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  • We are looking to appoint a supplier to undertake a programme of research that will explore NHS management capacity in England.
  • The overall budget for this work is a maximum of £250,000 including VAT.
  • Apply by 12.00 (midday) on Friday 22 March 2024.

High-performing healthcare organisations and system-level partnerships are underpinned by well-developed management capacity. Without this they will struggle to deal effectively with the key delivery challenges facing the NHS, such as waiting times, winter pressures or patient flow, or to test, adopt and spread clinical, process or technology-related innovations. 

However, knowledge of the current state of management capacity across the NHS is limited.

Invitation to apply

The Health Foundation is seeking a supplier to undertake a programme of research that will explore NHS management capacity.

The primary focus of the research is to examine existing capacity in NHS trusts in England. This will help to determine if NHS trusts, which have been highlighted in a succession of national strategies and reviews, including the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan and the ‘Messenger Review', have the capacity they need to meet the current demands, identify and plan for potential future demands and support innovation. 

The objectives of the research programme are to:

  • determine the current level of management capacity of NHS trusts in England
  • examine whether the current capacity is sufficient to meet the strategic and operational demands that trusts are currently facing and are likely to face in the next decade
  • examine the extent to which managers in NHS trusts in England have the capacity to lead and support the identification, testing, adoption and spread of innovation, especially innovation that is technology related 
  • identify how management capacity could be strengthened in NHS trusts in England and what strategic, cultural, operational and infrastructural factors need to be in place in order to allow this to happen. 
  • develop a working understanding of the current management capacity of:
  • system-level bodies in England – including but not limited to integrated care systems, provider collaboratives and primary care networks)
  • primary care organisations in England – including but not limited to GP practices. 

Applicants should have the necessary skills and experience to complete all elements of the work.

The project will start in May 2024 with a final technical report produced and advice for potential follow-on work delivered by Spring 2026.

Full details of the objectives and research questions can be found in the invitation to tender. 

How to apply

If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please follow these steps:

  1. Read the Invitation to tender which details tender response requirements and selection criteria.
  2. We will be holding an information call on Thursday 8 February 2024 (15.00-16.00). Please email research.mailbox@health.org.uk if you would like to join. 
  3. If you have any queries after reading the invitation to tender and the frequently asked questions (updated 12 Febuary 2024), please email research.mailbox@health.org.uk. We will aim to reply to queries within five working days. 
  4. Apply via our online portal by 12.00 (midday) on Friday 22 March 2024.
  5. Interviews will take place on Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 April 2024. Please ensure you are available to be interviewed.
  6. The final decision will be communicated w/c 29 April 2024.

The exact start date will be agreed following the final decision, but we intend to have an inception meeting with the chosen supplier in early May 2024.

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