Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin: 29 January 2021

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Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin

29 January 2021

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Welcome to the NAG and SOPO newsletter for 29 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

Personal Protective Equipment

Along with the move to extend the provision of free PPE to the adult social care sector, councils and Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) are now able to access free PPE for unpaid carers who support people they do not live with. Unpaid carers have played a vital role in supporting vulnerable people during the pandemic. Some councils and LRFs have already been providing unpaid carers with PPE. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has written to council PPE leads and LRFs, asking them to supply this group with free PPE via the LA/LRF distribution routes that are already in operation. The DHSC is providing councils and LRFs the flexibility to apply the eligibility criteria to best suit local needs.

Children's social care providers 

We have published a new report into the impact of increasing private equity and stock market involvement in the children’s social care system. The report finds that some of the largest independent providers of children's residential and fostering placements are achieving profits of more than 20 per cent on their income, while four of the seven largest groups of independent providers had more debts and liabilities than tangible assets. The largest providers of children's placements are growing rapidly and continuing to acquire other providers. We cannot risk a Southern Cross or Four Seasons situation in children's social care and the potential risks involved in their considerable debt levels is an issue that the Government must consider in its independent review of children’s social care.

It is therefore good that the Chair of the Review recently contacted the Competition and Markets Authority asking them to investigate the children’s social care 'market'. This is a move which could provide important evidence around how homes are provided for children in care. 

Additional research we have also published identifies five key barriers to diversifying ownership of children's homes. This includes negative stigma around children's homes; financial risks; high barriers to entering the market; concerns around how to support children with complex needs; and limited coordination of commissioning around the country.  

Social Work Together

The Social Work Together programme aims to help councils respond to the impact of COVID-19 on their workforce and communities. The programme gives your council access to a number of social care professionals, making the recruitment process of social care professionals a lot easier. If you are interested simply visit our website for more information and to submit your interest.

Hospital discharge funding  

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have been contacted by NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI) about the end of hospital discharge funding on 31 March. This has been used to pay for the cost of care packages following hospital discharge, covering either the full package for those in care from 27 March to 31 August, or six weeks' care since 1 September. CCGs, with their council counterparts, have been asked to provide the number of cases, and their associated costs, from the March to August cohort still receiving funding for their care.

This letter has led to some confusion about the way funding can be used going forward. NHSEI have confirmed that care packages starting after 17 February will still be funded up to 31 March.

Non-COVID stories

LGA National construction virtual conference 2 & 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.

Workforce Capacity Fund 

Councils will have received a letter from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) providing further details on the previously announced £120 million Workforce Capacity Fund. This is a ringfenced adult social care grant for measures that provide additional staffing for adult social care providers, including those with whom the local authority does not have a contract, and maintain continuity of care. The letter calls on councils to use this funding to target providers with the most urgent staffing shortages. We have worked with DHSC on the guidance to accompany the funding which includes examples of strategies used by some local authorities and providers to supplement and strengthen adult social care workforce capacity.

NEC and Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) unveil first bespoke procurement suite for FM sector

NEC, procurement contractor provider for the construction industry, has launched a new suite of contracts developed specifically for the facilities management industry, developed with the support of the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management.

The new contracts include the Facilities Management Contract to be used by a client to appoint a provider to manage and deliver any type of facilities management services, and the Facilities Management Subcontract.

Electric vehicles

The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) has commissioned the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) to produce an Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Guide for councils to offer guidance on the full process of installing EV infrastructure. IET has produced a draft contents page but they are seeking views to help ensure it covers all the topics needed. Any feedback can be sent to olev.enquiries@olev.gov.uk  by February 12.  

Waste management plan

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has published the Waste Management Plan for England 2021. This focuses on waste production and how this can be managed. It also includes changes to waste management plan requirements, as well as an update on the Environment Bill and the recent consultations on recycling collections, extended producer responsibility and the deposit return scheme.


LGA National construction virtual conference

2 & 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 (MOD) 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 -orce 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 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.