Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin: 8 October 2021

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Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin

8 October 2021

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Welcome to the merged NAG/SOPO newsletter for 8 October 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 – Last call

The deadline for submissions is close of play today – we’ve had an amazing response so far so thank you to all those who have returned them so far and I’m sure, there’s many more like me, who will be finalising them this afternoon so keep them coming.

Public Procurement Reform - Cabinet Office update

The Cabinet Office has worked through the Green Paper consultation responses, which ran to well over 600. Analysis of the responses showed there was broad levels of support for the key reforms including the proposed new principles for public procurement and the consolidation of the existing regulations and procedures. Contracting authorities were supportive of a more flexible approach and recognised the benefits to be gained. There are several areas where their thinking has moved on as a result of feedback received and they plan to publish a summary of responses received and details of what the Government intends to do, in light of the consultation exercise in the next few weeks.

We know that people are keen to know when the rules will change – there is no firm date of when this will be yet. The Procurement Bill will be introduced when Parliamentary time allows, and it will take several months to complete its passage through Parliament. Following that, there will need to be secondary legislation (regulations) made - although it isn’t yet possible to confirm when the new regime will come into force, but given the timescales around the legislative process, the new regime could not come into force until 2023 at the earliest. The key thing to remember for now is that guidance and support will be available, the existing legislation continues to apply until the new reforms are implemented and will also continue to apply to procurements started under the old rules. If you want to be kept informed, email procurement.reform@cabinetoffice.gov.uk  with “Keep me Updated” in the subject line.

The Cabinet Office are also busy planning the learning and development offer that will support the introduction of the new public procurement regime. The shape of the L&D offer is subject to funding decisions but the intention is to deliver a comprehensive programme of blended learning that allows people to access appropriate support that suits their role. As well as formal training, they plan to support communities of practice where ideas and experiences can be shared, and procurement and commercial professionals can help one another to embed the new ways of working. These communities of practice will be particularly important for encouraging the behavioural and cultural change that will be so crucial to realising the benefits of the reform.

COVID stories

Infection Control and Testing Fund

Government has announced an extension of the Infection Control and Testing Fund. An additional £388 million will prevent infections and provide for testing and vaccinations in social care settings. This includes £25 million for care workers to access COVID-19 and flu vaccines over the winter months, covering any loss of normal income or travel costs. The Department for Health and Social Care states that grant conditions will be published in due course.

COVID-19 contain framework 

The Government has published updated guidance for councils and local decision-makers on containing and managing COVID-19 outbreaks at a local level. The COVID-19 contain framework applies to the autumn and winter period and sets out the roles and responsibilities of councils.

Winter vaccination campaign resources 

We’d like to remind you that Public Health England (PHE) has made available a communications toolkit and range of marketing materials for health and social care providers to encourage the up-take up flu and COVID-19 booster vaccines. The toolkit includes Q&A leaflets, posters, social media graphics and email signatures. 

Non-COVID stories

Agency Staffing

We’ve been asked the question as to whether any councils have or are considering insourcing agency staffing arrangements. What outcomes have been achieved through transition from a generic framework agreement to provision of this as an in-house service? What lessons have been learned? If you are able to help please contact Laura.Rush@brighton-hove.gov.uk or productivity@local.gov.uk.

Creating Local Green Jobs report

Following the successful completion of the Leading and Learning Programme, this report seeks to capture the learnings across all of the individual authorities involved, the process and the outputs from the Action Learning Sets and the output from the final symposium.

Plan for Jobs

The Government has announced a £500 million expansion to its Plan for Jobs programme, which aims to help workers leaving the furlough scheme and unemployed people over the age of 50 back into work. The Government is also enhancing its programme of support for workers on Universal Credit, from April 2022.

Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Wave 1 Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) competition closes on 15 October. Applications for SHDF Wave 1 must be led by a local authority, and Private Registered Providers of Social Housing must apply as part of a consortium with a lead local authority. Wave 1 will emphasise fabric improvements to ensure heat loss prevention measures are installed before other energy performance measures. BEIS will provide technical assistance for any bid developments where requested and there is also a Wave 1 FAQ page. Queries should be sent to SHDF.W1@Ricardo.com.

Housing Afghan families

The Government is still seeking offers of housing for Afghan families from local authorities. Many areas are still taking decisions through council processes and formalising their offers and are planning to confirm commitments soon. In a letter, the Government has said that councils should continue to provide updates through their local Strategic Migration Partnership.


Considering and meeting the sensory needs of autistic people in housing webinar

October 21 2021

This webinar will give you an overview of the findings from a new report commissioned by the Care & Health Improvement Programme from NDTI ‘Supporting Autistic people to flourish at home and beyond’. In recent years, a greater understanding of autistic people has emerged. Enabling autistic lives does not just mean improving social care or hospital settings, but also considering a wide range of environments and everyday places. The event will be helpful for council staff including commissioners of housing and care and support, as well as social work operational and NHS housing leads.

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

Climate action: the green economy

Pass the Planet campaign