Weekly COVID-19 supply chain bulletin: 21 January 2022

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Weekly COVID-19 supply chain bulletin

21 January 2022

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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

COVID-19 stories

Adult Social Care Omicron Support Fund

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published the grant determination and guidance for the Adult Social Care Omicron Support Fund. The purpose of this fund is to support the adult social care sector with measures already covered by the infection prevention and control allocation.

Precautionary testing for critical workers

The Government published the list of 100,000 ‘critical workers’ in England where staff will be able to take a lateral flow test each working day and the provision of precautionary testing will be for an initial 5 weeks. The Government has said that this will keep essential services and supply chains running. People covered by the scheme will include those who work in critical national infrastructure, national security, transport, and food distribution and processing. This includes roles in Border Force, Police and Fire and Rescue Services control rooms, electricity generation, test kit warehouses and test labs. There is no mention of local government in the critical workers list.

Ventilation and air conditioning guidance for councils

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has made available 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 ventilation guidance videos setting out the key advice and examples of how businesses have improved ventilation to reduce COVID-19 transmission. HSE has also revised the guidance on balancing ventilation and keeping warm.

Vaccination of workers in social care settings

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) published guidance to support the implementation of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 in wider social care settings, including home care, extra care housing and supported living. This means that from 1 April, social care providers registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) must ensure that anyone they employ or engage to carry out direct and face-to-face CQC-regulated social care activities meets the vaccination requirements.

Non-COVID stories

Operation Warm Welcome – additional laptops and tablets for schools or colleges

The Department for Education (DfE) is reminding councils and schools that they can still request laptops and tablets if they have children or young people arriving in their school or college under Operation Warm Welcome. Operation Warm Welcome ensures those Afghans who stood side-by-side with the UK in conflict, their families and those at highest risk who have been evacuated, are supported upon arrival in the UK and through the process of resettlement. To request devices, schools should sign into the ‘Get help with technology' service and select ‘Order devices’.

Information for schools on the renewal and procurement of management information (MI) system contracts – six-month break clause

In response to the queries received before Christmas, the Department for Education (DfE) provided advice for schools to get procurement support from the schools team. The advice is that schools should proceed in connection with the proposed contracts as they ordinarily would when procuring any contract, following the obligations they have as a Contracting Authority. Education Software Solutions (ESS), England’s largest school information management system supplier has this week announced it will be introducing a six-month break clause to its three-year contract extensions. We have been asked to flag this up to schools that they need to act by 20 February to take advantage of this clause which will then last until 30 September, thus giving them time to consider / procure alternatives. It is also to be noted that multi-year contracts should be considered as a single total overall sum, rather than based on the annual amount (which means schools moving from single-year to multi-year arrangements should check the spend thresholds that apply – in some cases, a move to a multi-year arrangement may mean the current £189,330 threshold set out in the Public Contract Regulations 2015 is crossed that requires a procurement process). For further advice please email gethelpbuyingforschools@education.gov.uk

Crown Commercial Service – 'A Spotlight on Construction' podcast

The Construction team at Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has released the first episode of a new three-part podcast series 'A Spotlight on Construction'.
In episode one, hear from John Welch, Deputy Director of Construction at CCS, and Phil Brookes, crown representative at Cabinet Office, as they unpack The Construction Playbook, its 14 key policies, and how CCS can support your construction procurement.

British Standards Institution (BSI) Standard on Modern Slavery – consultation and webinar

Procurement colleagues at Orbis Procurement have been co-chairing the BSI committee responsible for drafting BS 25700 – a guidance standard on organisational responses to modern slavery. BS 25700 provides organizations with guidance for managing the risk of modern slavery, including prevention, identification, response, remediation, mitigation, and reporting modern slavery in its operations, supply chains and its wider operating environment. BS 25700 has been published for a two-month public consultation period on the BSI Standards portal where you’re encouraged to review the standard and provide any comment by 23 February. Following the consultation, the expert drafting panel will consider comments and incorporate any changes into the standard prior to publication in May. A Zoom webinar on 28 January at 10am has been arranged to share further information on the scope and content.


'Supporting adults with learning disabilities to have better lives' framework webinar (launch and introductory session)

Wednesday 26 January 2022, 2–3.15pm | Online
This free introductory webinar will tell you more about the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services' (ADASS) and LGA's 'Supporting adults with learning disabilities to have better lives' framework. The session is designed for council staff working with people with a learning disability, Directors of Adult Social Services (DASS), health staff, and others with an interest in services for people with a learning disability. The aim of the framework is to help DASS work with colleagues and partners to identify how they can improve support to adults with a learning disability and ensure that the care and support in their area is delivering positive outcomes and is good value for money.

LGA National Construction Conference

Tuesday 1 and Thursday 3 February 2022, 10.30am–12.30pm | Online
Our National Construction Conference will again be a virtual conference and will be held across two mornings at the start of February:

  • Day 1 will include sessions on modern slavery in construction, progress of the Building Safety Bill and its implications, as well as the issues facing an industry recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Day 2 will focus on how climate change is having an impact on the construction industry. There will be sessions looking at how the industry is coming together to tackle issues such as the reduction of carbon emissions and how as clients of the industry, councils can make decisions to change behaviours and thereby help meet net zero national and local targets.

Applying behaviour change techniques to the climate emergency, sustainable travel and health inequalities

Tuesday 22 February, 10–11.45am
This webinar will look at how behavioural change techniques can be used in council services to work with communities and change their behaviour. It will feature councils who have used behavioural change techniques to tackle the biggest challenges of our day – climate emergency and health inequalities. It will also look at how the LGA is taking a regional approach in supporting councils to run behaviour change projects to combat these challenges.

Council and business collaboration on the climate emergency

Tuesday 15 March, 10.30am–12pm
The LGA and the Business Services Association (BSA) are hosting this webinar on how councils can effectively collaborate with the private sector, Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) and infrastructure providers to address the climate emergency – focusing on:

  • What case studies on successful partnership working can teach us?
  • In which areas has collaboration yielded results, and in which areas is there potential for further collaboration?
  • What tools do local authorities have at their disposal to drive effective collaboration particularly with regard to the procurement process and what are the main barriers to overcome?
  • What can the private and VCSE sectors in conjunction with local government offer to address the climate emergency and what may they need to offer that they are not currently?


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: