TechForce19 - FAQs and Supplier Queries
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FAQS
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QuestionAnswer
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What is TechForce19?TechForce19 is a programme aimed at finding companies with technology solutions that can be deployed rapidly to help support vulnerable, elderly and self-isolating people during the Covid-19 crisis
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How does the application process work?The first step is to submit your application here (https://techforce19.typeform.com/to/pfMP4z). Shortlisted companies will be invited to attend an online interview.
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Who can apply?Companies with tech solutions that can help support vulnerable, elderly and self-isolating people during the Covid-19 crisis can apply
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I am not UK based, can I apply?Yes, you can. However, you will be required to deploy the technology in the UK, and must be able to allocate resources quickly to do that.
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I don't have a working product, can I apply to the programme?We are looking for working technologies that can be deployed quickly and have the potential to rapidly scale nationally (not ideas / wireframes / Proof of Concepts)
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I have never worked with the public sector, can I apply?Yes, you are welcome to apply. The expression of interest form asks you to outline what traction you have with the health sector, public sector and/or private sector.
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Can I partner with another company to provide the required solution?Yes, that is possible. Applications are individual, but you are welcome to suggest potential partners in the application form.
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Can you provide more details about the themes of the challenge?There are three subthemes, listed below.
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1) Remote social care:
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Finding healthy and qualified carers who can provide support for those in need
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Managing and delivering care in care homes
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Delivering domiciliary care and technology in the home
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2) Optimising staffing in the care and voluntary sectors:
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Recruiting, training and certifying of doctors and nurses and professional carers
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Volunteering – recruiting and triaging volunteers into clinical and non-clinical workers
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Projecting demand for health and care workers across the country to improve deployment and management of resources
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Tackling data gaps in the care sector to understand the financial sustainability and needs of care businesses
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3) Mental health:
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Discovering and delivering mental health services
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Accessing relevant and inclusive peer 2 peer communities
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Supporting self-management of mental health and well-being
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Facilitating employee well-being
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If I get selected, do I get financial support?NHSx, along with Public and the AHSNs are going to be selecting 20 winners to test their solutions who will be funded up to £25k each to deploy their technology. Funds are for technology testing of deployment, not product development.
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Will the selected companies automatically get a further deployment of their technology after the test phase?Following the completion of the trial and testing period NHSx and Partners will consider the best route for further development of the solutions in order for them to best benefit people during the Covid-19 emergency. This follow-on process will be let in accordance with public procurement regulations however under the emergency provisions we may select a solution or solutions to work with during the duration of the Covid-19 emergency, alternatively, we may run a further competition for those suppliers successful in the initial round or an accelerated procurement process in the wider market. Either way, if we utilise the emergency provisions we anticipate that we may need to run a full competitive process after the Covid-19 emergency, if ongoing commissioning is required. NHSx and its partners do not guarantee any future contracts or funding will be available.
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Who is running this programme?Techforce19 is a programme run by NHSx, managed by PUBLICand the AHSNs.
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Who is the Health Innovation NetworkHealth Innovation Network (https://healthinnovationnetwork.com/)is the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for south London, one of 15 AHSNs across England. As the only bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry, we are uniquely placed to increase the spread and adoption of innovation across large populations, at pace and scale. AHSNs operate with three core aims: improving outcomes for patients, driving down costs and stimulating economic growth. the Health Innovation network is a founding partner of DigitalHealth.London (https://digitalhealth.london/).
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Who is PUBLIC?PUBLIC (https://www.public.io/) invests in, builds and supports technology startups that want to transform the public sector. Operating at the nexus between public and private sectors, PUBLIC is building a new kind of venture firm - combining capital, support and intensive mentoring for founders and startups, with deep technology, insight and engineering expertise.
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Who is NHSX?NHSX (https://www.nhsx.nhs.uk/) is a National Health Service new unit driving forward the digital transformation of health and social care.
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When are applications closing?April 1st, at 12 noon.
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When will I hear from you?We will respond to every applicant in the next three weeks at the latest.
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Who is sponsoring this programme?NHSX is providing financial support to 20 winners.
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Does my solution have to use technology ?Yes, we are looking for technology solutions.
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My product doesn't fit any aspects of the challenge, can I apply?No, sorry. We are looking for solutions addressing the challenges stated on our website.
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What time commitment will the programme require on my side?Shortlisted companies will have to take time to attend the online interview and potentially go through a further due diligence processes. We will work with each company on a case by case basis depending on the aspect of the challenge they are going to solve. Some technology solutions may then be deployed more widely following this initial test phase. Contracts will need to be signed for funding to be made available - it is likely that the contract will be with Guy's and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, and a sample contract will be posted on the website in the next few days.
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What are the timescales for funding, selection and implementation?The selection process will take place in the week of March 30th. Selected solutions will work on a tight timeline, with the view to be able to test and potentially deploy their technologies in a matter of weeks.
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What future commercial opportunities are available to successful companies?We will work with each company on a case by case basis depending on the aspect of the challenge that will be solve. Whilst the ambition is for deployment to deal with the Covid-19 crisis, any further work and funding will be completely dependent on the outcome of the initial test phase and will be undertaken on a case by case basis, in line with public procurement regulations. This could include further competition for those suppliers successful in the initial round or may be run via an accelerated procurement process. Please note however, there is no guarantee of further contracts or funding.
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How can I ensure interoperability with NHS or social care systems?For the purposes of the initial test phase, given the short timeframes, your technology solution will have to be be able to demonstarte benefits whilst operating on a stand-alone basis with no integrations with health or care systems. We request that you highlight requirements for interoperability for additional benefits at a later stage or bigger scale.
