The Optical Confederation has expressed disappointment following the announcement that the LOC Support Unit (LOCSU) bid for the Provision of Vision Testing Services for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has been unsuccessful. The DVLA have confirmed that it is their “intention to award the contract to Specsavers Opticians”.
The Confederation, together with Optometry Scotland and Optometry Wales, supported the cross-sector bid submitted by LOCSU in response to the tender advertised by the DVLA, for the delivery of a managed network of optical practices and optometrists across England, Scotland and Wales.
Alan Tinger, LOCSU Chairman, said “I and everyone associated with the bid are very disappointed with the DVLA’s decision. The objective of our bid was to retain the management and delivery of this significant service, which operates across three nations, within our professions. However, the DVLA have chosen to favour another provider over the sector bid.”
Mr Tinger added: “Over 2,000 practices had already expressed an interest in getting involved in the service, ranging from part-time independent practices to large multiples. This demonstrates how colleagues across the sector felt that it was important for LOCSU to bid. The LOCSU team that worked on the bid, including an experienced project manager, had a wealth of procurement experience and we were confident that our service delivery model would meet the DVLA’s requirements.”
Speaking on behalf of the Optical Confederation, Don Grocott, said: “It is disappointing news that LOCSU’s bid has been unsuccessful. The LOCSU bid would have enabled any practice to participate, so this is a blow for the entire sector and a setback in our progress towards sector unity. Many practices, both multiple and independent, have invested money in acquiring the equipment needed to carry out this work for the DVLA and rely on the income generated by it. The loss of this revenue will significantly damage their practice profitability.
“The decision will be especially galling to those organisations which held back from bidding in order to get behind a bid that gave all practices the opportunity to participate and offered patients the ability to visit the optical practice of their choice.”