PEPPOL basics for NHS suppliers

Blog Sales and Order Management, eProcurement Compliance, Peppol February 3, 2017

Need to start sending e-documents to the NHS via PEPPOL and want to know more about what PEPPOL actually is all about? The below article will give you the answers that you are looking for.

PEPPOL background

OpenPEPPOL is an organisation that sprung out of a PEPPOL project, funded jointly by the European Commission and a total of 21 stakeholder organizations in 11 countries within the EU/EEC. OpenPEPPOL now governs the maintenance of the PEPPOL specifications that make up the infrastructure for exchanging business documents between trading partners; primarily public sector buyers and their suppliers.

The PEPPOL project aimed at developing technical standards to remove obstacles for cross border e-procurement, in line with the soul of the European Union (promoting intra-union trade). The OpenPEPPOL organisation was established on September 1st 2012, and its goals are (see for a wordier version):

  • Encourage end users (government buyers and their suppliers) to implement e-procurement.
  • Encourage service providers to build and offer services based on OpenPEPPOL standards.
  • Ensure that the PEPPOL network grows.

How does PEPPOL work?

PEPPOL enables documents, such as purchase orders and invoices, to be exchanged in a standard electronic way between buyers and sellers, without any manual intervention. The PEPPOL ‘infrastructure’ is powered by access points: e-commerce service providers that has been approved and certified by supporting the PEPPOL standards and fulfilling the requirements set out by the PEPPOL authority.

Countries using PEPPOL

PEPPOL was first implemented in Norway by Difi (the Norwegian PEPPOL authority) in 2012. Austria followed in 2014. More countries are next in line to join the PEPPOL network and Pagero is already now an approved access point in the UK, Sweden, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland and Denmark.

PEPPOL in the UK

As part of the NHS eProcurement Strategy published in 2014, The UK healthcare sector is now required to use PEPPOL to transfer orders and invoices electronically to their suppliers. Six Pathfinder trusts have already been chosen and each given £2 million to implement PEPPOL and GS1 across their organisations. A key deliverable of these hospitals is to only work with suppliers who are also able to comply with the mandates.

Implications for suppliers to the NHS

As a supplier to the UK Healthcare sector, you have to choose an access point provider to transfer data for you. The Crown Commercial Service has created a shortlist of suppliers who they recommend as accredited access points.

Once connected, you will have the ability to send and receive electronic purchase orders, invoices and other purchase related documents in the PEPPOL network, regardless of what access point your business partners are using.

This ‘four corner model’ will allow an NHS buyer to trade with ANY supplier connected to PEPPOL. Similarly, a supplier will be able to trade with ALL NHS Buyers (and other public and private sector organisations) on PEPPOL.

PEPPOL will impact how the NHS does business

Though electronic trading has been available in the NHS for many years, it has been limited to the larger healthcare suppliers, due to the high costs of implementation and adoption. The PEPPOL infrastructure is not cost prohibitive and will allow all organisations, regardless of size, to be able to trade electronically with the NHS. This means that these suppliers will also be able to offer the same ‘value added’ services to their customers that have previously only been limited to the larger healthcare supplier organisations.

How can Pagero help you?

Pagero staff have been closely involved with the creation of the UK healthcare strategy from its inception. We fully understand the requirements for the UK market and we are one of Crown Commercial Service’s shortlisted suppliers. We will aid you in becoming compliant and guide you through all the process steps to enable you to meet all the UK healthcare mandates.


NHS eProcurement Strategy

Press release Pagero UK NHS Award