Weekly COVID-19 supply chain bulletin: 25 February 2022

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Weekly COVID-19 supply chain bulletin

25 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

'Living with COVID-19' announcement

This week, the Government announced its 'Living with COVID-19' strategy, which sets out plans to phase out all legal restrictions in England over the coming weeks. Local authorities will continue to manage local outbreaks of COVID-19 in high-risk settings, as they do with other infectious diseases. We outlined in our media response to the 'Living with COVID-19' strategy how important it is that councils and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have the resources to continue to react to the emergence of any new variants, calling on the Government to extend part of the Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) which is due to end next month.

Updated COVID-19 guidance for educational settings

In light of the Government’s 'Living with COVID-19' announcement, the Department for Education (DfE) has updated its COVID-19 guidance for:

The guidance advises the ending of twice-weekly asymptomatic testing for school pupils as well as the end of the bubble system from 24 February.

Non-COVID stories

Consultation on Provider Selection Regime (PSR) open until 28 March

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published a consultation on the Provider Selection Regime (PSR). The PSR is a new set of rules replacing the existing procurement rules for arranging health care services in England. Its introduction is subject to the passage of the Health and Care Bill through Parliament. The LGA is encouraging you to share your views and those of your members to shape the development of the regulations that will set out the PSR. The Provider Selection Regime (PSR) consultation is open until 28 March. DHSC will also be hosting webinars about the consultation on:

Non-COVID stories

LGA seeks new representative to sit on the council of the Joint Contracts Tribunal

We would like place on record our thanks to Claire Hughes for her commitment as the LGA representative of the Joint Contracts Tribunal. The LGA is looking for a new representative to the tribunal who can commit to be in post for a period of three years and who can provide four days a year (not remunerated) to the role. As part of this role you will be required to report regularly to the LGA on the work of the board. Please email keri.wilkins@local.gov.uk for further information or to apply. The deadline for applications is Monday 14 March.

Ukraine crisis and heightened cyber threat

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has indicated that the UK's cyber risk has heightened following a string of cyber attacks targeting Ukraine's digital infrastructure. This week we have seen the EU mobilise a team of cyber security experts to help Ukraine fight off cyber attacks from Russia and Ukraine preparing to wipe its computer servers and transfer sensitive data if necessary as new malware capable of wiping computers has been identified in Ukraine. As the situation continues to escalate, we could see cyber attacks that have international consequences. In light of this, the NCSC has urged organisations to strengthen their cyber security posture and follow its guidance on 'Actions to take when the cyber threat is heightened'. Councils interested in learning more about cyber risk can apply to take part in the LGA Cyber 360 – our new programme encouraging councils to explore their cyber security culture.

Our Procurement team is embarking on an ‘Embedding Cyber Security in Local Government Supply Chains’ programme that will include guidance, toolkits, e-learning and a series of webinars and workshops. If you or colleagues are interested in helping to shape the support offer, please email productivity@local.gov.uk – we are looking to engage with procurement officers, and IT and cyber specialists, who deal with supply chains.

Energy rebates through councils

This week the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) issued guidance and allocations for the 2022/23 energy rebate through councils. The guidance covers scheme eligibility, payment mechanisms, fraud risk management, council tax billing, communication with households, monitoring and reporting. The Government has also published details on the methodology used to allocate the funds to councils. DLUHC has issued further Council Tax information letters to councils, notifying them of the publication of the guidance and the allocations and also providing artwork for the information pamphlet about the council tax rebate. The Government will undertake a new burdens assessment on the costs associated with implementing the policy and will engage with local government on this. We will be feeding into this, so please let us have your thoughts and reactions by emailing lgfinance@local.gov.uk


From start to finish – a guide to completing 'Find a Tender Service' (FTS) and 'Contracts Finder' (CF) notices

Monday 28 February, 12.45–4pm
Do you have a good working knowledge of how to produce different tender notices correctly? This Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) webinar will take you through the process of publishing tender notices in 'Find a Tender Service' (FTS) and 'Contracts Finder' (CF). Research suggests that many contracting local authorities do not complete tender notices correctly, which could expose them to immediate legal challenge and later complications when it comes to awarding and delivering contracts.

How the effective use of information and intelligence enables successful commissioning

Tuesday 8 March, 2–4pm
The LGA Care and Health Improvement Programme (CHIP) is running this webinar focused on the effective use of data and information in adult social care commissioning, featuring examples from councils that have utilised intelligence to support their strategic commissioning approach. This event will also introduce CHIP’s upcoming Commissioning Intelligence Framework, which will support commissioners and strategic decision makers to review data from their local area, understand the state of their population and care market and use this intelligence to help reflect on the effectiveness and impact of current commissioning arrangements.

The Contract Management Assurance Framework

Wednesday 9 March, 1–2pm
How do you build contact management competency further in a team of commercial experts? This masterclass will introduce the Met Office’s Contract Management Assurance Framework, which seeks to share best practice, build a stronger commercial community and develop core commercial capabilities. Acting as an advisory model, the Contract Management Assurance Framework offers a host of tools and techniques that commercial experts can use, while also helping to place these experts in conversation with one another.

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?

Moving from multiple suppliers to a single supplier

Wednesday 30 March, 1–2pm
The Strategic Central Bureau Platform (SCBP) contract is a key Home Office contract. This platform provides the infrastructure for immigration officers to take fingerprints, and acts as part of the Home Office biometrics programme. Following the end of SCBP’s existing contracts, a two-year procurement was run, which culminated in one new supplier taking over the services delivered by two incumbent suppliers. When did two become one? This session will examine how an organisation can move from multiple suppliers to a single supplier, while elaborating on how effective contract terms can be applied in this kind of procurement process.

Market engagement and determining the business need

Wednesday 6 April, 1–2pm
The objective of 'skills bootcamps' such as this is to offer people training in the skills that employers are looking for. By upskilling trainees, 'skills bootcamps' serve to fill vacancies and offer employment. How does an organisation take part in market engagement which calls for defining the business needs of the entire labour market? This session delves into details of an unconventional pre-procurement process, explores the power of stakeholder feedback groups, and offers insights for those seeking to procure bespoke services.


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: