Report to:                  Lead Member for Adult Social Care and Health

Date:                           8 December 2021

By:                              Director of Adult Social Care

Title:                           Procurement of the Integrated Community Equipment Service

Purpose of Report:   To seek Lead Member approval to procure the Integrated Community Equipment Service (ICES) via the Kent County Council Framework Agreement (KCS) and delegate authority to the Director of Adult Social Care



The Lead Member for Adult Social Care and Health is recommended to:

1.    Approve the procurement of the Integrated Community Equipment Service (ICES) for adults via the KCS Professional Services framework

2.    Delegate authority to the Director of Adult Social Care to take all necessary actions to progress the procurement process.


1.    Background

1.1       Community Equipment provides a vital element of health and social care support by way of facilitating people to remain independent in the community.

1.2       In 2016 a competitive tender exercise was undertaken for the provision of the Integrated Community Equipment Service (ICES) for adults living in East Sussex.

1.3       The contract was awarded to Millbrook Healthcare and commenced on the 30th September 2016 for a period of 4 years and 6 months until 31st March 2021. In 2020 a two-year extension was agreed until the 31st March 2023. 

1.4       The scope of service provision covers procurement of community equipment, logistics, delivery, collections and warehousing services, electronic and stock management systems, decontamination, recycling and maintenance.

1.5       The service is available to any East Sussex resident over the age of 18 who has an ICES eligible need. Equipment is provided to assist with daily living needs and can be categorised as follows: beds and accessories; hoists and slings; bathing; mobility; moving and handling; pressure care; seating and toileting.

1.6       Almost 1000 health and social care practitioners access the service placing around 400-500 orders each week for c.approximately1000 items, with an average of 190 orders per week being delivered on the same or next day. In addition, around 680 items are collected each week with an average reusable collection rate of 57% in 2020/2021.


2.    Financial Appraisal Financial Overview

2.1       The adults Integrated Community Equipment Service (ICES) is funded on a 50/50 basis via a Section 75 Pooled budget agreement between East Sussex County Council Adult Social Care and East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group.

2.2       As the lead organisation under this agreement, East Sussex County Council leads on the procurement and contract management of the service.

2.3       The financial contributions to the service are illustrated below.


ICES Budget 2021/22

 Final Budget

 Approved Budget






East Sussex County Council



East Sussex CCG






Total Funding for ICES




2.4       The pooled budget provides the funding for the service, equipment costs and support provided by East Sussex County Council to manage the contract and associated business processes.  

2.5       The current contract cost for the service is £1,743,745 per annum. Equipment costs are variable and managed by commissioners based on agreed eligibility criteria.


2.6       It is recommended for the contract to be procured for a 5-year term with and an option to further extend for an additional 2 years. The minimum value of the contract throughout the main contract term is expected to be £8.5m excluding equipment costs.


3.    Service Review, Engagement and Equalities Impact Assessment

3.1       As part of the engagement plan, a review of the service was undertaken to inform the procurement and future requirements.

3.2       A service user survey was carried out in October 2020 and 97% of respondents rated their experience as very good or good. A survey of community equipment prescribers was also carried out and provided some recommendations for service developments which have been addressed within the future service requirements

3.3       An Equalities Impact Assessment has been completed and continues to be refreshed throughout the procurement process. The resulting action plan will be part of the service monitoring process.


4.    Governance

4.1       The procurement of the service is governed by the ICES Commissioning Board acting as the project board. The board membership includes representation from ESCC Adult Social Care and the Clinical Commissioning Group alongside senior clinical managers from each of the NHS Trusts whose staff prescribe community equipment for East Sussex residents on a daily basis.

5.   Procurement approach

5.1       The project board has considered a number of procurement options and have confirmed the preferred approach to be a limited competitive tender process utilising the KCS framework.

5.2       The KCS framework is a free, national framework for the provision of a full range of daily living health and social care equipment. Suppliers will supply, deliver, fit, adjust, install, service, collect, refurbish, recycle or dispose of items of equipment requisitioned by ESCC on behalf of Service Users. The framework is managed by a commercial arm of Kent County Council – KCS Professional Services and currently has 5 approved Suppliers:

·         AJM Healthcare

·         Medequip

·         Millbrook Healthcare Group

·         NRS Healthcare

·         Ross Care

5.3       The project board agreed this approach as the option most likely to yield the greatest level of interest in providing the service in East Sussex.

6.   Social Value and Carbon Reduction

6.1       Contributions towards Social Value ambitions will be evaluated as part of the bidders’ responses to our local service requirements. Specific focus will be given to carbon reduction throughout the term of the contract.

7.   Conclusion and reason for recommendations

7.1       Community Equipment offers vital and effective support enabling many people to remain independent at home. The current contract will end in March 2023 and the KCS framework provides an effective procurement approach.

The Lead Member is therefore recommended to:

1.    Approve the procurement of the Integrated Community Equipment Service (ICES) for adults via the KCS framework

2.    Delegate authority to the Director of Adult Social Care to take all necessary actions to progress the procurement process.



Director of Adult Social Care


Contact Officer

Sally Reed, Joint Commissioning Manager


Tel: 01273 481912