This document provides further information in support of the Change Management and Roadmap Content ancillary document and should be read in conjunction with that and the relevant parts of the Catalogue Agreement.
The ancillary document describes:
- the Capabilities and Standards Model within the operation of the Catalogue Agreement
- the nature of Catalogue changes and the Roadmap
- the manner in which changes will be made to the Roadmap
- the management of Urgent Change within the Catalogue
- the provisions associated with Managed Capacity
- Opportunity Items and associated change.
This page sets out additional detail which builds on these descriptions, in particular regarding the information to be included on the Roadmap, versioning of Standards and Capabilities and the processes of the Catalogue Authority in managing change.
Lifecycle of Standards and Capabilities
All Standards and Capabilities will go through a lifecycle of Draft to Published to Effective and therefore at any given time (represented by "Day 'X'" on the diagram below) there will be a set of Draft specifications, a set of Published specifications and a set of Effective specifications. The diagram below represents this.
If and when a Standard or Capability is replaced or superseded, it will be given a status of 'Retired' and moved to a new area of Confluence such that it is clear that it is no longer current.
Definitions of Draft, Published, Effective and Retired are included in the table above.
This section describes a set of principles governing the assessment, management and commissioning of changes to Standards and Capabilities and the Roadmap. The approach to managing change requests which is being adopted by Digital Care Services includes the following:
- A single gated point of entry point for all change requests relating to Digital Care Services Solutions in order that Suppliers should only receive requests for system change from a single source
- A fair, objective and consistent approach to assessing change requests which includes a balanced and comprehensive set of assessment criteria
- A more flexible approach to elaboration, commissioning and delivery of change supported by appropriate commercial mechanisms
- Splitting up larger work items into smaller deliverables to ensure that capacity is not wiped out by a single large initiative
- More opportunities for innovation and collaboration
- More opportunities for the wider market to reduce burden on Suppliers with a greater market share
- Ensuring that Suppliers and wider stakeholders are engaged throughout the change process
- Ensuring that change relating to key strategic priorities and objectives for the wider NHS is delivered in a timely manner
- A Standards and Capabilities Roadmap which presents a single overarching view of all changes which need to be delivered and the opportunities available to Suppliers
- Consultative governance forums and arrangements to ensure Suppliers are fully engaged in the process, are aware of their ongoing obligations and have the opportunity to support the shaping of wider strategy and process improvement
Draft and Published Standards may be associated with an Effective Date by which all relevant Suppliers are required to have achieved compliance.
Where a Standard is Published but does not have an Effective Date, Suppliers can choose to implement this as a way to differentiate their product and gain market advantage in advance of any Effective Date which may subsequently be set. These items are included on the Roadmap as they would bring benefits to end users and the wider NHS if implemented, but do not currently fall within the key strategic priorities. Any given Framework Authority or Agreement may however choose to incentivise compliance.
NHS Digital will generally aim to agree and set the Standards which are to become Effective during the life-cycle of a Framework in advance of that Framework in order that Suppliers can plan and account for any required development capacity and cost within the List Price to be set at the start of any Framework.
New and uplifted Standards to be progressed through the Urgent Change or Opportunity Items route may be added to the Roadmap at any time. There are however restrictions regarding the addition of new Roadmap entries in the Managed Capacity route where an Effective Date is set. Refer to the Change Management and Roadmap Content ancillary document for this information.
New and uplifted Capabilities may be added to the Roadmap at any time as Draft or Published such that Suppliers could develop against it and begin onboarding. However where this is a material change to an existing Capability or the addition of a new Capability, then this cannot become Effective until a subsequent Framework opportunity. Although in some cases it is likely that the change could be progressed as an Opportunity Item to facilitate quicker delivery prior to a Framework request.
Given that many Capabilities have linked Standards, when a Standard is to be introduced or uplifted as the result of a change request, an assessment will need to be undertaken to determine if the change to the Standard has a significant impact on the scope of the Capability and hence when it can become Effective. This is known as the Materiality assessment and the details of this are set out below.
Routes of change
There are three key routes by which change will be progressed and commissioned following assessment, as shown by the diagram. In addition to these key routes of change, Suppliers will be required to respond to RFIs as per the terms of the Catalogue Agreement, may participate in Feasibility Assessments which will be commissioned via the most appropriate Framework or procurement vehicle and may also initiate change themselves based on internal development and delivery plans. It is possible that these routes may be used in parallel or consecutively for a single change. For example there may be a change request which is a standalone feature or perhaps a new messaging interface specification which is best progressed initially as an Opportunity Item, before being Published and given an Effective Date for development and implementation by all relevant Suppliers via the Managed Capacity route. A Feasibility Assessment may be used to engage Suppliers as part of elaborating a specification and/or to understand the parameters of a change prior to it progressing into one of the other change routes.
Changes progressing through this route are published for all relevant Suppliers to deliver i.e. the new or uplifted Standard may or may not apply dependent on the Capabilities which a Supplier has selected to support. Suppliers are expected to incorporate the cost of the capacity required to deliver items in the Managed Capacity route which have an Effective Date within the life-cycle of the Framework as part of their List Price set for that Framework. Suppliers must ensure that they make available sufficient capacity to deliver all the work specified via the Standards and Capabilities Roadmap which falls within the life-cycle of the applicable Framework. Capacity issues shall not relieve a Supplier of their obligations to achieve compliance with the relevant Standards by the set Effective Dates.
