Frankly, the last thing I [editor Steve] want at 7.00am on a Friday when I’m about to prepare the day’s alerts email (sign-up box above), is to receive documents that demand to be read and for an item to be written. But ‘thanks’ to a reader that is what I’m now doing. I therefore apologise that the alerts email is late this morning.
Late last Wednesday night I published a link to the 3millionlives (3ML) website which had published a document by Worcestershire County Council, prepared in October 2012, that set out its ‘business case’ for tendering its telecare and telehealth service as a 3ML Pathfinder Site. Yesterday it attracted nine highly critical comments from four TA readers. If you have not done so yet, read the item and the comments, now running onto two pages.
The two documents the aforementioned reader sent me are Worcestershire’s follow-on documents that are part of the formal pre-tendering process: the Prospectus (PDF) and the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) (Word Document). The latter is for return by the end of February if you are interested in bidding.
So what, on the basis of early morning skim-reading, has compelled me to write this item?
Leaving aside the minor but outrageously patronising reference to ‘Affluent Greys’ and ‘Prudent Pensioners’, and leaving aside the philosophical and technological concerns raised by yesterday’s commenters, the Mandatory Requirements section of the PQQ illustrates a problem that I highlighted in October: Telecare Soapbox: Who can purchasers trust?
2.5, page 11, requires compliance with the TSA code of practice. It has the weasel words ‘or compatible to’ thrown in, but the intention is clear: unless you are TSA Code accredited, and therefore a TSA member, do not bother to apply.
Bear in mind too that one of the Soapbox commenters (#2) points out that “EU/UK tendering law may not allow a procurement specification to specifically identify membership of an organisation or compliance with a code or standard. Adding these types of spec clauses may be open to legal challenges by providers who are able to meet requirements but do not have the appropriate registrations and accreditations.”
Worse still, it appears that the PQQ has been written to favour one particular supplier.
3.5, page 11, mandates that “contracting parties will be able to demonstrate conformity with ISO/IEC 270001:2005” [it is actually 27001, but let the typo pass]. Now, if Tunstall’s press release Tunstall Healthcare spearheads quality standards in telehealthcare is to be believed it is the only telecare/telehealth company in the market to have achieved that particular accreditation. PLEASE CAN READERS LET US KNOW IF THEY KNOW OF ANY OTHERS THAT HAVE.
Where has this requirement come from? Not Tunstall directly, of course, but it was lifted word-for-word from the 3ML document Recommendations from Industry on Key Requirements for Building Scalable Managed Services involving Telehealth. Telecare & Telecoaching (PDF, November 2012), where it says: “contracting parties will be able to demonstrate conformity with ISO/IEC 27001:2005”.
In fact most of Worcestershire’s requirements are copied from that document, including the TSA one above. And we note that the authors of that document are…