Case Study

ICS Procurement Collaborative

We supported the design, development, and implementation of a collaborative procurement function across North East London, including the delivery of over £1m in savings on non-pay spend, service specific ICS category strategies, and standardised processes


North East London (NEL) are one of the largest integrated care systems across England, formed of five Trusts, with a total third-party, non-pay spend over £1.2bn.

Akeso were engaged to analyse this spend and deliver £1m in cost savings efficiencies through the collaborative model, in addition to designing a new operating model for procurement services, develop collaborative category strategies, and transform singular service provisions into integrated delivery models.


  • Akeso developed an initial opportunity assessment analysing the ICS’s total £1.2bn non-pay spend (60% non-clinical products and services; 19% clinical products and services; and 21% on drugs)
  • From this, Akeso delivered a series of collaborative opportunity recommendations, which ranged from 3rd-party spend cost reduction initiatives to yield ‘hard’ benefits, to ‘softer’ service enhancement and capability development initiatives
  • We developed an overarching governance and reporting structure to track opportunities and value delivery and designed a detailed workstream and category management structure and supported value-delivery projects including; CIPs, procurement exercises, strategy design, and business case development across clinical products and services, estates and facilities, corporate services, and IT, data, and systems


Across the programme we developed and implementation a new collaborative operating model, including an overarching collaborative governance structure, delivered over £1m in collaborative annual savings, developed approved service specific business cases, consistent ways of working, processes, standardised templates, and the upskilling of NEL team members

NEL team

Contact our experts

Peter Marshall

Peter Marshall

Associate Director
Case Study

Contracting for Sample Processing in Health Research

Akeso provided procurement and contracting services to support the delivery of core services for this newly established Scientific Research Charity


Our Future Health, a charity establishing the UK’s largest ever health research programme, designed to enable the discovery of more effective approaches to prevention, detection and treatment of diseases.

The aim of the programme is to recruit 5 million adult volunteers that will provide information about their health, lifestyles and a sample of blood for genotyping and analysis.
Our Future Health required the procurement of services for blood sample processing, Genotype assay design, manufacture, genotyping services and sample storage.


Our Future Health were required to operate under PCR15 to procure and contract and without any in-house procurement expertise, the organisation needed to navigate all elements of this complex procurement including development of specifications and evaluation criteria and managing the tender process through to contract.

In addition, the volumes and timescales were still being developed and a solution was needed that could flexibly ramp up to meet the evolving needs of the programme but also needed to start within 8 months.

It was also recognised that some elements of the requirement were very specialist with limited providers. The client needed a solution that would provide the full service but allow for effective competition for all elements.

Akeso&Co supported Our Future Health by coordinating its significant scientific expertise with a PCR2015 compliant foundation in order to deliver this large and complex procurement.


Our Future Health now has the infrastructure in place to be able to process and genotype 5 million samples from the UK population to deliver the largest research programme of its kind. A key objective was to avoid any legal challenge to the process, meet the ambitious timescale whilst ensuring SME participation.

Contact our experts

Chris Robson

Chris Robson

Managing Director
Case Study

Pro-bono COVID-19 Grant Application Support to Homerton Healthcare Hospital Foundation Trust as the Lead Charity for North East London ICS


We supported Homerton Healthcare Hospital Foundation Trust pro-bono to secure over £950k funding across three Trust charities in the North East London ICS, working in community partnerships to bring measurable health outcomes to communities negatively impacted by COVID-19.

The Challenge:

In 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Captain Tom Moore and many others raised £150m for NHS Charities Together (NHSCT) in response to their COVID-19 Urgent Appeal. This funding was split into various programmes, namely the Stage 2 Community Partnership Grant, where the funds are distributed to Integrated Care Systems (ICS) across the country.

We were engaged by Homerton Healthcare Hospital Foundation Trust (HUHFT) as a lead charity to support the North-East London (NEL) ICS, providing a governance and project management structure throughout the application process.

Some of the key challenges identified included:

  • Ensuring equal management of the funds across the 3 Trust charities applying under NEL ICS
  • Managing different processes across the ICS
  • Responding to changing requirements for proposals and applications due to the novel nature of this Grant
  • Demonstrating each charity’s programmes met the community partnership guidelines


In response to the challenges identified at the beginning of the project, our first step was to set up weekly governance calls with representatives from all Trust charities within the NEL ICS. We used these meetings to agree and document terms of references for the group, how the money would be managed, and track each organisation’s progress.

Following this, we segmented both the proposal and application template from NHSCT into a clear and concise structure which could be used across the organisations applying within NEL.