It is anticipated that the majority of changes in the Managed Capacity route which have an Effective Date within the life-cycle of the subsequent Framework will be discussed and agreed with Suppliers ahead of that Framework in order that Suppliers can set their List Price accordingly. However the Catalogue Authority reserves the right to add items to the Roadmap within the life-cycle of a Framework which will also become Effective during that Framework. Given that the Frameworks are expected to be relatively short, this is not expected to be a common scenario as any given Effective Date is likely to fall within a subsequent Framework, thus allowing a Supplier to re-set their List Price, however any such occurrence will be handled as per the terms set out in the Change Management and Roadmap Content ancillary document. It should also be noted that the Catalogue Agreement does not restrict the ad hoc resetting of the List Price subject to the conditions set out in the Commercial Standard and the Framework Agreement.
There will be four categories of change item within Managed Capacity:
- The key strategic (SRO Priority) changes, as agreed by the NHS England CCIO with the support of the Senior Responsible Owners (SRO) group which will need to be implemented by a set Effective Date within the life-cycle of the Framework. This is the group who are accountable for the prioritisation and delivery of the key Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England strategies and objectives (e.g. Secretary of State Technology Vision). These items will generally be agreed with Suppliers ahead of any Framework opportunity and should be accounted for in the List Price set for the Framework.
- Regulatory and legislative change which must be delivered by a set Effective Date. These items should be accounted for in the List Price set for the Framework.
- Minor and Patch uplifts to previously Published or Effective specifications which will be regular items on the Roadmap to account for small tweaks to existing specifications with Effective Dates every three months. These could include minor or patch uplifts to a range of Standards or Capabilities but the volume of change in each entry will be carefully monitored. It is anticipated that these uplifted specifications would be published a minimum of three months in advance of each Effective Date. As per the Change Management and Roadmap Content ancillary document, these items should be accounted for in the List Price set for the Framework.
- A list of other changes which deliver benefits to the NHS and which NHS Digital would like to be delivered. These items will have Published specifications and may or may not have Effective Dates. These items should not be accounted for in the List Price set for the Framework, however they may be associated with incentive payments for delivery of the change item within a particular bounded time period.
- For example - the introduction of a new version of the Electronic Prescribing Service (EPS). Plans could be issued by the NHS Digital spine team to retire old versions across the market in four years. The new specification which introduces a change to the existing EPS Standard could be Published alongside the Effective specification. Suppliers are then able to implement either the new Published version or the existing Effective one and both would be deemed as compliant. However, closer to the retirement date of the existing Effective specification (perhaps two and a half years in), an Effective Date by which Suppliers will need to have achieved compliance may then be set for the new Standard. Therefore until that point there will be a Published Standard which is not Effective.
When items in the Managed Capacity route are given an Effective Date, they become mandatory. Effective Dates will be objectively justified for the purpose of transparency and will determine the date by which all relevant Suppliers are required to have achieved compliance. The Effective Date will be set in conjunction with Suppliers as far as is reasonably practicable, however for some changes, especially those related to regulatory or legislative change, this may not be possible. Where a Supplier considers that it is unreasonable for them to achieve a given Effective Date, they must notify the Catalogue Authority as soon as is reasonably practicable. Suppliers will have the right to raise disputes in relation to any Effective Date which they consider to be unattainable with regard to the scope or complexity of the work item but valid reasoning will need to be provided.
Suppliers will generally be able to select and develop items in the Managed Capacity route in a manner to suit their development plans and approach, but must ensure that they deliver all the key strategic priorities identified by the NHS England SRO group and achieve compliance by the set Effective Dates. As per the Change Management and Roadmap Content ancillary document, Suppliers are expected to work with the Catalogue Authority to share and agree delivery plans and development milestones to ensure that obligations can be met.
All changes in the Managed Capacity route will appear on the Roadmap and will not be commissioned via a separate mechanism. The Roadmap will clearly display which of the four categories the item is in, the Effective Date and the availability of incentives where applicable.
Supplier capacity for participation in items in this route is in addition to any capacity or pricing assigned to changes in the Managed Capacity route. Additional funding may be made available for Opportunity Items. Changes progressing through this route will offer Suppliers the opportunity to develop and deliver certain changes early and ahead of the wider market (where applicable), to 'get ahead of the game' and increase the marketability of their products or allow for them to move into new markets and offer additional products and services through the Framework. These opportunities will be commissioned via the most appropriate Framework or procurement vehicle in current operation at the time and the parameters of each particular Opportunity Item, such as outcomes/outputs, timescales, any associated funding and which Suppliers will be eligible, will be determined on a case by case basis. There are two types of item in this route:
Alpha, Definition and First of Type (see the Change Management and Roadmap Content ancillary document). Opportunities for Suppliers to collaborate and co-produce specifications and to develop these up to the First of Type stage and to refine the specification before it is Published for all other relevant Suppliers to implement through the Managed Capacity route.
Other opportunities (see the Change Management and Roadmap Content ancillary document). Opportunities for the wider Supplier market to deliver changes such as new Capabilities or standalone features which do not necessarily have to be implemented by Foundation Solution Suppliers or Suppliers supporting a particular Capability. These opportunities may allow a Supplier to set their product apart from others and potentially enter new markets and gain market share or offer a product via the Framework which they may have not been able to previously. These are changes which may be more efficiently and effectively delivered by Suppliers who already have existing products to meet the desired business needs rather than commissioning bespoke development from existing Suppliers.
(See the Change Management and Roadmap Content ancillary document). The Feasibility Assessment process will be controlled in the same manner as the Opportunity Items. It is to cover change requests requiring an assessment involving input, analysis and feedback from Suppliers to assist in determining the feasibility, scope, sizing/complexity and nature of the change request prior to it progressing through one of the other change routes and also to assist in defining specifications. This is for work which does not require any development, but goes beyond the scope and time required for an RFI as set out in the Catalogue Agreement. Following completion of the Feasibility Assessment, the change may either be withdrawn or progressed via one of the other change routes.
Please refer to the Change Management and Roadmap Content ancillary document for information regarding Urgent Change.
