Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin: 30 July 2021

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Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin

30 July 2021

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Welcome to the merged NAG/SOPO newsletter for 30 July 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 – or read previous bulletins.

COVID stories

Self-isolation exemptions for critical staff

Councils will need to contact the relevant government department to apply for the scheme with details of the number of individuals affected, their roles and the impact that failure to do this would have and when this impact is likely to materialise. The scheme is separate to the agreed process for self-isolation exemptions for NHS and care workers which cover exemptions in adult social care, and do not require a written letter of approvement from government.  

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has also been in contact directly with waste services with further details on how to apply for reasonable excuse status and I understand that the Department for Education (DfE) are putting in place a process to allow councils to apply for reasonable excuse status very shortly.   

Councils are being encouraged to contact MHCLG if there are other work areas experiencing severe disruption that are not covered by the above criteria.  Requests should be sent to LGResponse@communities.gov.uk, titled 'For Escalation'.

Mandatory care home worker vaccinations

Vaccination as a condition of deployment regulations have been signed and therefore the 16-week grace period began last Thursday 22 July. This means that the regulations will come into force on Thursday 11 November. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) intend to publish full guidance for care providers in the coming weeks.

Non-COVID stories

LGA modern slavery assurance guidance – construction

Local authorities undertake a significant volume of construction work ranging from programmes of repair and maintenance to major refurbishment and new build projects across a host of different sectors including schools, social care, housing, infrastructure and highways. It is therefore crucial that councils use their spending power to ensure that their supply chain is behaving responsibly and identifying and combatting instances of exploitation wherever it may be found in the supply chain tiers.

To address exploitation effectively it is essential that organisations take a risk-based approach to procurement. Whilst construction as a sector is considered high risk for modern slavery, the risks are found within specific materials and work packages which need to be identified by any procurement team before any requirements are set.

This guidance document has been developed to support procurement teams within local authorities embed requirements through the procurement process to identify and combat exploitation and slavery wherever it may be found.

It has been developed to outline all key activities that are associated with good procurement and provide advice, examples, and links to appropriate resources that will allow procurement teams to integrate requirements as effectively as possible.

The LGA would like to thank all those involved from the sector in the development of this document.

Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund

The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) will be launching its application process for the £160 million being made available in 2021/22 - delivering up to March 23 - on August 23 - the first of three waves of funding. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)  will be hosting two pre-launch webinars for Wave 1 of the SHDF on 5 August and 10 August. The webinars will discuss the detail of the scheme and the upcoming bid process. Contact the SHDF team with any questions at SHDF.Enquiries@beis.gov.uk.

Flood and Coastal Erosion Investment Plan

More than £860 million is to be invested in flood prevention schemes across the UK over the next year, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced. The funding will benefit 1,000 local schemes and is part of Defra’s Flood and Coastal Erosion Investment Plan. Under the plan, the Government has said it will bring forward “tighter guidance” for planning authorities to reaffirm the need to refer planning decisions to Ministers when the Environment Agency is sustaining an objection on flood risk.

Green recovery

A total of 90 projects from across the country are set to receive money through the Government’s £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The fund is supporting a range of nature conservation and recovery and nature-based solutions projects, which will contribute towards the Government’s wider 25 Year Environment Plan commitments.

Request for information

Localis: Procurement Reforms and ‘Levelling up’

Colleagues at Localis are conducting research into the new procurement reforms, set out in the Transforming Public Procurement Green Paper, and the extent to which an open markets approach can sustain local economies as well as driving up skills levels, boosting local jobs and businesses. Localis plan on reporting on this in late autumn 2021 and are looking for volunteers to input into their research by way of a short online interview.

If you would be willing to contribute towards this research please contact Callin.McLinden@localis.org.uk. They are also hosting a webinar in September. More details can be found below.

Webinar of the week

Green procurement webinar blog

In this session, we heard first-hand experience from different local authorities about how their innovative approaches to procurement, early market engagement, collaborating with stakeholders and suppliers, and the use of design and technology is being used to overcome and mitigate climate challenges, reach carbon targets and embed sustainable, green procurement into our everyday lives.


Procurex National

15 September 2021

Procurex National is back for 2021. The event will take place in an innovative hybrid format both live in venue and streamed online.

Connecting buyers and suppliers across from the UK, Procurex National, once again featuring the UK Infrastructure Show and co-located with P4H England, will provide a wealth of skills development, networking, collaboration and product showcase opportunities for organisations that are actively working with or hoping to work with the UK’s £284bn public procurement marketplace

Levelling Up procurement: using government spend to transform local economic outcomes

16 September 2021

In the webinar Localis will be looking to ask:

  • How would it be possible and what would be necessary to make the reform of public service commissioning align with the government’s overarching strategy to ‘level up’ opportunities, particularly in left-behind places?
  • Given the need to squeeze the most out of the local pound and spending allocations over the next Spending Review period and drive post-pandemic recovery, how can we challenge government suppliers. For example, is every single penny of local procurement promoting a living wage to get people out of poverty? Are major providers of local services benefiting from procurement helping people and how many apprenticeships are being delivered for every £1m spent on local schemes?
  • What metrics should we look to in assessing any impact on skills, jobs and business growth from changes to procurement practice?


  • Darren Knowd, Chief Procurement Officer, Durham County Council and chair, National Advisory Group, Local Government Association
  • Jeffrey Matsu, Chief Economist, CIPFA
  • Professor Chris White, Director of Industrial Policy and Insight Centre at the MTC, Visiting Professor of Industrial Strategy at Loughborough University

2021 National Social Value Conference: Wales - Leading the Movement

16 - 17 September 2021

The National Social Value Conference: Wales returns this year, from 16 to 17 November. Last year, we saw a hugely successful two-day virtual conference, with over 800 delegates from across public bodies and anchor institutions in Wales.


The LGA Procurement team manages a number of webpages dedicated for your needs – please contact guy.head@local.gov.uk if you want anything uploaded to our webpages.