By Debbie le Quesne

Birmingham’s sticky questions over online procurement glitches

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It was standing room only when West Midlands Care Association hosted a questions and answer meeting over Birmingham members’ problems with the online portal and procurement system they now have to use. Birmingham care services commisioner Jules Gregory and Elizabeth Ross, the city’s Assistant Director for Commissioning, attended the regional association meeting on Thursday (July 9) to address a raft of problems encountered by service providers as they have attempted to place tenders.

The Sproc.net site, that is designed to deliver the end-to-end process of commissioning services, including stimulating supply through to payment, is under fire from association members. The system has been used to mini tender for home care for several years and was “working quite well” the meeting heard, but problems with the more recently introduced Care Home section have emerged.

Members reported there concerned by the number of cancelled tenders being flagged up without any understanding of why, they also reported placements not going through the system which Jules and Elizabeth said would cause problems with payment later in the process. Both Jules and Elizabeth were puzzled by the scale of criticism, but said a new manager had been appointed to ensure that in the future more detail on how to secure contracts will be uploaded onto the site.

They also added that it was still the job of social workers to find the right place for their service user and a working together approach was needed to ensure right procedures were followed so that payments for services could be made quickly.

Developer Matrix SCM has created a new help desk number 0871 474 0332 that providers can use if they need to reset their password to use Sproc-Net, or they have any technical issues using the system. Providers can continue to use the Commissioning Enquiry Desk number 0121 303 3893 if they have any other queries in relation to the Sproc-Net system.

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