RFI / Analysis only
Please refer to the Catalogue Agreement
Supplier Initiated Change
Supplier initiated changes are included on the diagram to reflect the fact that Suppliers have their own internal plans and roadmaps for product development and delivery which also require capacity and their own release cycles. These will be handled as per the relevant Service Management and Commercial Standards and Schedules.
As per the Change Management and Roadmap Content ancillary document, Suppliers are obliged to share their Delivery Plans in relation to items on the Roadmap with the Catalogue Authority to facilitate alignment of work items between these plans and the Standards and Capabilities Roadmap. This should include as a minimum:
- detail of which items they are currently working on
- target delivery and implementation dates
- any risks or challenges in meeting Effective Dates set
- information regarding which items they intend to develop next
- information regarding which Opportunity Items they intend to bid for
- some detail regarding alignment to the wider technology strategy of the Supplier and the NHS.
The earlier these plans are made available and the more detail they contain, then the development and delivery of the change should be more efficient and effective enabling the Supplier to meet Effective Dates and achieve incentives where available.
Change Management Process
This section is additional to any information contained within the Change Management and Roadmap Content ancillary document. It describes the proposed processes for managing the request, assessment and commissioning of change within the Authority and the addition of that change to the Roadmap.
The Digital Care Services Change Management process has been set up as a high level overarching process flow shown and explained below, and a series of sub processes which are detailed in the expandable sections beneath. Some of these sub-processes are covered in other documents or are determined on a case by case basis. This is primarily a process internal to NHS Digital, but Suppliers will be involved at various points and it is being shared for transparency as to how change requests will be handled.
The change process is triggered by the submission of a change request to the Digital Care Services Change team, including changes coming out of the Tech Strategy and the ongoing internal review of Standards and Capabilities. The change request process will be open for submissions at any time and changes will be submitted via a standardised form template giving the key information required regarding the change.
The change assessment process will analyse the details and background of the request to determine the most efficient and effective route for it to be progressed. It is made up of two key aspects:
- Entry Assessment. An internal assessment of the fundamental details and reasons behind the change request and consideration of the validity and necessity of the change to determine whether it should be progressed and added to the Roadmap. The intention of this stage is to filter out any requests which are not deemed to be necessary, are already in train with other work requests or which are not in a sufficient state of readiness to be progressed, such that Suppliers and other key stakeholders are not engaged in the work unnecessarily.
- Full Assessment. Analysis of the finer detail of the change request to consider the most appropriate change route and set the parameters for delivery and how the change will be commissioned.
Further definition of these stages is included in the processes below. There are three main outcomes following these initial assessments, although they may need to be repeated to refine the details of the request prior to a final decision being made:
- Rejected. Determined by the assessment team that the change should not be progressed. This may mean it is covered by or merged with other work, the request is not ready to be progressed or that it is in some way not suitable for the Digital Care Services change process i.e. it is not relevant to the current scope of Digital Care Services or may be better progressed via an alternate mechanism
- Withdrawn. Change requestor opts to withdraw the change following assessment and feedback
- Added to the Roadmap and assigned to a change route
- RFI and/or Feasibility Assessment
- Urgent Change
- Opportunity Item
- Managed Capacity
Rejected or Withdrawn end the change process for that submission, although it is expected that some of these changes may be resubmitted into the process down the line. Adding the change to the Roadmap triggers further processes which are detailed below.
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The first aspect of the Change Management Process is the Entry Assessment which considers the fundamental details of the request to assess the validity and necessity of the change to determine whether it should be progressed and added to the Roadmap. The first part of this is for the Digital Care Services Change team to confirm that the form submitted has been adequately completed and contains sufficient information for this assessment to be undertaken. If it has not been, then it will be returned to the requestor for further detail to be provided. Following this, there will be a brief meeting of relevant internal subject matter experts to consider the following aspects of the change request:
- Resource. Has the requestor indicated that they have resource available to elaborate the specification and deliver the change? If yes, what is that resource? If not, what are the plans for this?
- Funding. Has the requestor indicated that they have funding available to pay for the change e.g. fund an Urgent Change or Opportunity Item or offer delivery incentives etc.? Is there a Business Case in place?
- Necessity / Drivers. What are the key reasons behind the change request and why is it needed? What benefits does it bring?
- Strategic alignment. How does the change request align with key strategic drivers and policy initiatives?
- Standards and Capabilities alignment. An initial view of how this change request might impact the existing Capabilities and Standards or if it is something completely new.
- Readiness. Is the change requestor in a position to be able to progress the change now or is there significant additional groundwork to put in place first? Does the change requestor know clearly what they are asking for?
- Timescales. Are there any key delivery milestones, targets or timescales associated with the change and how does this fit with any dependencies etc.? What are the consequences of not meeting these timescales?
- Delivery options. What options may be available for the most efficient delivery of this change? This may involve options outside of the Digital Care Services change routes and processes or progressing the change as an RFI to Suppliers.
Consideration of these aspects of the change should enable the assessment team to determine the validity of the change and and provide a response and recommendation regarding whether it should be progressed or not. This may be an iterative process where the requestor is asked to provide additional information to refine their request, but will lead to one of four outcomes:
- Add to Roadmap and progress to Full Assessment
The first two outcomes end the change process for that request, the other triggers further processes which are detailed below.
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The Full Assessment process is triggered either by a change passing the Entry Assessment or following completion of an Opportunity Item where a change now needs to be published for all relevant Suppliers to implement. The Full Assessment process determines the route by which the change will be progressed and considers the details and parameters of that change such that it is clear to Suppliers what will need to be delivered and when. Some of the elements of this Full Assessment process have sub-processes and more detailed checklists etc. which are detailed below where applicable. In the case where a change is moving from an Opportunity Item or Feasibility Assessment into the Full Assessment process, then a new change form is not required and a discussion will be held between the Digital Care Services Change team and the change requestor to validate the original details given on the form and amend as necessary ahead of completing the Full Assessment.
