NHS Standard Contract

In this section:

  • NHS Standard Contract
  • Contracting Models 
  • Checking Contracts
  • Technical Guidance
  • Quality in Optometry Checklist
  • GOS

From 1 April 2014 CCGs commissioning community services (formally known as Enhanced Services) from optical practices are required to use the NHS Standard Contract.

(Some CCGs and practices have not had time to change to the new contract and old-style contracts and service level agreements have been rolled forward temporarily. However, as soon as possible, all community eye health services will need to transfer to the new standard contract.)   

NHS Standard Contract

The 2016/17 NHS Standard Contract is split into three sections.  This year there is also a shorter-form version of the contract.  The links below relate to the shorter-form version.

  • General conditions – agreed with the Optical Confederation and LOCSU, mandated for all services and unable to be amended
  • Service conditions – mandated for all service categories or for particular service categories only.  The conditions applicable to each service are indicated in the right hand column throughout the document
  • The Particulars – containing all elements for local completion, such as service specification, local quality requirements and key performance indicators

Contracting Models 

CCGs contracting with optical practices to deliver community services have two main options

i) contract with the LOC Company – the Primary Eyecare Company holds the contract with the CCG and subcontracts the provision of services to optical practices - this is the Optical Confederation and LOCSU recommended model as it keeps transaction costs for practices and the NHS to a minimum and provides best value. Compliance with standard contract conditions including information governance is also demonstrated by the LOC Company on behalf of all participating practices 

ii) contract with individual practices – the CCG contracts direct with each optical practice separately - this is hard to justify given the scale of the contracts involved (the transaction costs can even exceed the contract value).  Practices should therefore seek an explanation about why their CCG or LOC has opted for this route.  

Checking Contracts

Irrespective of the contracting model, LOCs should always seek advice from LOCSU on the key aspects of the contract, including the proposed service specification, KPIs and reporting requirements.

Technical Guidance

Technical Guidance for the NHS Standard Contract is available via the link below

QiO Checklist

Quality in Optometry has created NHS Standard Contract checklists which can be used to demonstrate compliance with community services contracts. Three versions of the checklist are available depending on the practices' situation

  • LOC company
  • practices subcontracting to LOC company
  • practices contracting separately with the CCG

To access the checklists please click here


The NHS Standard Contract does not apply to sight testing services. These are commissioned under separate NHS GOS contracts