Four commissioning support units have formed a “strategic alliance” to help them gain a place on NHS England’s new commissioning support lead provider framework.

NHS Arden, Greater East Midlands, North Yorkshire and Humber, West and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw CSUs announced today that they will work together to “put forward a competitive offer via the framework”.

Work is underway to establish the operational details of the alliance.

NHS England announced that it was creating the lead provider framework last October. Up to 15 organisations are expected to be on it, including CSUs, charities and private companies.

EHI reports today on the draft scope of the framework which will allow clinical commissioning groups to purchase commissioning support services, such as IT support and business intelligence, on a ‘call-off’ basis

CSUs across the country have been discussing mergers and alliances in order to become ‘lead providers’.

EHI reported in November that North West London, South London and Kent and Medway commissioning support units were exploring a three-way partnership to secure a place on the framework.

Central Midlands CSU and Staffordshire and Lancashire CSU are also in talks regarding a merger.

A statement from the four CSUs involved in today’s announcement says they are each “successful growing organisations in their own right”.

“The alliance will deliver market-leading, cost-effective services that meet the needs of our customers,” it adds.