The Full Assessment process will include analysis of the elements listed below in order to determine the most appropriate change route for this request and the parameters associated with it. This will be completed by the Digital Care Services Change team, engaging the support of the relevant subject matter experts and Suppliers on each of the elements of this as required to ensure a consistent and fully considered assessment. This will include consultation with representatives from Business Analysis, Technical Architecture, Solutions Assurance, Service Management, Information Governance, Finance, Commercial, Buying Catalogue, Clinicians and other system users and other specialist teams as required, as well as Suppliers. Supplier engagement in this process will be managed via the RFI process, the Feasibility Assessment route or another suitable procurement vehicle or commissioning route which is available at the time. Depending on the nature of the change in question and the Capabilities and standards which are impacted, this engagement may either be mandatory or optional for Suppliers.
- Align to Capabilities and Standards Model
- Alignments and Dependencies (with other work)
- Consider Dates and Timescales
- Consider Incentives and Funding
- Sizing and Complexity
- Urgent Change assessment
- Confirm Effective Date and incentives (if applicable)
Further information regarding the details of each of these aspects of the assessment is included below. At any point of this assessment process, it may be necessary to escalate either by convening a meeting between relevant stakeholders or by sending to a board or other governance group to make a final decision on certain elements of the change assessment. This will be particularly important for prioritisation where the NHS England SRO group will determine the key strategic priorities for the subsequent period. Once all the details are agreed, the Roadmap entry can be updated and the change will progress into one of the defined change routes.
The following table sets out some general guidelines for assessing the most suitable change route, however this is not exhaustive and change requests will need to be considered case by case:
|Guideline / Criterion||If 'yes', which change route|
|Meets Urgent Change assessment criteria||Urgent Change|
|New Capability or standalone feature which does not need to be developed by a Foundation Solution Supplier||Other Opportunity|
|Programme not ready to progress, further information and Supplier feedback required and/or need to understand the extent to which something is possible||RFI / Feasibility Assessment|
|Regulatory or legislative change||Managed Capacity|
|National or international Standard with clear Effective Date||Managed Capacity|
|Work item such as a new interface or messaging spec which requires pilot testing or collaboration on development of the specification||Alpha / FoT Opportunity|
|Change request which has already progressed through Opportunity Items route in some cases||Managed Capacity|
The Roadmap will be published as a living document for all relevant stakeholders, but is especially important for Suppliers and Buyers. Ahead of each new iteration of the Framework, the content of the Roadmap will be consulted on with the NHS England CCIO and SRO group to determine the key strategic priorities for the next period and the associated Effective Dates. This will also be discussed with Suppliers to assess the achievability of the changes to become Effective during the lifecycle of the Framework. This may result in the need for some reassessment and the adjustment of items on the Roadmap, however Suppliers would be able to account for this in their costing and pricing analysis for the subsequent Framework. Should there be any impact on items within the current live Framework or items which a Supplier has already begun working on, then this would be discussed with the Supplier as required. Appropriate governance forums will be in place to ensure Suppliers are fully informed about amendments to the Roadmap and have the opportunity to provide feedback and challenge regarding this and any other aspect of the change process. It should also be noted that the Catalogue Agreement does not restrict the ad hoc resetting of List Price if required subject to the conditions set out in the Commercial Standard and Framework Agreement.
Align to Standards and Capabilities Model
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The change request will need to be aligned to the Capabilities and Standards Model to determine whether it is:
- a new Standard or Capability
- a change/uplift to an existing Standard or Capability
- a replacement of an existing Standard or Capability
This assessment will also consider which of the Capabilities and Standards are impacted by the change request. This is crucial information for Suppliers as it will determine which Roadmap items they need to be most aware of based on the Capabilities which their Solution supports. This information will be set out on the Roadmap and applicable Confluence pages. An additional element of this to be considered alongside the sizing/complexity assessment is the iteration of the version number and whether the change request constitutes a major, minor or patch uplift to the impacted Standards and Capabilities. The definitions and approach to versioning and patch, minor and major changes are set out in the section below.
Alignments and Dependencies
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The change request will need to be assessed against other known work items to consider any alignments and dependencies with other work which is on the Roadmap or is progressing through the change process. Dependencies may impact the change route and timescales for delivery and commissioning of the change. Alignments may mean that the change is not required or can be merged with other work to prevent duplication of effort. These details will be provided, where known, by the change requestor in the change request form and will then be validated by the Digital Care Services Change team and a subject matter expert review group. Where applicable, any necessary details will be highlighted via the Roadmap. It may also be necessary to consult with Suppliers via the RFI mechanism on this aspect of the assessment process.
Set Dates and Timescales
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Any key timescales, deadlines and required Effective Dates associated with the change request will be considered along with the reasons for these. The validity of an Effective Date will need to be verified and a objective rationale for the date will need to be provided e.g. legislative or regulatory changes, hard dependencies. This information will be made available to Suppliers where possible.
All mandatory changes in the Managed Capacity route will have an Effective Date. However there will also be items in this route which are Published but do not have an Effective Date. Incentives for delivery of the change may be offered for items with or without an Effective Date. This aspect of the Full Assessment process will be an initial consideration of these dates which will then be confirmed following the completion of the assessment process. For items which are likely to progress via Opportunity Items, then this will consider the timescales and parameters for the commissioning and competition process and there would then be a reassessment and setting of a final Effective Date for all relevant Suppliers should the change then move into Managed Capacity. Timescales and delivery dates for Urgent Changes are likely to be considered and discussed outside this assessment process on a case by case basis.