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How can I get in touch with you?To ensure a transparent process NHSX and PUBLIC will deal with all queries publically. Please fill in the contact form with your question(s) - https://techforce19.typeform.com/to/MaOJf6. All questions with answers will be posted anonymously online, and companies involved will receive a notification when that happens. The deadline for questiosn is noon on Friday 27th March 2020, and we will endevour to have answers online by 5pm on that day.
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How will the technology be tested?We are keen to hear from you. As part of the expression of interest, we ask how you would conduct a 2 week initial test phase with a budget of £25k.
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What if I can't do an initial test phase within the £25k budget?Do still apply to the challenge and state why you aren't able to do an initial test phase within the £25k budget, and how much funding you require. If you are able to source funding to make up the difference please state the source(s) and amounts. There is no guarantee that further funding will be available, however if you have a shortfall, we don't want to discount technology solutions until they have been reviewed as there could be other sources of funding available. Programmes that are fully funded could score higher on the 'feasibility of the solution' criteria and 'company credibility' criteria.
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What about cyber security?During the selection process, companies will be required to indicate if they have any public sector specific cyber security accreditation for example, cyber essentials. Decisions will be made on what accreditations are required based on the scope of the initial test stage
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Will any of these solutions be classed as a medical device e.g. mental health apps?If the product is classed as a medical device it will need to have appropriate regulatory clearance (for example, CE Marking).
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What about clinical assurance and safety?These challenges do not aim to solve clincial problems. However, all proposed technology solutions will be required to demonstrate that they can be deployed safely and will not exacerbate the Covid-19 crisis.
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What are the contractual arrangements? IP - who owns this?The company will retain all their IP for their proposed solution for the purposes of the initial test phase.
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What are the service gaps that we need to cover?This depends on the aspect of the challenge. For the initial test phase we are interested in hearing what companies would do, and what service gaps they would cover.
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Will personal data be collected? How will this be hosted and managed?Companies proposing technology solutions will be required to demonstrate that they can deploy their technology solution whilst being fully compliant with all relevant data protection legislation, including but not limited to GDPR and the NHS data security and protection toolkit https://www.dsptoolkit.nhs.uk/
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Who will market the chosen technology solutions and drive scale?The applicant will remain responsible for any marketing or promotion of their solution, and NHSx and its partners do not guarantee any sales, revenue or future contracts. All further work will depend on the outcomes of the initial testing phase. This programme will adapt to the needs of NHSX in addressing the fast evolving nature of the Covid-19 crisis.
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How will this programme take into account the rapidly evolving nature of the Covid-19 crisis and NHSX's needs?Due to the fast evolving nature of the Covid-19 crisis, NHSX reserve the right to alter the terms of the competition to best address the needs of NHSX. All companies applying will be informed as soon as possible of any changes and be allowed to update their application accordingly. We ask for your understanding and flexibility in this matter as we seek technology solutions to best serve the nation at this time of crisis.
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Do I need evidence that my solution will deliver the benefit?Whilst is is challenging to have evidence that your solution will work in exactly this senario, solutions with a better evidence-base could score more highly in the criteria of 'solution feasibility', companies that have a track record of evidence generation could score higher in terms of 'company credibility' and solutions are clear about requirements for evidence for regulatory compliance could score higher in terms of 'digital maturity'.
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Do I need a site, people or population to trial my technology solution?Yes. Having a site, group of service users, population, patient group, community or customers who have agreed or are able to participate in the trial will be important to demonstate the criteria credibility of the company and feasibility of the solution. Please give contact details of the trails partners.
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Who is are the AHSNs?The AHSNs are the Academic Health Science Networks https://www.ahsnnetwork.com/). There are 15 AHSNs across England. As the only bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry, we are uniquely placed to increase the spread and adoption of innovation across large populations, at pace and scale. AHSNs operate with three core aims: improving outcomes for patients, driving down costs and stimulating economic growth.
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Who is the Academic Health Science Networks?The Academic Health Science Networks (https://www.ahsnnetwork.com/) or AHSNs are the only bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry, we are uniquely placed to increase the spread and adoption of innovation across large populations, at pace and scale. AHSNs operate with three core aims: improving outcomes for patients, driving down costs and stimulating economic growth. There are 15 AHSNs across England.
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What do you mean by carers?We would expect 'carers' to have an appropriate level of vetting and qualifications for the solution and circumstances, so this would include registrations, DBS (https://dbscheckonline.org.uk/) checks, in order to keep vulnerable people safe.
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What are the themes of the challenge?We believe new technologies can help support the vulnerable, elderly and self-isolating as COVID-19 continues to spread. Within this challenge, we are particularly looking for innovative solutions able to support in the following areas: 1. Remote social care; 2. Optimising staffing in care and volenteering sectors and 3. Mental health
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What do you mean by Remote Social Care solutions?We are particularly interested in solutions that support remote social care in the time of Covid19, through: 1. Finding healthy and qualified carers who can provide support for those in need; 2. Managing and delivering care in care homes; and 3. Delivering domiciliary care and technology in the home
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What do you mean by optimising staffing in care and volenteering sectors solutions?We are particularly interested in solutions that support optimising staffing in care and volunteering sectors in the time of Covid19, through: 1. Recruiting, training and certifying of doctors and nurses and professional carers; 2. Volunteering – recruiting and triaging volunteers into clinical and non-clinical workers; 3. Projecting demand for health and care workers across the country to improve deployment and management of resources; 4. Tackling data gaps in the care sector to understand the financial sustainability and needs of care businesses
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What do you mean by mental health solutions?We are particularly interested that support mental health in the context of Covid19 through: 1. Discovering and delivering mental health services; 2. Accessing relevant and inclusive peer 2 peer communities; 3.Supporting self-management of mental health and well-being; 4. Facilitating employee well-being
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Does the £25k funding include or exclude VATThe £25k includes VAT
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How do you define 'company'A legally defined entity
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