Weekly COVID-19 supply chain bulletin: 19 November 2021

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Weekly COVID-19 supply chain bulletin

19 November 2021

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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 editions of this e-bulletin

LGA sustainable procurement toolkit

We’ve had some good, early feedback on our new sustainable procurement toolkit which was launched last week, so here’s another reminder. The toolkit has been developed to be practical – it focuses on issues where the most positive impacts can be made. It takes the reader step-by-step through the procurement process of 12 separate topic areas including climate, energy, embodied carbon, adaptation, transport, waste, SMEs, ethical procurement and reducing inequalities.

COVID-19 stories

Ventilation and air conditioning guidance

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has updated guidance to help councils and businesses identify poor ventilation in work areas and take practical steps to improve it. HSE has also made available a series of new ventilation guidance videos setting out the key advice and examples of how businesses have improved ventilation to reduce COVID-19 transmission. With winter approaching, HSE has also revised the guidance on balancing ventilation and keeping warm. HSE have also created a presentation that councils can use when engaging with businesses about better ventilation.

Contingency framework updated

The contingency framework has been updated to reflect changes on face coverings in secondary schools. In areas of high or rapidly increasing prevalence, directors of public health may advise that secondary school pupils in that area temporarily wear face coverings in communal areas in schools, unless they are exempt.

Sales fees and charges compensation scheme

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has updated its guidance on the sales fees and charges compensation scheme. Councils should have already submitted their final claims under the scheme and DLUHC are starting to undertake a reconciliation and assurance process before final payments are made. Councils will now be required to submit a further 'reconciliation claim' – this claim is due to go live at the end of this week. This is an important part of the process; and the updated guidance states that councils must complete a reconciliation claim and co-operate with the assurance process or they will be asked to repay any grants already received. Final grant payments are expected to be made in January 2022. If you need any further information, please email salesfeeschargesscheme@communities.gov.uk

Non-COVID stories

Competition and Markets Authority to open up electric vehicle charging competition on motorways

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) action is paving the way for greater investment, greater choice, and competition on prices for electric vehicle drivers, by opening up competition in the charging sector. As a result of a CMA investigation, Gridserve, which owns the Electric Highway, has offered the following commitments on service station charging points:

  • not to enforce exclusive rights in contracts with Extra, MOTO or Roadchef after 2026, which currently cover around two-thirds of motorway service stations
  • not to enforce exclusive rights at any Extra, MOTO or Roadchef sites that have been granted funding under the UK government’s Rapid charging fund (RCF).

Each of the motorway service station operators – Extra, MOTO and Roadchef (along with Gridserve) – have also offered commitments not to take any action that would undermine the above commitments. The CMA are asking for feedback on the proposed commitments. Email 51050-consultation@cma.gov.uk with your views by 2 December.

LGA launches online tool to map employment and skills provision

This project sets out to help local authorities across England build a better understanding of how employment and skills provision is commissioned and delivered. As most employment and skills provision is commissioned and procured nationally by Government departments or their agencies, it can be difficult for local authorities’ employment and skills teams to know what support is available and when. We have designed our interactive tool to help improve conversations between local and national government on how to collaborate on existing provision by geography and any future opportunity. The tool:

  • provides a roadmap of current employment and skills provision, with clarity over which programmes are contracted to external suppliers and on what basis
  • provides local authorities with a clear picture of what national provision is available in their area, including who provides it
  • highlights an evolving provider landscape of key national and local providers which might offer new opportunities for partnership and development
  • aims to support local and national government to collaborate more to shape provision and maximise opportunities that arise.

Voluntary living wage

The voluntary living wage has been increased by 40p to £9.90 (in London, the increase is 20p to £11.05). This is not to be confused with the statutory National Living Wage, which is currently £8.91 and will increase to £9.50 on 1 April 2022. The Living Wage Foundation stipulates that organisations that have chosen to apply the voluntary living wage should implement the rise as soon as possible and no later than 15 May 2022.

Plan for health and social care charging reform

Following the Government's announcement of the plan for health and social care, further documentation has this week been provided setting out details on the workings of the new adult social care charging reform framework. This includes the intention to Amend the Care Act 2014 so that only the amount that the individual contributes towards their social care costs will contribute toward the cap. There will be a public consultation on the statutory guidance in the new year and it is intended that the regulations and final guidance will be published in spring 2022.

Home Building Fund update

DLUHC has updated the guidance on the Home Building Fund to include more detail on how the fund works and the options that are available. Loans will be administered by Homes England on behalf of the government through the Home Building Fund – an existing housing supply programme that makes loan finance available to developers.

EU trading webinars for local businesses

The Government has updated its webpage for organisations that trade with the EU to include its full set of webinars and videos about trading with the EU (which councils can share with local stakeholders and businesses) and a full calendar of future webinars on this subject. Businesses can also use the Brexit checker tool which will provide a personalised list of the most up to date actions that businesses need to take.


Social care markets: 'CHIP market viability and shaping programme' | Monday 22 November

The Care and Health Improvement Programme (CHIP) will deliver a programme of activities to support adult social care commissioners in relation to current market viability and future market shaping. Speakers from councils, care providers, and partner organisations, will share their knowledge and expertise on topics related to market viability and market shaping at this programme launch event. Register for this free event

Tech essentials: 'Connected places and the future of the public sector' | Thursday 25 November

The LGA, along with partners from central government and local councils, will be hosting this online webinar to promote awareness around connected places. The event will illustrate the importance of security practices that are needed to design, build and manage innovative connectivity and technology in local areas. Register for this free event

Social Value Portal webinar: 'The road from COP26' | Wednesday 1 December

Social Value Portal are continuing their series of webinars about the role of social value in tackling the climate crisis. The 'just transition' is about making sure that as we move to a net-zero carbon economy we don’t create more inequality – for instance, by making sure that new jobs and skills are created to replace the ones that are lost as we move away from carbon-intensive industries and processes. Register for this 90-minute webinar

Digitech21 technology and procurement summit for the public sector | Thursday 9 December

During this round table discussion, Crown Commercial Service wants to hear your news (good and bad) – to talk about the current challenges you face, how you feel about your role as public sector buyers in the future, and the direction of the procurement landscape. Good practice, issues and challenges being faced, networks being formed, and hot topics for the future, will inform the agenda and shape the ‘digital buying community of practice’ in the year ahead.

Fighting Fraud and Corruption Locally (FFCL) Conference | Tuesday 14 December

Fighting Fraud and Corruption Locally (FFCL) is the English strategy on countering fraud in local government. It was developed with the involvement of more than 200 councils and is supported by a range of partners including the LGA and Solace. The 2020 launch event had to be cancelled but the strategy will now be discussed at an in-person conference in London which will provide an opportunity to hear about good counter-fraud practice during the pandemic and to congratulate those who won FFCL Awards in 2020. To find out more about this event, and to book your place, please email the FFCL secretariat on FFCL@cifas.org.uk


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: