Central DH support for AQP in community services
During 2013/14, DH has continued its central support to help commissioners in qualifying providers where they had decided to extend patient choice of provider (AQP) to new services. This is a transitional measure, as commissioners establish themselves in the reformed system.
From 2014/15 onwards, qualification of providers will be entirely for commissioners to take forward with support from Commissioning Support Services, as required. DH will make available to commissioners the tools that are used to carry out the current qualification process (eg the AQP qualification questionnaire), alongside information currently held on the existing online AQP system about existing providers and commissioner offers.
In order to allow for an appropriate transition period for commissioners, as well as allowing DH enough time for information on the online system to be processed and data made available for commissioners, the following key cut-off dates will apply:
- No new AQP offers will be accepted on the online system after 5pm on Friday 29 November 2013. However, the DH Central Support Team will continue to provide support and undertake Stage 1 compliance checks outside of the online system.
- The AQP online system will be discontinued for use by commissioners with effect from 1 March 2014.
- Commissioners must therefore complete any AQP procurements that are in progress online prior to noon on 28 February 2014. 
- DH Central Support will cease on 14 March 2014. Both the email@example.com and the firstname.lastname@example.org mail boxes will be closed on this date.
What will happen to offers already in the system on 29 November but not complete?
Commissioners will have until noon on 28 February to complete all AQP procurements that are currently in progress, using the online system.
The DH Central Support Team will continue to do Stage 1 compliance checks until Friday 14 March 2014. Commissioners should send copies of the application forms to email@example.com. A detailed Stage 1 Compliance Report will be sent back once the compliance checks have been completed.
How should new offers be dealt with after 29 November?
After 29 November 2013 AQP Offers should continue to be advertised on NHS Supply2Health and be processed by commissioners using their local systems.
After Friday 14 March 2014 commissioners will need to complete their own Stage 1 compliance checks as this will no longer be supported centrally. Information detailing the Stage 1 Compliance checks will be made available to all commissioners before this date.
How will commissioners run and support AQP in community services from 14 March 2014?
It is for commissioners to decide on whether to extend patient choice of provider (AQP) to new services. From 2014/15 onwards, qualification of providers will be entirely for commissioners to take forward. Commissioners will continue to need to undertake appropriate due diligence on providers before contracting with a provider, if they choose to use AQP for procuring local clinical services.
During the transition period before March 2014, DH and NHS England will be working with commissioners and providers to help them develop and establish appropriate arrangements, including with support from Commissioning Support Services, as required. This will involve making available the tools currently used by the DH central team.
If you have any questions about AQP and the changes that are happening please email firstname.lastname@example.org
 This means that the ‘Complete Qualification’ button must be pressed on every live application form before noon, 28th February 2014.