Weekly COVID-19 supply chain bulletin: 11 February 2022

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Weekly COVID-19 supply chain bulletin

11 February 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

Discharge into care homes – designated settings

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has updated its guidance on discharge into care care homes – designated settings. This guidance is for local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, care providers and people who use these services. It sets out:

  • advice on setting up designated settings and information for local authorities and providers
  • information on discharge arrangements and supporting individuals to ensure that their care needs and preferences are accounted for
  • additional advice on data collection, funding, visiting, and infection prevention and control (IPC) requirements.

Call to extend Bus Recovery Support Grant (BRSG) funding

With current bus passenger numbers still way short of their pre-pandemic levels, the LGA continues to call on the Government to urgently extend its Bus Recovery Support Grant (BRSG), which is due to come to an end in March. This is vital to enable operators and local authorities to ensure vital routes and services can remain open. The LGA has called for investment in bus networks as part of its response to the Government's Levelling Up White Paper. We are aware that the Department for Transport (DfT) has suggested that it will provide an additional £29 million towards the BRSG before the end of March – they will be writing to councils and operators shortly with further details.

Non-COVID stories

Improving energy efficiency in municipal buildings – how local government can take positive steps towards net zero

The built environment is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact and, through its provision of buildings for millions of citizens accessing public services, the public sector will continue to play a significant role in the country’s journey towards net zero carbon. The Crown Commercial Service has published an article – 'Five ways to improve energy efficiency in municipal buildings' – which describes how local authorities are integral to achieving net zero.

National Audit Office (NAO) investigates IR35 tax reforms

A new report by the National Audit Office – 'Investigation into the implementation of IR35 tax reforms' – states that public bodies, including councils, had little time to consider the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) guidance and tools which were published just two months before IR35 reforms came into force. In April 2017, the Government introduced reforms which made public bodies responsible for determining the employment tax status of all those it hired through intermediaries. This followed concerns about tax avoidance by people who do the same job in the same manner as an employee but avoid income tax and National Insurance contributions.

Funding for social housing energy efficiency upgrades

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced that it will make £179 million in funding available to improve energy efficiency in social housing to help tenants cut their energy bills and make homes warmer. The funding will see 20,000 social housing properties, with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of 'D' or lower, receive upgrades to improve their energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. This includes fitting external wall and roof insulation, energy efficient doors and windows, heat pumps and solar panels. Upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of March 2023. The announcement sets out the 69 projects that have been allocated the financial support in the first wave, with funding allocated to councils who, together with social housing providers, will deliver the projects.

UK Shared Prosperity Fund

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is encouraging councils to work with stakeholders to develop ideas and identify priorities for developing local investment plans ahead of the launch of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Further information on the fund is expected to be made available to local authorities in the spring and we will keep you updated on any developments. You can also get in touch with DLUHC directly about the fund at futurefund@levellingup.gov.uk

Businesses urged to apply for COVID-19 support grants

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has urged businesses to engage with councils and apply for COVID-19 support grants. Figures from BEIS show that £556 million remains available through the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme (which was launched in January), and that a further £294 million is still available for businesses through the Additional Restrictions Grant scheme which has been available since November 2021.

National scheme for local auditor appointments

Public Sector Audit Appointments (PSAA) – the organisation created by the LGA for councils to procure external audit – has now received acceptances to its opt-in invitation into the national scheme for local auditor appointments for the period 2023/24 through to 2028 from over 210 eligible bodies, with at least a further 100 expected. A full list of the bodies opted in to the national scheme for local auditor appointments is available on PSAA’s website. The latest date to notify PSAA of your opt-in decision is 11 March and they are unable to accept notifications after this date. You can email PSAA at ap2@psaa.co.uk for more information. This week, PSAA launched its procurement for audit services for opted-in bodies which will run until the summer.

Calls for information

Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) emergency consultation to alleviate audit delays

Last week the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) published an emergency consultation on temporary changes to the accounting codes of practice for 2021/22 and 2022/23. The proposed changes affect the valuations for operational property, plant and equipment and also delay the implementation of International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) 16 on leases. These changes are being proposed to help alleviate delays to the publication of audited financial statements. The consultation runs for four weeks and closes on 3 March. The LGA will be responding, and we would be interested in hearing views from councils. Please email lgfinance@local.gov.uk to contribute your vies.

How can suppliers and governments build better contracting relationships?

Researchers at University College London, in partnership with World Commerce and Contracting, are investigating the trade-offs for local and central government between building strong relationships with suppliers and stimulating competition for contracts. They are running a 10-minute anonymous survey that uses case-study scenarios to examine how governments can develop productive working relationships with their contractors while maintaining healthy markets for their contracts. The survey is also looking at how approaches vary – across different types of government organisations and when working with suppliers from different industries.


Innovation in local government procurement – LG Commercial Capability Knowledge (Lunch) Bites

Thursday 17 February, 12–1pm | Online
The Local Government Commercial Capability team at the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) will present the second event in its lunch-and-learn series 'Knowledge (Lunch) Bites'. Join them online as they share knowledge and insights about how to drive a culture of innovation and big-picture thinking in procurement and commercial teams within local government.

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: