progressed towards its successful delivery, which reduced reliance on external advisors, so reducing costs.

Each member of the Extended Project Team now has a set of skills and experience which they can   take back to their ‘day job.’ In the process project disciplines have been developed and enhanced throughout the organisation. Several team members were successful in obtaining promoted posts within NHS Orkney, based on the skills and experience gained within the project team.

In addition, the project team recruited admin staff from NHS Orkney’s Modern Apprentice scheme who were supported in developing project management skills. This approach proved very successful with the first such recruit being appointed to a substantive role in Primary Care Services and another, having completed their Modern Apprenticeship, now embarking on a degree course.

Efficiency and sustainability

The new building, its technology and equipment has been deigned to be as flexible and ‘future-proof’ as possible so that the building itself, its systems, NHS Orkney and its staff can develop and adapt to meeting the changing needs of the people and communities of Orkney as these develop.

Future benefits include, for example, the use of technology to support and develop telemedicine, remote consultations and virtual clinics. This will reduce, as far as possible, the need for patients to travel outwith Orkney for the majority of routine care, and support communication with and for patients in remote locations to reduce the requirement to travel to the Orkney Mainland.

In line with Orkney’s development as a hub for renewable energy solutions, bidders were challenged to design a low carbon energy solution, with this criterion forming part of the overall evaluation process. The solution designed by the preferred bidder and installed in the building has electricity as the primary power source and the main plant is twin air-to-water heat pumps. These pumps are externally mounted, extracting heat from the air to heat circulating water via electrical heat pump technology. In addition, solar panels on the roof supplement the building’s electricity supply from the main grid.

This design innovation, delivering a low carbon solution, should be viewed in the context of the delivery of a complex acute healthcare project, compounded by Orkney’s remote island location. To ensure the design was robust, deliverable and sustainable, specific attention was paid to resilience across the design of the building, how it was equipped and the design and installation of mechanical and engineering systems. This was so that the building and its life-critical systems can be maintained for extended periods in the event of failure of primary and secondary systems and/or extended periods when travel to and from Orkney is disrupted, for example due to severe weather.

Additionally, the car park is equipped with charging points for electric vehicles and all internal and external lighting has been designed to be as energy efficient as possible.

The GO Awards Experience

The team wanted to showcase the variety of ways the project has benefited Orkney, and in particular how a small public sector organisation can deliver a multi-million pound capital project utilising the skills and experience across its workforce to meet some very specific and in some cases unique requirements. Entering the GO Awards has been a positive experience and we would encourage others to enter.

This Year’s Finalists: University of Strathclyde

This Year’s Finalists: University of Strathclyde

In the run-up to the GO Awards Scotland, taking place on 29th October at the Marriott Hotel, Glasgow, we’ll be profiling some of our finalists to celebrate the diversity and strength of the entries to this year’s Awards.

Here, we hear from Fiona Hughes, Head of Procurement at the University of Strathclyde, about their entry for the Best Environmental Impact category, detailing the Combined Heating & Power (CHP) project and its socio-economic impact.

  • Can you summarise the aims and scope of the project and how it took shape?

The project was developed to enable the University to reduce its carbon emissions and to enable greater control of energy costs by self generating electricity. The project was also designed to act as a catalyst for a city-wide district heating network that responds to the need for climate action and to tackle fuel poverty.

  • What were some of the major challenges involved in the project, and how were these overcome?

There were many challenges with this project. However, the major procurement challenges were:

> The risk within the contract of embedding the infrastructure of the CHP system in and around our university campus. We ensured the terms and conditions were robust to manage this risk.
> The supply and management of the CHP was a very niche market and responses to our tender were limited. Thankfully the result has been successful, and we have a good contractor on site who has installed the CHP and will continue to provide support and maintenance.
> Not everyone believes that socio-economic impact and community benefits are a truly measurable and additional benefit to a procured contract and some will argue that there is additional cost to the organisation. By delivering and demonstrating this proof of concept in the success of the CHP, we have been able to gain stakeholder involvement to continue to include and request benefits as standard practice in our contracts (where appropriate).

  • What motivated you to enter this project for a GO Award – and why this category?

The university is an ambitious and innovative organisation. Investment in the CHP shows our determination to respond to climate change and manage the best use of our funds. Embedding our Socio-Economic and Community Benefits Strategy in this contract and all future appropriate contracts shows our commitment to deliver more for our students, the University and ultimately Scotland through this and future contracts.

It is anticipated that the ability to generate the Fraser of Allander Institute information highlighting the Gross Value Added for the city will allow the University to focus our procurement efforts not only on delivering value for money and compliant contracts, but also on improving our impact on the wider Scottish economy.

  • What would winning a GO Award mean to you?

Being awarded a GO Award is recognition that taking an ambitious and innovative approach is recognised and encouraged, thus rewarding the commitment of the team in delivering the best for our students and the University.

This Year’s Finalists: City of Edinburgh Council

This Year’s Finalists: City of Edinburgh Council

Edinburgh council logo

In the run-up to the GO Awards Scotland, taking place on 29th October at the Marriott Hotel, Glasgow, we’ll be profiling some of our finalists to celebrate the diversity and strength of the entries to this year’s Awards.

Here, we hear from Neil Fraser, Senior Category Manager at the City of Edinburgh Council, about their entry for the Market Development Award, detailing the work of the Council’s Shared Housing Services.

  • Can you summarise the aims and scope of the project and how it took shape?

The subject of homelessness in Edinburgh is a key priority for the Council and this project is part of a suite of initiatives to help tackle the problem. The use of Bed and Breakfast accommodation for temporary accommodation is being replaced by more suitable forms of accommodation that provide more facilities and promote independence. It was important that in order to improve outcomes there was a thorough understanding of what service users would find useful in any new service.

