Supplier Onboarding Overview


The terminology used below assumes that the reader has familiarised themselves with some key Digital Care Services concepts available via the following guidance / tutorials: 


All Catalogue Solutions (including any Additional Services to the Catalogue Solution), are subject to capability assessment and compliance testing by NHS Digital before they are available for purchase via the Catalogue. 

Capability assessment checks that the Catalogue Solution can be used to achieve the business outcomes described against the capabilities / epics in the capability model to which it maps. It does not check that the business outcomes can be achieved efficiently or the usability of the Catalogue Solution. 

Compliance testing is a risk-based approach to testing that the Catalogue Solution meets the Standards applicable to it. This means that higher risk aspects (e.g. clinical safety) of the Catalogue Solution are subject to more testing than lower risk aspects (e.g. conformance to a service management process), with low risk aspects often simply requiring the supplier to self-declare that they are compliant. 

To summarise: 

  • the objective of the compliance testing activity undertaken by NHS Digital is to reduce the likelihood of quality issues in Catalogue Solutions across aspects of more material risk.   

  • the capability assessment and compliance testing activity does not represent any risk transfer for the quality of the Catalogue Solutions from the supplier to NHS Digital, that quality risk resides completely with the supplier. 

Buyers should consider whether or not they wish to do any additional evaluation of Catalogue Solutions in terms of functional effectiveness, usability, performance etc as part of their procurements.   

To facilitate buyer procurement decisions, NHS Digital will increasingly publish information of relevance to buyers on the Catalogue. This will include topics like Catalogue Solution performance, Catalogue Solution usability ratings and customer satisfaction survey outcomes, each of which may be used by buyers in their evaluations. 

Compliance work-off plans 

Under certain prescribed circumstances NHS Digital may grant a Catalogue Solution a compliant status, subject to the successful execution by the supplier of a time-bound compliance work-off plan (more detail on the conditions when compliance work-off plans are permitted and their content is provided here – link to the Catalogue Onboarding Process). Where a compliance work-off plan is agreed, it will set out the activity required from the supplier to address the shortfall(s) in meeting one or more of the relevant compliance acceptance criteria and will be visible to buyers via the Catalogue Solution Listing. Buyers may wish to take open compliance work-off plans into consideration as part of the evaluation criteria for procurements they execute.