Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin: 26 March 2021

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Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin

26 March 2021

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Welcome to the NAG newsletter for 26 March 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 - previous bulletins can now be found here.

COVID stories

New UK Health Security Agency   

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) will launch on April 1. It will bring together Public Health England, NHS Test and Trace and the Joint Biosecurity Centre and will be led by Dr Jenny Harries, England's deputy chief medical officer. The UKHSA will be tasked with preventing external threats to health and deploying the full might of our analytic and genomic capability on infectious diseases to "cast a protective shield over the nation’s health".   

Public health teams in councils have been at the forefront of the tremendous local response to the pandemic and we look forward to working with the new UKHSA. In our response to the announcement, we have stressed the UKHSA needs to be able to operate nationally as a global player to major health threats. This needs to be aligned with councils' ability to react swiftly on the ground, using their local knowledge, expertise and skills.  

CQC regulation update   

Ted Baker, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Dr Rosie Benneyworth, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care and Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care have provided an update on what regulatory approach the Care Quality Commission will be taking forward in relation to hospital services, primary medical services and adult social care. From April, the CQC will be undertaking infection, prevention and control inspections in care homes to ensure people are receiving safe care and rapidly inspect potential designated sites so that people who have COVID-19 can be discharged from hospital in a timely way, freeing up capacity in acute care.  

Care provider market  

Short-term funding and the lack of a long-term vision has hampered planning, innovation and investment in adult social care according to a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) . The NAO added that there are "high levels of unpaid care and unmet need" estimated, while coronavirus could have short to medium-term consequences for the market’s financial sustainability. In our response to the report, LGA has called for extra funding to help meet the continuing social care costs of COVID-19, particularly on the care workforce and unpaid carers, alongside investment to tackle the funding gap between what providers say is the cost of care and what councils pay.  

We have also reiterated our call for the Government to urgently bring forward its proposals on the future of adult social care, including a timetable for reform, as soon as possible and before the summer parliamentary recess.

New fund for community-run leisure facilities

Sport England has announced a new £5 million fund to help community-run leisure facilities to reopen. The fund is for facilities that do not have any contractual obligation or receive income from a local authority to deliver leisure services. It will focus on supporting those who provide a general leisure offer  – for example, a mix of swimming, sports hall, fitness, health and wellbeing and other facilities  – that is open to all members of the community. 

Non-COVID stories

Sleep in Shifts, Supreme Court Ruling

The Supreme Court confirmed last week that the National Minimum Wage does not apply to hours when workers are expected to sleep, including time when care workers are paid to sleep overnight in someone’s home on a precautionary basis. Read more

Digital Care Technology Procurement Guide

LGA partnered with Rethink Partners to produce a Procurement Planning Guide for those who are procuring care technology services. The guide will help colleagues who are either seeing to procure a full care technology service, or seeking to procure technology are part of an in-house operating model or service. Following a masterclass we held on this subject we also developed a paper considering the new approaches to commissioning and procurement.

Data and Cyber Security Guidance for Social Care Commissioners  

Our CHIP Team has launched some guidance to support adult social care providers to improve data and cyber security measures. Of note to procurement colleagues are the following suggested contract clauses:

  • Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT)
    The Provider must give assurance that they are practising adequate data security and that personal information is handled in accordance with appropriate legislation and best practice.

    The NHS Digital Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) is a free online annual self-assessment for this purpose, tailored for use in social care. The Provider must annually complete and publish the DSPT and comply with its mandatory requirements. This should be at the level of Standards Met. Initially, the Provider may complete the DSPT at the level of Approaching Standards but their accompanying action plan must assure that Standards Met will be achieved by the following assessment period.
  • Better Security, Better Care
    To aid DSPT completion, the Provider may access enhanced national and local support available through the Better Security, Better Care programme.

Contracts with VCSE Infrastructure Organisations –can you help?

We have been contacted by colleagues at a council who are looking to completely rewrite their contracts with their voluntary sector infrastructure organisation when they go out to procurement later this year. They want to change the relationship to give more freedoms I think and to focus on the outcomes, not outputs.  Has anyone else done this recently?  We are looking at what best practice might be and what has worked well in other areas.  Please contact tina.holland@local.gov.uk if you can help.


Cabinet Office Masterclasses

Following on from the success of Masterclass Programmes in January and February, the Commercial Continuous Improvement Team at the Cabinet Office are pleased to announce a full programme of Masterclasses every Wednesday throughout March and April. 

Experts from across the Government Commercial Function will discuss and take questions on a wide range of innovative and leading commercial practices during virtual sessions to promote continuous improvement aligned to the Commercial Functional Standards programme.

Debt Recovery Masterclass
7 April 2021

Crown Commercial Service will be presenting a masterclass on debt recovery.  They will include advice on how the private sector can be leveraged to maximise recoveries whilst identifying and protecting the vulnerable, how data should be used to refine collection strategies, examples of what social value can be delivered in this space and how accounts payable reviews can enable identification of internal errors and recover these. 

Driving Value Through Competitive Negotiation
14 April 2021

In this Masterclass, the Home Office Biometrics Team will deliver a session on how to drive value through Competitive Negotiation. The session will cover how they successfully negotiated the retendering of two legacy services, and moved away from the two incumbents to one, new supplier, and how this fits into their wider digital transformation programme.


Introduction to the NEC4 Engineering and Construction Contract for Public Sector Practitioners 20 April 2021

The NEC4 suite of standard construction contracts are becoming the contract of choice for many public sector procurements of construction and maintenance works (recommended by UK Government Construction Strategy as well as by the Construction Clients' Board). Attend this webinar, to find out how it can transform and stimulate your projects to deliver contracts which are on time, offer savings and improve quality.

All You Need to Know About Framework Agreements, Dynamic Purchasing Systems and more
28 April 2021

Whilst contracting authorities have been using framework agreements for several years, they have been an area of uncertainty for practitioners. This focused webinar has been developed to provide clarity around how to set up and manage your own framework agreements, as well as compliantly using frameworks established by other bodies.