An additional part of this may also include the consideration of incentives and if and when they may be applied to the change.
Suppliers will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the achievability of Effective Dates assigned to items in the Managed Capacity route ahead of the Framework in which they are due to become Effective and will be consulted via the appropriate mechanisms in any case.
Determine Incentives and Funding
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Opportunity Items and Urgent Changes are likely to have additional and separate funding beyond the List Price set by Suppliers. The amount and source of this funding will need to be agreed as part of determining the parameters of the Opportunity Item or commissioning an Urgent Change.
Any resource and capacity required by Suppliers for development of Managed Capacity items will need to be covered under the List Price agreed at the start of a Framework, although it should be noted that the Catalogue Agreement does not restrict the ad hoc resetting of the List Price subject to the conditions set out in the Commercial Standard and the Framework Agreement if required. Managed Capacity items will only be commissioned via the Roadmap and may not be funded in any other way, particularly in the case of regulatory or legislative change. However, there will be some items in the Managed Capacity route where incentives are available to Suppliers to encourage delivery of the change within a bounded time period. Incentivisation may be offered whether the change has an Effective Date or not. As per the Change Management and Roadmap Content ancillary document, a list of Standards for potential incentivisation will be maintained by the Catalogue Authority.
Some draft guidelines for when an incentive may be attached to a particular change item have been compiled as follows:.
No incentives are likely to be offered if:
- Suppliers have already been funded for the change by an alternate mechanism (with the possible exception of Opportunity Items dependent on the arrangements for the Opportunity Item)
- There is insufficient time between the start of a Framework and the Effective Date of the change item and/or in the case of the first Framework, the Effective Date is before the Framework must go live (e.g. January 2020)
- The change has been mandated via other mechanisms e.g. ISN or legislation/regulation
Incentives may be offered if:
- It is an important change with high perceived Supplier difficulty
- The Effective Date is well into the future, but significant benefit to the Authority is identified
- The item falls into the Managed Capacity - Other category and there is no set Effective Date, but there is significant benefit to the change and the Authority would like to encourage Suppliers to deliver the change during a certain bounded time period
Sizing and Complexity
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Digital Care Services are looking to avoid commissioning single large change items, instead aiming to chunk up work into smaller deliverables to offer greater flexibility to Suppliers in how they deliver work and to ensure that all available capacity is not taken up by a single item. Therefore an assessment of the size and complexity of the change will be required. It is recognised that Suppliers have different systems and architectures and therefore what is a small change for one Supplier, may be a big change for another. Therefore it will be necessary to seek Supplier input on this aspect of the assessment process.
Suppliers will be engaged using the RFI and Feasibility Assessment routes and/or any other appropriate commercial mechanism as required to gain input on this aspect of the assessment process.
Urgent Change Assessment
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The change request will be assessed against the criteria set out in the Change Management and Roadmap Content ancillary document to determine whether it may be classed as an Urgent Change and hence progressed via that route.
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The high priority strategic changes for the next period and in particular the next Framework will be identified by the NHS England CCIO with the support of the NHS England Senior Responsible Owners (SRO) group. This will set the most important changes for the subsequent time period and indicate the desired Effective Date by which Suppliers will need to have achieved compliance. The SRO priorities form one of the categories of work items within the Managed Capacity change route and this information will be shown via the Roadmap. Change requests progressing through the Opportunity Items route may also be identified as SRO priorities and this will indicate that these items are likely to be progressed as a priority.
The change items which have been identified as key strategic priorities by the SRO group will and published via the Roadmap in advance of a Framework opportunity being issued to allow for Suppliers to analyse the ask, assess the feasibility and set a suitable List Price to account for the development work required. Where Suppliers wish to challenge these items and the Effective Dates given against them, then this will be taken on board and fed back to the SRO group where the reasoning is justifiable and material.
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As described in the Principles section, changes impacting Standards will be handled differently to those impacting Capabilities due to the way in which they are linked to the Catalogue Agreement and Frameworks. As such and given that Standards and Capabilities are linked, it is necessary to assess whether a change to a Standard has a significant impact on the scope of one or more Capabilities. This is known as the Materiality assessment. To summarise:
- Standards are linked directly to the Catalogue Agreement and Suppliers must maintain compliance with Standards as per the terms of that agreement. As such, Standards can be introduced independently of the Frameworks.
- Capabilities are linked directly to the Frameworks, therefore any change which introduces a new Capability or alters the scope of an existing Capability in a significant manner can only be introduced along with a new Framework opportunity, although may be published at any point.
The majority of Standards are linked to Capabilities (and vice versa), therefore a key part of the change assessment process is to establish which Standards and Capabilities the change will impact (as set out above) and hence if there is a material impact on the scope of one or more Capabilities. The main principles of the Materiality assessment are as follows:
- Each change will be treated independently with respect to the Materiality assessment process i.e. if there have been previous changes impacting the same Capability within the life-cycle of the Framework, this is of no consequence
- If changes are merged for some reason then this should be reassessed as a whole as a new work item
The Materiality assessment is only applicable to items in the Managed Capacity change route. It is anticipated that only a limited number of changes would be considered as material and the Opportunity Items route could be used as an alternative for delivery in some cases to progress the delivery of a Capability prior to a new Framework. This is a subjective assessment in which stakeholders will be involved as required, but the following diagram sets out some guidelines and key aspects which should be considered as part of this:
The table below summarises the content of the process set out above.
