Healthwatch in Staffordshire - Soft Market Testing Questionnaire

Closed 28 Jun 2021

Opened 11 Jun 2021


Healthwatch Staffordshire is an independent consumer champion for both health and social care services in Staffordshire. The aim of this service is to ensure they work in the best interests of patients, service users and residents and utilise intelligence gathered to influence commissioning and improve overall quality of health and social care provision. 

Healthwatch also provides information and advice to help people find the right health and care services, supporting people to take responsibility for their own wellbeing. In addition Healthwatch has an associated role to work with other providers (i.e. via an Independent NHS Complaints Advocacy Service -ICAS), to signpost people to independent support, if they need it, to make a complaint about a health service. The ICAS delivery is not to be included in the scope of the Healthwatch service. 

Staffordshire County Council is going to market to recommission the Healthwatch service. We want to commission a provider who can support and shape the health and care / Sustainability and Transformation partnership (STP) for Staffordshire (Together We’re Better), the developing Integrated Care System and Health and Wellbeing Board priorities by ensuring plans reflect the patient and user voice. In doing this their role is to help improve the overall quality of health and social care outcomes across Staffordshire.  For the avoidance of doubt this service excludes the geographic area covered by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Healthwatch has a number of statutory functions it must deliver which are summarised below. There is however choice as to how these functions are delivered in order to meet the needs of Staffordshire people.

  • Engaging: gathering and sharing the views of residents, patients and service  users
  • Monitoring: assessing the standard of local health and social care service provision and making recommendations for improvement, including Enter and View powers
  • Influencing: helping to shape the planning and commissioning of health and social care services
  • Signposting: helping people access and make choices about health and social care services

As such, the successful provider will be expected to deliver one or a number of the below functions in accordance with the service:

  • Develop and maintain good and effective working relationships with all key stakeholders, both locally and nationally across the health and social care sector.
  • Provide support and influence key stakeholders in the design and delivery of Staffordshire’s health and social care outcomes.
  • Ensuring there is a public voice on how services are planned, commissioned and delivered.
  • Using the public and patient voice to make a difference locally, ensuring there are appropriate linkages with key decision making structures, including its statutory role on the Health and Wellbeing Board to do this.
  • Have a good understanding of the Staffordshire’s health and care system in order to signpost people to the right health and social care services, supporting service users to take responsibility for their own wellbeing.
  • To signpost people to independent support, if they need it, to make a complaint about a health service.     

The estimated annual budget could be up to £250,000 per annum across a potential 3 year contract with an optional 1 year extension (this is  subject to change/ confirmation).

As part of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, it states that the body contracted to be the local Healthwatch must be a ‘body corporate’ (i.e. a legal entity), which is a social enterprise, employ its own staff and manage its own finances.

For more information go to:

This information is requested in order to seek providers’ views on the development of our approach to the service, the capacity of the market to supply the service and the level of interest in this proposed procurement activity.

The process 

The Soft Market Testing (SMT) questionnaire below contains a series of questions that we would like you to answer, submitting your responses by midnight on 28th June 2021. Please submit your response online via the below link. If you have any queries with regards this exercise or to discuss further these should also be addressed to the contact name shown below.

Your responses will not be scored in any way. This is an information gathering exercise and is not a pre-qualification process. This SMT exercise does not form part of any subsequent formal procurement process.

Your responses will be used by the Council’s project team, in commercial confidence, to inform the service specification, relevant schedules and Contract.

Please try to limit the size of your response to each question to ensure that it is brief and to the point. Please ensure that you clearly state any assumptions made when responding.

You must carefully consider the use of phrases such as “in confidence” or “commercially sensitive” when responding since they will not necessarily protect your organisation’s information from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In respect of any information submitted by your organisation which is considered to be commercially sensitive, you should clearly identify such information as “commercially sensitive”.

Completion of the following questions and any discussions which follow will not infer any advantage upon individual organisations, as stated above this is an information gathering exercise only.

Further contacts 

Lisa Dobric, Procurement Manager

Telephone: 07815 826631


Keith Luscombe

Strategic Policy and Partnerships Manager

Telephone 07815 827727

Thank you in advance for your time, please click below to continue…


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