Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin: 22 January 2021

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Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin

22 January 2021

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Welcome to the NAG and SOPO newsletter for 22 January 2021. 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

Fund to boost care staffing levels

The Government has announced a £120 million fund for councils which is intended to boost staffing levels as staff absence rates rise in care homes and among home care staff. The funding is intended to increase workforce capacity in the care sector and can be used to provide additional care staff where there are shortages, free up experienced and skilled staff to provide care instead of undertaking administrative tasks and support staff to increase their hours, through overtime or by meeting childcare

Adult social care rapid testing fund

Government has published the allocations and grant conditions for its £149 million Adult Social Care Rapid Testing Fund, announced before Christmas, to support the rollout of additional lateral flow testing of staff and visitors in care homes. The money was due to flow to councils this week for immediate distribution to providers for spending by 31 March 2021. This grant is in addition to the Infection Control Funding, and councils are asked to pass on at least 80 per cent to care homes in their area, including residential drug and alcohol services. The remaining 20 per cent of the funding must be used to support the care sector to implement increased lateral flow testing, but this can be allocated at councils' discretion.

Funding allocations

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published indicative local authority grant allocations relating to the two funds detailed above. The allocations are calculated using the adult social care relative needs formula. They intend to publish the final grant allocations and grant determination and accompanying documents in due course.

Minister announces indemnity for care homes approved to receive COVID patients

In a written statement to Parliament on indemnity in care settings the minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment set out the intention to develop "targeted and time-limited state-backed indemnity" for Care Quality Commission registered care homes unable to secure sufficient indemnity cover to be approved as a 'designated setting' able to accept care home residents who are COVID positive on discharge from hospital. The statement recognises that this issue has been a limiting factor in the development of the designated settings scheme, for which there is rising demand. While we welcomes this announcement, having pressed for action since the start of the pandemic, we hoped it would extend to all care providers during this challenging period and we await further details about the timescales and how the indemnity will operate in practice. We understand DHSC will be writing imminently to councils with further details.

Non-COVID stories

LGA national construction virtual conference 2 and 4 February

A final call for this year’s construction procurement conference which will be held virtually. The conference will look back on an unprecedented year for both the construction industry and local government, as well as focusing on future challenges and is spread across two webinars - full details can be found below in the webinar section.

Adult social care COVID funding 2021/22  

The Department of Health and Social Care’s Director of the Adult Social Care Quality Directorate, Tom Surrey, has written to directors of adult social services acknowledging the adult social care sector’s response to the pandemic and summarising the various funding arrangements in place to meet COVID-19 pressures. It suggests that the Government anticipates that a large proportion of the £1.55 billion non-ringfenced funding announced for local authorities from April 2021 will be spent on adult social care pressures and not to compensate providers for lost income, help providers meet rising insurance premiums or protect providers' cashflow.

Freeports prospectus

As part of the Freeports Bidding Prospectus, the Government invited stakeholders to submit questions related to Freeports policy and the bidding process. The Government has now published a document which provides answers to key questions received from stakeholders (PDF), including councils.

The sufficiency series - by commissioners and for commissioners

The National Commissioning and Contracting Training Conferences (NCCTC) have been sharing good practice, providing networking opportunities and discussing innovative practice for almost 30 years. Following the cancellation of the conference in 2020 the Organising Committee set out to provide the same mix of 'how to', 'have you thought about this' and 'this is important' that the NCCTC Children’s Commissioning Conference provides every year and I think we have succeeded these talks, and associated papers, provide a useful toolkit for all of you grappling with sufficiency.

Digital care technology procurement planning guide

Most care technology services will require some form of purchasing or procurement. Undertaking a procurement is an expensive and time-consuming process but can add a huge amount of value if it is well planned and well executed. It is a big decision for any council to set off on this path, and for many councils it may be the first time that they have considered procuring a care technology service. Rethink have teamed up with the LGA to develop a guidance (PDF) - whether you are planning to purchase a full care technology service, or seeking to procure technology to be provided as part of an in-house operating model or service, this guide helps you to consider some of the key elements you need to consider to maximise the chances of a successful procurement process.

Training and Development

Contract management e-learning

Following previous information on the free e-learning available to councils through the Government Commercial College we’ve been looking through the hundreds of local government people who have already taken up the offer and have either completed the e-learning or are in progress. We've had some great feedback on the e-learning too. If you haven’t registered yet there is still time. Head over to the Government Commercial College to sign up.


LGA national construction virtual conference

2 and 4 February 2021

This year's construction procurement virtual conference will look back on an unprecedented year for both the construction industry and local government, as well as focusing on future challenges. The event is spread across two webinars, the first of which will include sessions on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the construction industry and modern slavery in the supply chain.

The second webinar will look at the Government’s Green Paper on procurement and what this will mean for construction procurement professionals after the UK's exit from the European Union

The webinars will provide an opportunity to hear from experts from academia, Central and Local Government as well as the procurement law profession, to participate in conversations that tackle the leading issues and to help disseminate learning across the sector

Counter fraud: embedding counter fraud into the commercial lifecycle

3 February 2021

Cabinet Office's Counter Fraud and Commercial Functions will share the work they have been doing to embed counter fraud principles into the commercial lifecycle and how this will manifest in the upcoming Commercial Functional Standard revision.

Strategic partnering: how MOD partner with suppliers to drive value

10 February 2021

The Ministry of Defence established a partnering programme for strategic suppliers in 2018 to ensure delivery of defence priorities. This masterclass will focus on how this programme delivers against their priorities and how this process can be applied to all partnering relationships.

Transforming procurement: establishing BlueLight Commercial

17 February 2021

Home Office and the CEO of BlueLight Commercial will be delivering a masterclass to detail how they set up the BlueLight Commercial organisation to aggregate spending across the police force and the cost savings this has generated.

National social value conference 2021 - recover, rebuild, renew

23 - 24 February 2021

The 4th annual national social value conference 2021 will be held virtually on the 23 - 24 February 2021. The national social value conference is the leading event of its kind bringing together experts and practitioners from the public and private sectors to share good practice and innovative ideas about how to embed social value into commissioning, procurement and delivery.

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 twelve months.