|Test||Materiality Assessment likely outcome|
|New Capability or Feature||Material (or to Opportunity Item route)|
|Only impacts Overarching Standard or Interoperability Standard||Not Material|
|Fully covered by existing Epics and Acceptance Criteria||Not Material|
|One or more Epics or Acceptance Criteria to be REMOVED||Not Material|
|One or more Epics or Acceptance Criteria to be ADDED||Material|
|Change to Epics or Acceptance Criteria which required changes to Epic(s) and/or DOES impact what a Supplier has to do||Material|
|Change to Epics or Acceptance Criteria which only impact Acceptance Criteria and/or DOES NOT impact what a Supplier has to do||Not Material|
The consequences of these outcomes are as follows:
- If the change DOES NOT have a material impact on the scope of a Capability, then it can be introduced at any point irrespective of Framework life-cycles with fair warning, likely via the Managed Capacity route as per the terms of the Change Management and Roadmap Content ancillary document
- If the change DOES have a material impact on the scope of a Capability, then it can only become Effective when a subsequent Framework opportunity is made available for Suppliers. However it may be that the change could follow the Opportunity Items route ahead of this and there is no restriction on developing and issuing a Published specification such that Suppliers can begin working towards it in advance of supporting it via the next Framework if they wish to do so.
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A change will enter the Managed Capacity route having been through the Full Assessment process and it may already have progressed as an Opportunity Item before the change is published for all relevant Suppliers to implement. The first consideration is to confirm whether the change is fully specified and agreed or not. This will include the requirements for Suppliers to develop against, but also all the necessary approvals, assurance documentation, plans for Business as Usual operations and any other implementation guidance or associated documentation which might be required. If this is not in place then it will be necessary to engage Suppliers and also other stakeholders in order to define and agree the change specifications and other related documentation. Suppliers will be engaged in this work via the RFI process, the Feasibility Assessment route or any other suitable Framework or procurement vehicle which may be available at the time. Change requestors are expected to make arrangements for any necessary resource required for any activities needed to engage stakeholders and Suppliers in order to elaborate the change specification. The role of the Digital Care Services Change team is to facilitate and oversee the process rather than define the change or be directly involved in these activities.
Once all the necessary documentation is defined and agreed, a checklist to validate the quality and completeness of the specifications will be applied by the Digital Care Services Change team to confirm that it is suitable for publication and Supplier implementation. Details of this checklist will be provided below once confirmed. Should the change specifications not meet the requirements of the checklist, then there would be a need for the specifications to be refined prior to be being Published. Once this checklist has been passed, the parameters of the change such as the Effective Date, prioritisation, sizing, timescales, incentives etc. will then be verified prior to publishing the specification and ensuring the Roadmap is updated with all the necessary details.
Suppliers can then select to begin development on the work when they are ready and have capacity to do so and some guidelines regarding the selection of work items are set out below. When an item is selected, this starts an iterative cycle of development and assurance as per the mechanisms and terms set out in the change specification and the relevant Digital Care Services compliance and assurance approach documentation until the work is complete and a Development Milestone Achievement Certificate (DevMAC) is awarded.
Once the DevMAC has been awarded, it is necessary to consider the award of any compliance or incentive payments which may be available for that work item. The Charging and Invoicing Schedule sets out the terms and conditions for award of any compliance and incentive payments which may be available for items on the Roadmap.
If there is any disagreement regarding whether the Effective Date or the parameters of any available incentives have been met, then the Dispute Resolution Procedure will be followed.
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This is the checklist to ensure that the specifications for a change are adequately defined, implementable and in a suitable format, as well as being supported by the relevant accompanying documentation, such as assurance processes/approach, implementation guidance and plans for business as usual operations, ahead of it being given a status of Published. This is to ensure that Suppliers can select the item with full information available to them and that any delays to address clarifications with the specification or to agree and set up assurance processes is minimised.
The detail of this checklist is still in elaboration and will be added in here in due course. However given that draft specifications will have been made available for Suppliers ahead of this point and some items will have progressed through the Opportunity Items route ahead of being published via Managed Capacity plus the fact that the Digital Care Services Change team will have been monitoring the progress and development of the change, it is anticipated that this should be a fairly light touch process.
Supplier selects work item
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These are the guidelines which govern which items a Supplier can select from the items listed under Managed Capacity on the Roadmap. The key principles here include the following:
- Suppliers must ensure they are meeting their obligations with respect to the Catalogue Agreement and any Effective Dates set and must ensure they have capacity and resource available to do so
- Suppliers must prioritise work on those items categorised as 'SRO priority'
- Suppliers must share their delivery plans detailing how and when they will meet their Roadmap obligations with NHS Digital
- Suppliers can choose to target incentives for early delivery and Opportunity Items should they wish to do so, on the basis that it will not compromise their ability to meet Effective Dates and remain compliant with the Catalogue Agreement. Account managers should be informed of any intention to target these items
- Big and small items should be worked on in parallel and items can be selected individually or in groups based on Supplier development plans, capacity and methodologies
- Suppliers must inform their account manager at the earliest opportunity when they are selecting a new work item, changing what they are working on and/or where delivery timelines and the ability to meet Effective Dates is at risk.
These guidelines are not yet confirmed and will be elaborated and uplifted in due course if required.
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The Opportunity Item process is triggered by the identification of a change request as an Opportunity Item, either as a First of Type / Alpha phase, a wider market opportunity or as a Feasibility Assessment. There are some common elements to this process before it splits based on which type of opportunity it is. Suppliers should only bid for work in the Opportunity Items route where they can make resource and capacity available without compromising the delivery of the key strategic work items and mandated changes specified under Managed Capacity. Any capacity for Opportunity Items will not be included in that reserved for Managed Capacity or within the List Price.