We ensured each charity’s application clearly demonstrated the following:

  • Resulted in a measurable improvement in health outcomes for communities adversely affected by COVID-19
  • Involved a partnership with community organisations
  • Lead to a direct, positive impact on the NHS whilst responding to the COVID-19 pandemic


The full amount of over £950k (inclusive of an operational grant) was successfully awarded and shared equally across all 3 Trust charities.

Our governance meetings were particularly useful to bring all organisations together and share knowledge from their own applications, capturing lessons learnt for future Grants. They provided a platform for colleagues who carried out similar work to come together when they otherwise do not have many opportunities to.

Next Steps:

As the programmes go live, we will continue to provide governance and structure across the ICS, ensuring all organisations track the progress of their programmes in a standardised format. Interim reports are required to demonstrate the appropriate use of the funds in order to unlock future allocations of the Grant funds. As we did for the application process, we will provide a structure to the reports and build processes to easily demonstrate the organisation’s goals have been met to date.

Want to learn more about what we do? Sign up to our newsletter and receive our latest insights.

Contact our experts

Chris Robson

Chris Robson

Managing Director

Preparing for the challenges of tomorrow with robust continuity planning

Risk management processes play a key role in building the resilience a business needs to operate smoothly during disruption. This is particularly the case in pharmaceutical and MedTech businesses, in which supply chains are often complex and services are multi-layered.

Disruption can come in many forms, including challenges caused by the rapid growth to regulatory changes and rare but destabilising events such as the Covid-19 pandemic. A vigorous business continuity plan (BCP) enables businesses to weather these storms. They have also become a requirement in many commercial tendering processes, which puts companies that do not have one at a competitive disadvantage.

Here we explore how to successfully identify risks and prepare to mitigate them with a robust BCP.

Developing a business continuity plan

Although different parts of an organisation may understand the risks specific to their function, a holistic view of risk across a business is often lacking. Robust organisation-level BCPs will ensure there are structures in place to keep core services running in times of uncertainty and constraint.

The pharmaceutical sector is diverse and each BCP needs to be tailored to each organisation’s specific situation, but there are three overarching steps we would recommend you take when devising one:

  1. Carry out an enterprise-wide risk assessment process to identify, assess and prioritise key risks – to make the most of this exercise, you will want to engage with a broad group of stakeholders, from board level to teams on the ground, ensuring you cover a range of perspectives. This will involve interviews and workshops designed to identify and prioritise risks, pinpoint what risk management initiatives are already in place and establish who, if anyone, is responsible for managing each scenario. This process is likely to reveal risks that may not have been considered previously, which makes this part of the process so crucial.
  2. Examine if and how the risks that have been identified could impact the business and which functions need to be incorporated into business continuity planning – to understand the key priorities, we use our risk assessment matrix, which you can see below. This matrix helps create a risk register by plotting the likelihood of an event occurring against the extent of its impact on revenue and reputation.Akeso risk matrixAkeso risk matrix description
  3. Develop a contingency plan that responds to the information that has been gathered – it will set out the BCP structure and the core roles and responsibilities within it. This plan will also establish recovery strategies that will minimise the impact of any disruption and detail how they should be implemented.

This thorough three-step process will lead to a comprehensive plan that strengthens a business’s ability to respond effectively to change and disruption, as well as embrace the opportunities that often come with it.

A living document

When the facts change, plans need to change with them. The development of a BCP described above is not a one-off event, it is the start of an ongoing process.

From the beginning it should be established that roles and responsibilities outlined are continuous, and the risks posed to the organisation will be kept under regular review. In this way the BCP document can be amended and refined to reflect evolving circumstances.

Those responsible for certain risks can then playback renewed strategies with the business continuity management team, to meticulously test their logic and probable effectiveness.

Our planning in action

Akeso & Co put these principles into play when we developed a business continuity plan for a leading mid-sized pharma company with a range of licensed therapeutics.

As a growing business with a complex supply chain, the disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need to review and update its continuity plans, including assessing the vital third parties it works with.

A new plan then had to be developed that ensures the organisation and its network of manufacturing and distribution partners is able to respond quickly to disruption in the future. Together with the Chief Operating Officer and a senior team, we followed our three-step approach to do this.

Alongside common risks such as IT failure and disaster, we identified specific issues unique to their business model. For example, certain raw materials where supply could become constrained, and weaknesses in distribution channels such as the Suez Canal. We also located potential single points of failure, where one employee had sole responsibility for a business-critical relationship.

The BCP we developed has provided the business with a flexible framework that will enable the senior leadership team to overcome disruptions to critical business functions. They also now have visibility of the key risks facing the business, supported by effective controls and a process to monitor and manage changes to their risk profile.

Building this kind of agility into a pharma or MedTech organisation enables it to adapt to change and provide a continuous service to its clients. To discuss how Akeso & Co can strengthen your business’s ability to thrive during uncertainty, get in touch.