Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin: 24 September 2021

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Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin

24 September 2021

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Welcome to the merged NAG/SOPO newsletter for 24 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 – deadline 1 October

The deadline for submissions is a week away – by completing your response you will have fulfilled your benchmarking commitments, as laid out in the National Procurement Policy Statement that all:

  • contracting authorities with an annual spend of £200m or more are required from April 2022 to publish procurement pipelines and to benchmark their procurement capability
  • contracting authorities with an annual spend of £100m or more are required from April 2023 to publish procurement pipelines and to benchmark their procurement capability.

The benchmark will also help you gauge your current level of attainment against the National Procurement 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.

Please email guy.head@local.gov.uk if your council has not received any correspondence from us or you have any questions or issues you want assistance with.

COVID stories

Winter COVID-19 plan    

A million and a half people will have been sent invitations to book a COVID booster jab this week ahead of the key winter season with social care staff also being encouraged to get their free flu jab as soon as possible. The NHS’ school-based vaccination programme for 12 to 15-year-olds in England also began this week following the Government’s decision to offer this age group one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, while new COVID-19 vaccination programme guidance has been published for schools, to support the roll-out of this programme. The guidance covers eligibility and timing of the roll-out; obtaining parent or guardian consent; and sets out schools’ role in supporting the programme.

COVID-19 guidance: public outdoor settings 

The Government has updated guidance for councils, owners and operators to support the safe use and management of outdoor public places while the risk of COVID-19 transmission remains. The update reflects guidance changes announced in the Government’s ‘COVID-19 Response – Autumn and Winter Plan 2021’ and covers a range of guidance for councils in managing outdoor events, parks, public toilets, pavement licenses, tourist areas and keeping staff safe. 

Night shelters guidance  

The Government has updated guidance on the provision of night shelters in line with the ‘COVID-19 Response – Autumn and Winter Plan 2021.’ The guidance sets out the operating principles for communal night shelters to support commissioners, and keep staff, volunteers and rough sleepers safe. While self-contained accommodation for rough sleepers is still recommended, local circumstances may mean that there are occasions where a local area decides to put in place communal models to prevent people sleeping rough, particularly in extreme weather. 

Non-COVID stories

Reducing your exposure to energy price fluctuations

As you’ll have seen in the news this week and as reported last week the price of both gas and electricity has soared in recent months in the wake of global events – the surge in demand from China, moves by Russia and changes in UK regulation has created the perfect storm. The UK is particularly exposed to global variations in the gas price and until we have decarbonised our energy system fully, this pattern will emerge from time to time.

In the short term, councils are in the same boat as everyone else and will have to wait and see if energy suppliers survive the current crunch. As we emerge from that phase, there are things that councils should proactively look to do to reduce future exposure.

Firstly, councils should seek to reduce their energy consumption dramatically through the implementation of building energy efficiency measures. The ReFit 4 framework is an ideal way to identify what needs to be done and to ensure that you achieve guaranteed levels of savings. Through a mini tender you can appoint a supplier who works with you on a partnership basis to identify and implement energy reducing projects. Having a properly procured partner also puts you in a great position if there are further waves of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) in future, beyond the third round opening on 6 October.  The scheme has been significantly oversubscribed in the previous rounds, placing greater importance on having the ability to have project options ready for the opening date for the fund.    

Secondly, councils can look at how they procure their electricity. The headlines are all about the gas price – but in reality, the electricity price is directly related to the gas price as we have so many gas-fired power stations in the UK. Securing a direct power purchase agreement with a renewable energy generating station, or even developing your own large scale solar farm is a great way to reduce the council’s exposure to price fluctuations in the market and offset scope 2 emissions. Local Partnerships can help you determine which route is best for you through an options appraisal – please contact Rachel.Toresen-Owuor@localpartnerships.gov.uk for more details.

Housing Advisers Programme 2021/22 

This week, the LGA relaunched the Housing Advisers Programme for 2021/22. The programme is designed to support councils seeking to innovate in meeting the housing needs of their communities. Councils can apply for up to £20,000 from the programme for their housing projects with the purpose of securing expert advice in transforming how a service or partnership meets the housing need of communities. Applications for this year’s programme closes at 5pm on 15 November. 

Housing retrofit skills

The LGA is launching a new programme to support local authorities in creating housing retrofit skills and jobs in their communities. We are working in partnership with a consortium, led by Sustainability West Midlands, bringing together the expertise and experience of the Sustainable Housing Action Partnership, Low Carbon Homes and Contented. The deadline to apply to the programme is 6 October.

Net Zero Innovation Programme

The Net Zero Innovation Programme brings together partnerships of researchers and climate change officers from councils across the country and supports them in tackling the climate emergency. It is now open for applications. Apply now and learn how partnership and co-production skills can help to address climate change and ecological challenges. The partnerships will lead on the creation of a replicable tool, guide or training which can be used by all councils. The deadline for applications is 14 October. 


Local climate action planning webinar

6 October 2021

Are you looking to find out how other councils are creating their climate action plans? Perhaps you’re wondering how local authorities have engaged their local partners and communities in the process? Or, how they are monitoring success? Tune in to this climate action planning webinar to find out more. 

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 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.

LGA Procurement homepage

National Procurement Strategy

Achieving Community Benefits – Social Value

Modern slavery in supply chains hub

Counter Fraud Hub

Climate Change Hub

Pass the Planet campaign