Once a change request is identified as an Opportunity Item, it is first necessary to establish the parameters of the Opportunity Item and the competition which will be issued to engage Suppliers and commission the work. These will be agreed on a case by case basis and will include consideration of:
- Number of Suppliers to be engaged
- Which Suppliers the competition should be issued to
- Scope of the opportunity
- Desired outcomes
- Amount and source of funding available
- Timescales for completion of the opportunity and running the open competition
- Criteria for submitting and assessing bids
- Anticipated change journey following completion of the Opportunity Item
Once these details have been established between the change requestor, the Digital Care Services Change team and Commercial team, the opportunity can be issued to the market and eligible Suppliers can submit a bid as per the terms set. Opportunity Items will also appear on the Standards and Capabilities Roadmap highlighting the issue date of the open competition where known.
Those items which are First of Type / Alpha projects will then progress into an iterative cycle of collaborative requirements elicitation, development, assurance, pilot deployment and gathering feedback in a manner agreed between the parties involved until a First of Type deployment can be completed and a final specification is agreed. Once First of Type deployment has been successfully completed, this will trigger the award of any payment available as per the terms of the opportunity. The specification will then go back through the Full Assessment process to set the parameters of the work before it moves into the Managed Capacity route and is Published for all relevant Suppliers.
Those items which are Other Opportunities for the wider market will then progress to development and assurance as per the terms agreed with the selected Suppliers. The development aspect of this would be expected to be fairly minimal in this case as the intention is to commission Suppliers with products which already support a significant proportion of the desired functionality rather than requiring bespoke development. Once this has been completed, the product will need to be signed off by the relevant parties as per the agreed assurance approach and a DevMAC can be awarded. In some cases, these products may then need to be integrated with the Foundation Solutions. Where this is not the case, the new product will be added to the Catalogue and deployed to users as required. Where integration is required, this is likely to require work from the Foundation Solution Suppliers and therefore this work will go back into the Full Assessment process and move in to Managed Capacity to be Published for all relevant Suppliers to implement once the parameters have been agreed.
Those items which require a Feasibility Assessment prior to definition and delivery of the change will also progress through this route. These are items which may already have been through an RFI / Analysis only process to gather information from Suppliers, as per the terms of the Catalogue Agreement, but have been determined to be beyond the scope of that route and require additional effort from Suppliers. Therefore they will be subject to a competition to appoint or mandate Suppliers to undertake a feasibility analysis and provide feedback to determine how best to progress the change request. Once this assessment has been completed and returned to NHS Digital, the responses will be analysed and the change requestor will decide whether they wish to progress with the change request in which case it will move back into the Full Assessment process, or if they will withdraw and reconsider the request.
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When an Urgent Change is identified as per the criteria outlined above, the Urgent Change process will begin. These changes need to be defined and implemented quickly so engagement with stakeholders and Suppliers will be minimal, but will still be undertaken as far as possible.
An Urgent Change Statement of Works which outlines the high level ask will be issued to the applicable Suppliers (i.e. those Suppliers who support the Capabilities which are impacted by the change) to engage them in the process of definition and delivery of the change and to commission the work. Due to the urgent nature of these changes, it is anticipated that Suppliers may begin development work in advance of having a final and confirmed specification for this items.
The specification will be worked into the Standards and Capabilities model to ensure that any Supplier who may wish to onboard a product against that particular Capability on a future Framework supports this Urgent Change work item.
Standards and Capabilities Versioning
As per Section 1 of this document, all Capabilities and Standards will have a version number. These version numbers will be in the format "a.b.c", where:
- a = major version
- b = minor version
- c = patch version
Some key principles regarding these version numbers are set out below:
- When a major version number is updated, the equivalent minor and patch version numbers will be reset to zero (e.g. 2.1.2 becomes 3.0.0)
- Version numbers for Capabilities and Standards are independent of any Framework and will therefore carry over if no updates are to be made between Frameworks
- Capabilities and Standards (including Capability Specific Standards) will have separate version numbers which will be iterated independently i.e. if the Prescribing Standard moves from v1.0.0 to v1.1.0, this does not always mean that the version number of the Prescribing Capability will also change.
- Any time a change is introduced which impacts an existing Capability and/or Standard, the version number will be iterated.
- The iteration of version numbers only applies to changes which impact an existing specification. Specifications for new Capabilities and Standards will always be major changes and will always be set at version 1.0.0 when initially Published.
The definitions of major, minor and patch and how it would be determined as to whether a particular change requires a major, minor or patch change to the version number are detailed below. It should be noted that there is not necessarily a 'one size fits all' definition of these terms as what applies to an API for example would likely be very different to what applies to the Epics and Acceptance Criteria which make up a Capability. Therefore these definitions have been deliberately left fairly broad and they would be assessed accordingly as part of the change process. In the case of changes to APIs, these have been based around https://semver.org/.
Major: Change has a material impact on Capability or Standard and Suppliers will need to update their Solutions to remain compliant AND/OR a version when breaking or incompatible (i.e. not backwards compatible) changes are made.
Minor: Change does not have a material impact on Capability or Standard, but indicates a Supplier may need or wish to update their Solution AND/OR a version when larger non-breaking changes or a significant number of smaller non-breaking (i.e. backwards compatible) changes are made; or an unsubstantive breaking change is made.
Patch: Change does not have a material impact on Capability or Standard and minimal or no update to Supplier Solutions is required such as the introduction of additional guidance or clarifications, correction of grammatical errors or typos, restructure or reformatting of requirements AND/OR a version when smaller non-breaking changes or backwards compatible bug fixes are made.
How will version uplifts be handled through the Change process?
All changes entering the Change Management Process will be assessed to determine whether they are a patch, minor or major uplift to a specification and the parameters of the change and Effective Dates will be set accordingly as per the processes set out above.