  • What were some of the major challenges involved in the project, and how were these overcome?

Many of the service users are vulnerable and may have complex needs or be reluctant to engage. To get meaningful co-production a strategy was developed to gather the information in multiple formats and channels. To implement this strategy, the project team, made up from officers from Commercial and Procurement Services (CPS) and the service area:

> engaged with all existing providers via workshops;
> developed questionnaires for both providers and service users;
> visited service users and took them through the proposed new service in a way that they would understand and not find intimidating;
>found out what problems existed with the current service;
> and engaged with other agencies in the service users support network.

This strategy was very resource intensive. However, given the strategic importance of the service to the Council the work was prioritised.

  • What motivated you to enter this project for a GO Award – and why this category?

Although CPS has been involved in co-production and service re-design on a significant number of projects, this was the first time CPS was involved in face-to-face service user engagement. We used the information that engagement revealed to actively work with other agencies, such as the NHS Harm Reduction Team. This collaboration brought significant improvement to the service that would not have been realised otherwise.

  • What would winning a GO Award mean to you?

An endorsement that procurement professionals can bring not only commercial benefits, but also that they can improve services that deliver better outcomes for people and their communities.

This year’s finalists: Cenefits

This year’s finalists: Cenefits

In the run-up to the GO Awards Scotland, taking place on 29th October at the Marriott Hotel, Glasgow, we’ll be profiling some of our finalists to celebrate the diversity and strength of the entries to this year’s Awards.

Here, we hear from Tom Inglis, the founder of Cenefits, a web and mobile application which aims to makes it easy for organisations to manage and assess the community benefits and social value that they’ve added to their contracts. Cenefits and City of Edinburgh Council are listed as finalists in the Best Service (Micro and Small Businesses and Third Sector Organisations) Award.

  • Can you summarise the aims and scope of the project and how it took shape?

With Cenefits, we hope to provide the leading platform to manage and assess social value in Scotland and the wider UK. We are doing this by combining an elegant and easy to use interface for capturing evidence with a network of public organisations, suppliers and delivery partners.

The opportunity to develop Cenefits came about through The City of Edinburgh Council and Glasgow City Council’s Open Innovation Challenge in 2016/17. We entered our design, Cenefits, which was ultimately selected as the winner in November 2017.

  • What were some of the major challenges involved in the project, and how were these overcome?

The biggest challenges have been both understanding what community benefits are and how they fit into the wider ecosystem of social value and sustainable procurement, and how different organisations have started to systematise their approach to capturing evidence and reporting on community benefits. We’ve overcome this by continuously meeting and engaging with customers to iterate our product and optimise our process.

  • What motivated you to enter this project for a GO Award – and why this category?

As a startup company, it is important for us to take every opportunity to get exposure for what we’re doing amongst our potential customers. The GO Awards seemed like a great opportunity for us to get Cenefits in front of decision makers from local authorities, health boards, universities and non-governmental organisations in Scotland. We’ve entered the category for Micro and Small Businesses because that’s what we are. We’ve also been listed as finalists with City of Edinburgh Council in the Social Value Award category, which is the sector we operate in.

  • What would winning a GO Award mean to you?

Winning a GO Award would be truly awesome – it would add tremendous legitimacy to what we’ve been working on for two years, and be a great celebration of all of our hard work to date as well as that of our customers.

This year’s finalists: Scotland Excel, Scottish Government and Hey Girls

This year’s finalists: Scotland Excel, Scottish Government and Hey Girls

In the run-up to the GO Awards Scotland, taking place on 29th October at the Marriott Hotel, Glasgow, we’ll be profiling some of our finalists to celebrate the diversity and strength of the entries to this year’s Awards.

Here, we hear from Julie Welsh, Director at Scotland Excel, about the entry from Scotland Excel, Scottish Government and Hey Girls in the ‘Team of Year Award’ category.

  • Can you summarise the aims and scope of the project and how it took shape?

The project was conceived to support the Scottish Government’s initial £5.2m commitment to providing period dignity to people in education in Scotland. The Scottish Government thoroughly researched the issues including identifying the potential need for free sanitary products in schools, colleges and universities, and turned to Scotland Excel to find the most expedient and cost-effective product supply mechanism.

Scotland Excel identified that there was an opportunity to add an extra lot to its Washroom Solutions framework and mobilised to engage with suppliers. Hey Girls, an East Lothian-based social enterprise, responded to the call for the provision of sanitary products through Lot 2 and were awarded the contract – along with three others – in October 2018. The vast majority of spend on the framework was with Hey Girls and their innovative approach to ending period poverty.

  • What were some of the major challenges involved in the project, and how were these overcome?

The biggest challenge was time – there was a 13-month timeframe. The Scottish Government made a commitment to introduce free sanitary products in educational establishments in the 2017/18 Programme for Government. The Scottish Government approached Scotland Excel, which involved its Washroom Solutions User Intelligence Group to create a second lot and then went out to market – all within a couple of months. Other challenges included being mindful of the sensitivity around this subject – especially around dispensing mechanisms, which were designed to avoid any embarrassment that users might feel in openly accessing free supplies.

  • What motivated you to enter this project for the ‘Team of the Year’ Award?

The scope of the project and the sheer will to make it happen prompted us to enter the Team category. The three different elements of this team were not under one roof, but instead had to use their individual strengths to deliver a workable, expedient response to ministerial ambitions. The collaboration was forged around a commitment to support equality, dignity and rights for those who menstruate and to ensure that lack of access to products does not impact on an individual’s ability to fully participate in education.

  • What would winning a GO Award mean to you?

It would mean the world to all of us to have our work on this recognised, but also to raise awareness of this important issue.