The government is seeking an “external partner” to help deliver the expansion of the Family Nurse Partnership programme.
The programme for young, first-time mothers was imported to England from the US around five years ago. It offers intensive and structured home visiting, delivered by specially-trained nurses from early pregnancy until the child is two.
Following successful piloting of the programme, the government has committed to double the number of places on the FNP programme to 13,000 at any one time by 2015. Currently there are 74 teams in 80 local areas with capacity for 9,000 families.
The Department of Health last month issued a notice seeking bids to deliver the expansion of the programme.
It said the contract for the service would be for five years with an option to extend it up to a further two years. The contract has an estimated value of between £16m and £24m.
The DH said the contract was “suitable for a voluntary, community and social enterprise organisation”.
“Small to medium [sized] enterprises are encouraged to bid for this service,” it added.