Quality and legal aspects in public care procurement
Journal article, 2016
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assess the applicability of care quality concepts as contract
award criteria for public procurement of health and social care, using the case of Sweden.
Design/methodology/approach – Based on a literature review, European and Swedish legal texts,
government regulations as well as 26 Swedish court review cases concerning care procurement have
Findings – Methods used for assessing care quality are seldom useful for predicting the quality to be
delivered by a potential contractor. Legal principles of transparency and equal treatment of tenderers
make it necessary to apply strict requirements for verification.
Research limitations/implications – Results refer primarily to a Swedish context but could be
applicable throughout the EU. Further studies of relations between award criteria and public/private
collaborative practices for improving care quality during contractual periods are desirable.
Practical implications – Local and regional procurement officials should benefit from a better
understanding of how quality criteria should be designed and applied to the award procedures for care
contracts. Care providers in the private sector would also be able to develop their quality strategies and
present their abilities more efficiently when tendering for public contracts.
Social implications – Issues of quality of health and social care are of obvious importance for social
sustainability. Public awareness of care quality problems is evident and often a cause of media concern.
Originality/value – This investigation pinpoints the difference between traditional care quality
thinking and the legal principles underlying contract award in public procurement of care services.