Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin: 5 February 2021

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Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin

5 February 2021

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Welcome to the NAG and SOPO newsletter for 5 February 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

Procurement Policy Note 01/21: Procurement in an emergency

There will be a range of commercial actions that must be considered by contracting authorities in responding to an emergency. In exceptional circumstances, authorities may need to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency and without competition. This is permissible under current public procurement regulations using regulation 32(2)(c) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCRs) but there are inherent commercial risks which authorities should take into account.

This Procurement Policy Note (PPN) reminds contracting authorities of the options available to them when undertaking procurements in an emergency.

This includes extremely urgent procurements required by the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and this PPN builds on the guidance in PPN 01/20 - Responding to COVID-19

Personal protective equipment

ASC providers who are registered on the PPE portal should have all received an email via their CQC-registered email address inviting them to take part in a survey to understand customer experiences of the PPE portal. The survey will take between 5-10 minutes to fill out and will be live until midday on Monday 8 February. Please encourage your networks and contacts to fill in the survey.

Covid-secure elections will go ahead on 6 May

It has been confirmed that local elections will go ahead on 6 May 2021. To ensure elections can go ahead, the Government is providing an estimated £92 million of grant funding, of this, £31 million is an uplift to directly address the costs associated with making the elections Covid-secure. The Government has also published a delivery plan to support candidates and parties to put their case to voters and ensure local elections teams can facilitate the Covid-secure polls effectively.  

Education and Skills Funding Agency guidance

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has published the latest information and actions for councils, academies, schools, colleges and further education providers. The guidance includes information on mid-year funding claims, the grant recoupment process and the delayed adult education budget (AEB) assessments.

The Department for Education has announced that this year's Schools financial value standard has been delayed, taking account of the current pressures schools and councils are facing. For the financial year 2020 to 2021, schools should submit their SFVS to their local authority no later than 28 May 2021. Councils should submit their assurance statement to the DfE within 6 weeks, no later than 9 July 2021 

Accommodation for prison leavers

The Government has announced a £70 million funding package focusing on accommodation for prison leavers, as the second part of its plan to reduce crime and protect the public, following the recent announcement of £148 million investment to combat illegal drugs and provide substance misuse treatment. At least £23 million of funding will go towards building 200 new spaces in Approved Premises (APs), which allow probation staff to closely monitor and support the highest-risk offenders in the community, whilst more than £20 million will be invested in supporting prison leavers at risk of homelessness into temporary basic accommodation for up to 12 weeks.

Non-COVID stories

Business subsidy scheme 

The Government is consulting on a new system of providing financial support to businesses, following the end of the transition period with the EU. The new subsidy control system as envisaged by the Government, would provide support to businesses to encourage job creation and growth across all parts of the UK. Under the proposed system, local authorities, public bodies and the devolved administrations would be empowered to decide if they can issue taxpayer subsidies by following a set of UK-wide principles, which would aim to ensure that subsidies are designed in such a way that they deliver strong benefits and good value for money for the UK taxpayer, while being awarded in a timely and effective way. The Government is consulting on these proposals and will bring forward primary legislation to establish the new system in law. The consultation closes on 31 March 2021 and we welcome your views on the proposals.

Local Government Finance Settlement 

The Government laid a written ministerial statement on the 2021/22 Local Government Finance Settlement in the House of Commons yesterday and published the associated final settlement documents  on the MHCLG website.  There have been no major changes compared to the provisional settlement published in December 2020, with the overall increase in Core Spending Power increasing from 4.5 to 4.6 per cent for 2021/22.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council - Social Value Statement

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has become the first council to publish a Social Value Statement and the LGA encourages you to read about their journey and look to develop and publish your own - which we will host on our website when more are completed.

In the past year Hammersmith and Fulham have developed a social value strategy, introduced a mandatory requirement for all contracts above £100,000 to achieve a minimum of 10% in social value, recruited a social value officer and set up a social value delivery group. They have placed social value at the heart of their key corporate strategies with the golden thread running through their Business Plan, Industrial Strategy and Climate Emergency programme to help drive local economic growth achieve Carbon Net Zero by 2030

What are Hammersmith and Fulham’s Social Value achievements;

There have been around 40 tenders undertaken since May 2020 but only 8 with a value over £100,000. The Social Value committed and delivered since then includes;

  • 52 weeks of apprenticeship placements
  • 50 tCO2e of carbon reductions
  • 778 hours of career support sessions
  • 190 hours of educational sessions
  • 2 jobs for local residents
  • Over £200,000 spent in the local economy
  • 260 weeks of training opportunities
  • 64 hours of volunteering in the community

Read the Hammersmith and Fulham's full Social Value Statement here and check out our Social Value resources, including guidelines to complete your own social value statement here

Call for information: due diligence tool from the Cabinet Office

The Cabinet Office is conducting research on supplier due diligence processes and looking for people working across government to take part in her research who currently have responsibility for supplier due diligence as part of their role (or may do so in the future). This research will help to inform the potential design of a new due diligence tool - please get in touch with her at ariana.lewis@cabinetoffice.gov.uk if you would like to be involved and feed in a local government perspective.

Recruitment and vacancies

The Procurement Improvement Programme at Dudley Council has just launched a recruitment campaign to seek 9 new roles. The details are available on www.dudleycounciljobs.org.uk and include a head of procurement; 3 x business category leads; procurement strategy & systems manager; 2 x procurement officer & 2 x procurement support officer.


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 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.

How do local authorities spend their resources with third parties webcast

26 February 2021

EY and Oxygen Finance are hosting a webinar that explores the key findings from the 2019/2020 Almanac and look at the spending behaviours of councils over the last three financial years, as well as our analysis of categories of spend – our very own Tina Holland will be hosting the event so be sure to sign up.

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.