Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin: 3 September 2021

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Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin

3 September 2021

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Welcome to the merged NAG/SOPO newsletter for 3 September 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.

National Procurement Strategy

Diagnostic Benchmarking Exercise – September 2021

The diagnostic benchmarking exercise is about to go live in the week commencing 13 September and a member of your organisation (procurement lead) should have received an introductory email yesterday outlining the aims and objectives of the exercise.

Please email guy.head@local.gov.uk if your council has not received any correspondence from us and let us know who the lead contact should be, or if you have received the email but are not the correct person to be leading on this.

The diagnostic will enable you to benchmark your procurement activity in accordance with PPN 05/21 and help you gauge your current level of attainment against the National Strategy and ascertain where improvement is needed in accordance with your own local priorities.

The diagnostic will also help the LGA gauge the impact of our own work over the last three years and give councils the first opportunity to identify what is needed for the next iteration of the National Procurement Strategy which we intend to publish in 2022. It will also help us identify and shape our support offer to cater for your needs and make it relevant to the challenges you are facing.

COVID stories 

Preparation for vaccines in Autumn/Winter 2021 

The Director of Adult Social Care Delivery and COVID-19 response at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC has written to local authority chief executives; Directors of Adult Social Care Services and adult social care providers regarding preparation for vaccines in Autumn/Winter 2021. The letter emphasises that it is essential that everyone working in social care is protected against COVID-19 and seasonal flu. This includes following the guidance from the JCVI, once it is published, on how COVID-19 boosters will be delivered. It also notes DHSC will be soon publishing updated guidance about how social care workers can receive their flu vaccination and includes a reminder that those deployed in care homes need to have had their first vaccination dose by the 16 September at the latest to comply with the new regulations which come into force on 11 November.

Impact of COVID-19 on culture and leisure services 

The LGA is conducting a survey to help us to understand how councils have responded to the crisis and to understand the effects of the pandemic on these vital community services. The survey findings will help us to better support our members, inform our lobbying position and strengthen our evidence base. Please contact stephen.richards@local.gov.uk if you would like to participate.

Non-COVID stories

Government Buying Standards for food and catering services: nutrition standards

Following the publication of the Government response to the 2019 consultation on Updating the nutrition standards in the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services (GBSF), the Government has now published the GBSF nutrition standards technical guidance to help provide catering establishments with the practical advice and tips they need to implement the GBSF standards. The updated GBSF nutrition standards are also available.

National Tutoring Programme expansion 

The Department for Education announced an expansion of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) which will support up to six million pupils over the next three years. The expansion is supported by £1 billion of funding and schools will have greater flexibility to offer high-quality, 15-hour tutoring courses that meet the needs of their pupils. Schools can sign up with this year’s external tuition providers. New guidance has been published to support schools to offer their own teacher-led tuition. In addition, academic mentors are being placed in selected schools across the country to work in small groups with over 250,000 students most in need of support this year. 

Heritage recovery grants 

Applications are now open for the third round of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage recovery grants. The Heritage Fund, in partnership with Historic England is distributing up to £40 million in this third round of the Culture Recovery Fund. The funding has two strands – Emergency Resource Support for organisations which are in severe need and have not yet received support and Continuity Support – for organisations that have already received emergency funding and are still in need. Full details of the scheme along with the application portal for both funds are now available. 

Climate change landing page 

Councils are being encouraged to bookmark and check back regularly a new MHCLG landing page for local government on climate change and the environment. The page brings together key guidance and information for councils on topics related to climate change, net zero and the environment, from upcoming key dates to information on everything from adaptation and air quality to waste and recycling. 


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.

Building Housing Retrofit Skills

15 September 2021

The UK’s housing stock will need to be carbon neutral by 2050. Councils are working hard to retrofit their own housing stock, whilst building construction skills in the community to build a pipeline of skills. This webinar will share a number of good practice examples from experts and councils who are creating local green jobs in the area of housing retrofit.

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

CIPFA Public Procurement: Your First Steps to Climate Action

16 September 2021

Tackling climate change is becoming increasingly urgent, and public bodies have a dual role in not only in complying with legal obligations to reduce their own carbon emissions, but also actively encouraging and requiring partners, suppliers and other stakeholders to do the same.

This webinar will explore the role of public procurement teams in supporting contracting authorities meet the climate change challenge. We have an expert line up of speakers who will share their practical know-how, offer advice and tips on what needs to be done to get things moving and support delivery of one of the key objectives of the recently launched National Procurement Policy Statement.

2021 National Social Value Conference: Wales - Leading the Movement – 16-17 November 2021

The National Social Value Conference: Wales returns this year, from the 16 to 17 November. Last year, we saw a hugely successful 2-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.