There may be scenarios where a specification which has been Published in the Managed Capacity route and given an Effective Date needs to be amended for some reason and changes what a Supplier is required to deliver, or may already have delivered. It is hoped that this will not be a common scenario, although it is more likely to apply to some things (e.g. APIs and messaging specifications) than others. The following mechanisms and principles will be used to manage this:
Major changes: Any revisions which are assessed as major changes will be assessed through the Change Management Process and the Effective Dates and other parameters associated with the change adjusted accordingly to account for the work required from Suppliers. The Roadmap would be updated as necessary to reflect this change and this may be subject to the restrictions set out in the Change Management and Roadmap Content ancillary document.
Minor or patch changes: There will be items on the Roadmap in the Managed Capacity route with Effective Dates every three months to cover minor and patch uplifts to a range of existing specifications which are either Effective or Published. For example, each entry on the Roadmap could cover possible uplifts to GP Connect interfaces, IM1, GP2GP or other APIs or messaging specifications etc. but there would not be an uplift to all of these within each and every entry on the Roadmap. The scope of what is included within these will be carefully managed and monitored. Suppliers will be expected to allow capacity for these items within their List Price.
Taking this approach sets a regular rhythm for Suppliers in keeping up to date with the latest versions of specifications and allowing them to plan for this, but also for Programmes in managing their specifications and knowing when they can release patch or minor uplifts and when they can expect that they will be developed. It is expected that the details of what is to be included in each 3 monthly Roadmap entry and the specifications will be published a minimum of 3 months ahead of each Effective Date.
Digital Care Services Standards and Capabilities Roadmap
The Digital Care Services Roadmap ('the Roadmap') will provide a single, summary view of all the changes and opportunities for Suppliers regarding new and uplifted Standards and Capabilities, whichever route they are to be progressed through. This may include 'Horizon' items which Digital Care Services are aware of and are expecting to be progressed via the defined change routes at some point further into the future, but which have not yet been formally requested and may not materialise. The Roadmap will be the only mechanism by which changes in the Managed Capacity route will be commissioned. Changes following other routes will be commissioned via separate mechanisms as described in the Change Management and Roadmap Content ancillary document, but will still be displayed on the Roadmap. .
What information will be shown on the Roadmap?
The Roadmap will include a summary of information to ensure Suppliers are fully aware of the changes that are required and the opportunities which are available to them. Some of the data items are common to all change routes, and other data items are specific to a particular change route. The table below sets out the information to be included. Horizon items are not included in this table as they will not have been assigned to a change route and there is likely to be limited information available about the change. Dependent on the final form presentation of the Roadmap, certain information, such as the change route, may not be given in distinct fields and may instead be represented in an alternate format, such as in labelled swim lanes or with colour coding or sections.
|Field name||Field content|
|Title||A unique name for the change|
|Description||A very brief summary of the change|
|Date added||The date the item was added to the Roadmap |
All Roadmap entries will be set to a type of 'Roadmap'
NB. Once the change specification is Published, the equivalent field on the page for the Published specification will be updated to one of the other options (i.e. Overarching, Interoperability, Capability Specific, Context Specific) to reflect the type of entity the change relates to e.g. if it is a change to the Prescribing Standard, this entry would then become 'Capability Specific Standard'
|Standards/Capabilities||List of the existing Standards and/or Capabilities which are impacted by the change|
Which of the designated change routes the item is going through or Horizon if not yet determined. Options for:
- Managed Capacity - SRO priority
- Managed Capacity - Legislation/Regulation
- Managed Capacity - Minor/Patch uplifts
- Managed Capacity - Other
- Opportunity Item - Alpha/FoT
- Opportunity Item - Other opportunity
- Feasibility Assessment
- Urgent Change
NB. This is likely to be represented in a different format on the Roadmap view rather than in a separate field
An indication as to the type of change this is:
- New (brand new standard/capability not specified before e.g. GP Data, DCH)
- Uplift (uplift to an existing spec e.g. eMED3)
- Replace (replacement of an existing Standard e.g. PCRM, NHS ID)
The status of the change item, which also includes the status of the specification within that. Options to be:
- Confirmed (change items which have completed the assessment process and have been assigned to a change route, indicating that they will be progressed)
- Open competition (used only for Opportunity items where the open competition process is in progress)
- Draft (definition of the change specification is ongoing and Suppliers are being engaged in some way)
- Published (specification for the change is finalised and available for Suppliers. May be assigned an Effective Date at this point, but some changes may not progress beyond this)
- Effective (move to this status when the Effective Date is reached, it indicates that this is now a live specification with which Suppliers will be compliant)
- Closed (indicates items which are now not going to be progressed for some reason)
NB. This field will be marked as 'n/a' for Horizon items. There will only be one Status entry for each Roadmap item
The Effective Date of the change
NB. This will not be set for some items in Managed Capacity and does not apply to Opportunity Items or Horizon
|Incentives / Funding||An indication of whether additional incentives or funding will be available for this change |
|Incentive Dates||The dates during which the incentive applies|
A unique ID for the Roadmap entry in the format "RMXX"
NB. Once the change specification is Published, the equivalent field on the page for the Published specification will be updated to reflect the type of entity that this is e.g. if it is a change to the Prescribing Standard, this entry would become 'S14' ; if this is a new or replace item, then a new ID in the same format will be created.
The version number of the Roadmap entry in the format a.b.c to indicate when changes have been made to the Roadmap entry, such as a new draft specification being issued or an amendment to one of the parameters associated with the change.
NB. Once the change specification is Published, the equivalent field on the page for the Published specification will be updated in alignment with the version number of the Standard or Capability which is being uplifted or be set to 1.0.0 if this is a new or replace item.
In addition to the Roadmap, each Capability and Standard on Confluence contains a Roadmap section linking to a page which details any Roadmap items related to that Capability or Standard and the details of that change. There is also a central Roadmap page on Confluence where a full list of Roadmap items will be available with a summary of information similar to the above.
The Roadmap area of Confluence presents the details of the items on the Roadmap.