is Adur's communities
 well-informed, free-thinking, working together





AVA supports National Coalition for Independent Action, Don't Cut Us Out West Sussex, NAVCA, Living Wage Foundation and Keep Volunteering Voluntary

West Sussex Coastal NHS Services

BUPA CSH Withdraws from Musculoskeletal Procurement

££££  spent on abortive tendering process

Personal thinkpiece by Adrian Barritt, AVA Chief Officer

I refer to a number of internet links, and strongly suggest that readers examine them quickly in case they are taken down. This particularly relates to webcasts of meetings, because the written minutes fail to record important details.

The Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning group felt last year that it needed to respond to the Health and Social Care Act 2012, and its own legal advice, and embark on a procurement process for delivery of musculoskeletal services, because the existing service was perceived as "inefficient". This legal advice contradicted that reportedly given to the current providers, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust and Sussex Community NHS Trust (see webcast of meeting of West Sussex Health and Social Care Select Committee:

A selection of preferred bidder was made by the CCG, being a partnership between CSH Surrey and BUPA.  BUPA CSH exists "to provide health and care to patients of the NHS", the legal status of this partnership being unclear. CSH Surrey is a "employee-owned social enterprise" that is "rooted in the NHS.", but legally a private company Registered Number 5700920, and not recorded as a ccmmunity interest company, or a co-operative. Hence it is unclear what "social enterprise" means in its case (see: ). BUPA is a "global healthcare leader with over 20 years' experience of working with the NHS" and legally a provident association, selling private health care insurance contracts. Research by AVA has revealed potential conflicts of interest amongst those associated with BUPA CSH. Two of the non-executive directors of CSH currently hold (or have in the past held) senior positions with BUPA. The founder and director of CSH Surrey,  is also a member of the Clinical Senate Council for Sussex, which is funded by NHS England to advise CCGs in the area of "strategic independent advice on South East Coast health care issues, to support commissioners make their decisions that will transform the quality, experience and better integration of patient care".

This choice of contractor however raised a local storm, promoted by the local press, community groups, trades unions and some political parties. Don't Cut Us Out West Sussex organised a highly effective protest at the December CCG Board Meeting. Adur Voluntary Action's November AGM voted to join in these protests  because of concerns about the future for services delivered from Southlands Hospital, and the impact of allocation of such a large proportion of CCG funds upon other health care providers. Travel times, for patients and relatives from Adur, is a particular concern because of our location in the far east of the County.An impact study was commissioned by the CCG  to Price Waterhouse Coopers, and this confirmed potentially massive financial impacts on the Western Sussex Hospitals Trust (see:

Finally on 26 January, BUPA CSH announced withdrawal from the procurement. If the issues identified by the independent impact study were to be resolved, it appears they felt that the contract was not viable for them to take on. So much financial information is unavailable because of commercial confidentiality that the public cannot examine the rationale for this, so we don't know to what extent public concern and protest, or the findings of the impact study, were influential in BUPA CSH's withdrawal.  The concern of the public was robustly handled by the CCG, who set up a website to field queries: (see

So, large amounts of public money, and BUPA CSH funds (presumably mostly BUPA's) have been wasted on this banale process. AVA has queried whether the implications of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 had been fully considered but has never seen any details of how this was handled. But this Act demands that full attention must be given in public sector procurement and tendering processes to the social value of a contract. "Social Value" means the added value (or lost value) to local communities, employment, other public services, of awarding a contract to a particular provider. Enough said?

Now there is nothing illegal or intentionally immoral about this sorry tale. Everyone has been doing what they believe to be the right, correct, legal thing, in the interests of quality health care. The unintentional shambles that has resulted strikes the writer as symptomatic of the hazards of marketization of the NHS. Surely, the NHS should be about delivering good health care, not spending its time wallowing in this morass created by dead economists who will never have to live with the human consequences of their bankrupt theorising? It's time for a change, and now represents a good opportunity for Coastal West Sussex CCG to lead off.

AVA extends its good wishes to the new committee steering Sompting Big Local



For our review of three new reports

on voluntary action

Two good, one pretty dire...but which one?
To read and decide for yourself - they are all available from AVA's offices

NCIA, "Inquiry into the future of voluntary services, summary and discussion of the inquiry findings"

Civil Exchange, "Whose society? The final big society audit"

NAVCA, "Change for good: report from the Commission on Local Infrastructure"


Lancing Village Action   


Peoples Health Trust Annual Review 2014 profiles Lancing Village Action 

Adur communities: well-informed, free-thinking, working together

Did you notice AVA's new website strap line? AVA is Adur's communities (what else?). In order to be a credible, effective and accountable organisation, we need to be well-informed, basing our actions upon accurate information and good consultation. If we were not independent and free thinking, prepared and able to to use our considerable shared brain power to weigh up issues for ourselves, then what would be the point? And we aspire, despite huge competitive pressures on us all, to operate co-operatively, because this we believe should characterise voluntary and charitable action. Together with a sharp focus on the needs of our less well-off citizens, and those experiencing particularly difficult problems in their lives, these values steer everything that AVA says and does. If you are in agreement, then we look forward to hearing from you.

AVA is looking closely at ways in which we can strengthen our dialogue and relationships with local people and groups. This will mean that our Volunteer Centre will be maintaining contact with everyone who approaches us as a potential volunteer, either with AVA or any other local organisation. We are interested in whether our support helps you, whether you find a rewarding role, and any other help we can offer. We are talking dialogue, not a one-off encounter. 

AVA will also be keeping in more frequent touch with organisations who register with our volunteer centre and who wish to recruit volunteers to help in their work. We want to know if we can work together more closely to support ourselves and our volunteers, by provision of training, learning opportunities, mentoring or other forms of mutual aid. We are also extending our local outreach centres right across Adur, offering local contact points for potential volunteers, members of the public and voluntary organisations which span Adur from Sompting to Fishersgate. The Shoreham and Lancing outreach points are run directly by AVA's own staff and volunteers, whilst the outreach point in Sompting is operated by Sompting Big Local, whose objectives are very similar to those of AVA, and whose team will be able to refer issues to AVA whenever appropriate. We are also planning a presence in Fishersgate very shortly.

So in three  ways AVA is moving closer to local people, local organisations and local issues. Call in and talk with us, share your skills and benefit from the wide pool of experience available within Adur's communities. Help AVA work with you, and in turn, please do all you can to promote and support AVA.


CANCELLEDMeeting with prospective providers of MSK health care services  30 January Old School House 1-3pm

Adur i-pad club Wednesdays  10-12 Old School House

Adur Community Network May meeting  12.30 Old School House speaker Margaret Guest, Don't Cut Us Out

Adur Community Network March 26th meeting 12.30 Old School House speaker Graham McKindy, Lottery Heritage Fund