Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin: 18 October 2021

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.


LGA Logo with padding 2019

Weekly COVID-19 Supply Chain Bulletin

18 October 2021

Twitter IconLinkedIn IconFacebook IconYoutube icon

Welcome to the merged National Advisory Group (NAG) and SOPO (Society of Procurement Officers in Local Government) e-bulletin. Feel free to forward this email to your colleagues and / or suggest they sign up to receive it themselves.
This e-bulletin is now delivered through our corporate service which handles all of our e-bulletins and through which you can create or manage your subscriptions and read previous e-bulletins

National Procurement Strategy

Diagnostic benchmarking exercise

Tasked by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to conduct a benchmarking exercise for councils against the National Procurement Strategy to ‘inform capability requirements going forward’, the LGA has completed the exercise and the diagnostic is now closed.

Thank you to all those who took part – we had a very impressive 61% response rate across England and Wales and those of you who submitted responses will have received your final reports and a comparative average reports across the entire sector and localised ones within your region. For those of you who also submitted responses in 2018 you will also be able to compare your scores and any improvement that’s taken place in reports located in your dashboard.

COVID-19 stories

Personal protective equipment (PPE) consultation

A public consultation on extending free PPE was launched last week and will run until 11.45pm on Sunday 31 October. The Department of Health and Social Care is considering extending the free provision of PPE for the COVID-19 needs of the health and social care sector beyond the current end date of 31 March 2022. Responses are welcomed from across the sector to help ensure the Department makes a well-balanced and considered decision.

We would also like to collect your views to feed back to the Department at a national level, as well as any individual submissions you may make. Submit your feedback

Funding and support to set up a digital education platform

Government-funded technical support is still available for schools to get set up on free-to-use digital education platforms, which can allow education to continue if a school or college closes.

Guidance and application forms are now available and applications should be made by Tuesday 30 November. Please email covid.technology@education.gov.uk with any queries.

DLUHC sales, fees and charges compensation scheme

DLUHC made payments last week for tranche 3 of the sales, fees and charges lost income compensation scheme, covering losses from 1 December 2020 to 31 March 2021. The claim form for the extended scheme, covering losses between April and June 2021, is live until 22 October. If you need any further information please email salesfeeschargesscheme@communities.gov.uk

Non-COVID stories

Revised children’s national contracts

As part of a funded project through the LGA’s Children’s Procurement and Commissioning Network, Hertfordshire County Council – alongside a group of local authority commissioners and representatives from the Independent Children’s Homes Association (ICHA) and the Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers (NAFP) – have been working on revising the current national contracts for placing children in foster care and semi-independent/16+ accommodation. The revised contracts for semi-independent and 16+ accommodation (login required) are now being hosted on the Children’s Cross Regional Arrangements Group (CCRAG) website for local authorities and providers to access. You will need to register with the CCRAG database to access the information exchange where the documents are hosted but this is available to all and easy to do. Please email georgia.rudin@local.gov.uk with any queries.

Heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver shortages

The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) is a running a short survey to gather intelligence on HGV driver shortages and its impact on local authority waste management services. LARAC is sharing anonymised results of the survey with the LGA and we are using this data to respond to media enquiries. The survey goes live today and closes on Wednesday 20 October. We would welcome your input to this survey.

Separate reports suggest there has been an escalation in the situation with recent shortages of HGV drivers – to the extent that providers of key services are requesting uplifts in rates to assist them with driver retention in the face of pressures from wage inflation.

There have also been incidents of shortages in agency gritter drivers, social care transport driver shortages, and operators offering uplifts in wages and recruitment bonuses to poach staff.

Taxi standards

We have heard some reports from councils that they are under pressure from the taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) trade to reduce safeguarding standards and knowledge tests to tackle driver shortages. The Department for Transport’s statutory standards are clear that safeguarding awareness training is essential, and the LGA’s taxi and PHV licensing guidance reiterates this point. The priority of our taxi and PHV licensing should be to protect the public so, while recognising the desire to support the trade, it is vital that the statutory requirements for safeguarding standards are maintained. If you have any questions, please email jade.hall@local.gov.uk

Care job vacancies higher than pre-COVID levels

More social care jobs are unfilled than before the pandemic, with care providers facing acute problems in recruiting and retaining staff, according to a workforce charity. Skills for Care's annual 'State of the adult social care sector and workforce' report, based on data from employers of England's 1.54 million care workers, show that 8 per cent of posts were not filled before the pandemic – the equivalent of more than 100,000 vacancies.

National Audit Office (NAO) survey: off-payroll working rules

The National Audit Office (NAO) wants to hear from councils as part of their investigation into Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC's) reform of off-payroll working rules (IR35) in the public sector, which placed new requirements on public bodies from April 2017. The NAO wants to better understand the experience of public bodies implementing these requirements, the challenges in doing so, as well as lessons HMRC can take from the experience of the organisations going through the process. They are asking representatives from local authorities, preferably senior staff within HR or finance, to respond to a short (five-to-ten-minute) survey about your council's experience of off-payroll working and views on the reform. The deadline for this is Friday 29 October.

Building 100,000 social homes for rent each year

This week we have launched a new report, 'Building post-pandemic prosperity', commissioned jointly with the Association of Retained Council Housing and the National Federation of ALMOs, setting the case for building 100,000 green social homes for rent each year. The research revealed one in 10 households in need of housing are now on council waiting lists for over five years; while, as a result of the pandemic, those waiting lists could almost double next year to as many as 2.1 million households. This is due to the impact of COVID-19-related support schemes coming to an end, causing a potential increase in homelessness. We have used the report’s findings to call on the Chancellor in the Spending Review to reverse the decline in council housing over the past few decades and give councils the powers to build homes with the right infrastructure.

Funding made available to help councils kick-start the self-build home economy

Up to £20 million is available to support self- and custom-build sites, aimed to ensure that self and custom home building can become a realistic option for people trying to get on the housing ladder, and to help councils develop currently unviable sites. Also available is £6 million in One Public Estate (OPE) funding, designed to help public service bodies get more from their assets through integration, reducing running costs, releasing land for housing, or collaboration between services. English councils are invited to bid for funding for projects before the application deadline of 8 November. Find out more

Call to councils for economic growth case studies

As part of our support offer, the LGA are looking for examples of economic growth good practice from councils – to share learning across the sector. These case studies can cover a wide range of areas including regeneration, support to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and more. If you have examples of projects you would like to feature please complete the form on our website or email productivity@local.gov.uk for more information.


Local Partnerships webinar: Climate acceleration | 18 October

Local Partnerships is holding a webinar on the acceleration of climate action. The webinar will cover ensuring your energy supplies are genuinely renewable and maximising the benefits of area-wide energy planning.

Book your free place

Considering and meeting the sensory needs of autistic people in housing webinar | 21 October

This webinar will give you an overview of the findings from a new report commissioned by the care and health improvement programme of NDTI (National Development Team for Inclusion) – ‘Supporting Autistic people to flourish at home and beyond’. In recent years, a greater understanding of autistic people has emerged. New research and years of collaboration with autistic people has changed almost everything society thought it knew about autism. 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.

Book your free place

2021 National Social Value Conference (Wales): 'Leading the movement' | 16–17 November

The National Social Value Conference (Wales) returns this year on 16 and 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.

Book your free place


The LGA Procurement team manages several LGA webpages dedicated to your needs. Please email guy.head@local.gov.uk if you would like any information added to our webpages: