Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin: 11 December 2020

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Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin

11 December 2020

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Welcome to the NAG and SOPO newsletter for 11 December 2020. Feel free to circulate to your colleagues.

This newsletter is now delivered through our corporate service that handles all our various e-bulletins.

Manage or create a subscription - read our previous bulletins.


COVID stories

COVID-19 vaccinations: programme launch

The following has been published to assist health and care professionals with the initial vaccine distribution:

  • A letter to the chief executives of all the NHS trusts and foundation trusts of the first tranche of the COVID vaccine hospital hubs, of which there are 50 in total. This letter was copied to the chief executives of local authorities and focuses on implementing the vaccination programme in week one. This includes identifying and prioritising individuals who are 80 years of age and over, and care home workers.
  • A letter to local authorities, directors of adult social services and managers of care homes for older adults. This outlines plans for getting the first vaccine to care home staff. It also outlines the vital role local authorities, working together with the NHS and local care providers, will play in planning for this roll-out and the steps care home managers should take in preparation. The letter also informs us that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is working on a standardised consent form, needed to gain consent to vaccinate as and when it is available to care homes.

Lost sales, fees and charges compensation scheme

Councils have until 23 December to submit their claims to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for the second round of the compensation scheme for lost sales, fees and charges which covers the period from August to November. MHCLG have extended the deadline by one week following concerns expressed by councils about meeting the earlier one next week. The claim must be certified on MHCLG’s Delta system by the council’s section 151 officer. Any queries about the scheme should be sent to MHCLG at SalesFeesChargesScheme@communities.gov.uk.

Business support

The Department for Business, Energy for Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has updated its guidance for grants to support businesses, including guidance on the £1,000 Christmas Support payment for wet-led pubs. These are pubs subject to Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions that predominantly serve alcohol rather than provide food and have been severely impacted over the festive season due to temporary local restrictions. This scheme will close on 29 December 2020 and final applications must be received by local authorities by 31 January 2021. 

Business evictions 

The MHCLG announced this week that the ban on business evictions has been extended until the end of March 2021. The announcement also referred to further guidance to support negotiations between landlords and tenants that will also be published shortly. In addition, the existing commercial landlord and tenant legislation will be reviewed to address concerns that the current framework does not reflect the current economic conditions. The Government will also extend insolvency measures on restricting statutory demands and winding up petitions until the end of March. And the restriction on landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) to recover unpaid rent will also automatically extend to the end of March, in line with the moratorium's expiry date.


Non-COVID stories

Planning regulations 

The Government has laid a new Statutory Instrument (SI) for planning. The Local Planning, Development Management Procedure, Listed Buildings etc. (England) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 amends a number of regulations which were made in response to the pandemic, extending the current temporary measures to 31 December 2021. This includes local planning and spatial development strategies, and temporary development management measures due to expire in December this year. The new SI allows councils to continue to make relevant planning documents available online rather than being required to provide hard copies. The new regulations come into force on 24 December 2020.

The Construction Playbook

The Construction Playbook captures commercial best practices and specific sector reforms outlining the government’s expectations of how contracting authorities and suppliers, including the supply chain, should engage with each other.

These are set out in 14 key policies for how the government should assess, procure and deliver public works projects and programmes which all central government departments and their arms-length bodies are expected to follow on a ‘comply or explain’ basis.

Economic Growth Support Hub

We have recently launched our Economic Growth Support Hub which will house good practice, resources and support offers for councils relating to growth, development and recovery. This is part of our commitment to support the hard work of councils, and to work to understand and capture best practice taking place within local government in communicating the work that councils are doing to recover from the pandemic. Please email productivity@local.gov.uk if you would like to share any work that your council is undertaking.

Supporting the vulnerable 

The Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing has announced a new scheme to support people who are vulnerable and facing multiple disadvantages such as homelessness, mental health issues, substance misuse, domestic abuse and contact with the criminal justice system. The £46 million Changing Futures scheme aims to provide more effective and co-ordinated support for people who are vulnerable in our communities. Local organisations will be invited to form partnerships and bid for a share of the funding.

Schools 

As we transition towards leaving the European Union on 31 December 2020 we have created an checklist for councils and schools who plan on recruiting overseas teachers under the new immigration system from 1 January 2021.

Report on Progress & Challenges in Tackling Modern Slavery in Local Government Supply Chains

The PaCCS/TISC report reveals the state of ongoing work to improve transparency in local government supply chains (PDF), and reveals that while there is positive evidence of action taken by local government to tackle modern slavery risks in the supply chain, there is still work left to be done. We are hosting a webinar on Modern Slavery in local government supply chains next week that will address many of these issues.


Webinars

LGA webinar - Modern slavery in local government supply chains

16 December 2020

In response to the Home Office’s announcement that changes to the Modern Slavery Act (MSA) will include local authorities in the supply chain provisions (Section 54) of the new MSA, we are hosting a webinar dedicated to helping councils, at all stages in their modern slavery journey, to prepare and improve their supply chain practices and procedures.

This webinar will provide an update on the latest changes to legislation and how they affect the sector, as well as updates on the key high-risk areas – construction, IT and social care.

Buying Back Better - How can you embed the Public Sector Equality Duty and use your purchasing power to promote diversity?

6 January 2021

Join representatives from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Harlow Council, HS2, Manchester City Council and the Scottish Government for an informative webinar about embedding equality considerations in the procurement process. The pandemic has exposed and in some cases widened inequalities. As we plan for the recovery and 'build back better', this event will explore how to promote equality whilst also getting value-for-money.

Social Value Masterclass for Councillors

20 January 2021

Over the past few months, it has become clear that the need for Social Value is greater than ever, as public and private sectors continue to face unprecedented challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are running an interactive masterclass for councillors that will cover all the areas needed to enable councillors to challenge whether Social Value is being successfully embedded in their council, including:

  • establishing a Social Value policy and statement
  • how to embed Social Value across the council
  • measurement of Social Value
  • Social Value in council procurements
  • benefits realisation, and remedies in contracts

From Start to Finish: Completing New Find a Tender Service Notices & Award Decision “Standstill” Letters

28 January 2021

Research suggests that many contracting authorities do not complete tender notices correctly, which could expose the authority to immediate legal challenge and, or complications later when it comes to awarding and delivering contracts (for eg nearly one in five notices are sent under the wrong categorisation by confusing services with supplies). Similarly, a high proportion of the Standstill or Award Decision Letters do not fully comply with the Regulations.

The webinar will support procurement, commissioners, finance, solicitors, project managers, auditors and contract managers who need a detailed working knowledge drafting tender notices and issuing standstill letters.

The Leading Local Government Public Procurement Event

10 March 2021

LGPE Online is an unmissable date in the UK’s procurement calendar and will provide delegates and experts with the chance to engage, listen and learn about the key trends, challenges and opportunities facing local government today in what has been an unprecedented year.