Weekly COVID-19 supply chain bulletin: 4 March 2022

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Weekly COVID-19 supply chain bulletin

4 March 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

New online platform for ongoing ordering of free PPE

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has launched a new online platform for ordering free personal protective equipment (PPE) in England. The platform will serve a range of health, care and public sector providers including councils, GPs, adult social care providers, dentists, orthodontists, community pharmacies, optometrists, children’s social care providers, drug and alcohol services and independent sector providers who carry out NHS work. Last month, the Government announced that, following a public consultation, NHS trusts, and primary care and adult social care providers will continue to receive COVID-19 PPE free of charge until 31 March 2023 or until infection prevention and control guidance is withdrawn or significantly amended. This is to ensure that staff and their patients are protected as we learn to live with COVID-19.

PPE at work regulations changing

Employers’ responsibilities to workers regarding the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) are changing from 6 April. The Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (PPER 2022) extend employers’ and employees’ duties in respect of PPE to a wider group of workers to include 'limb workers' (workers who generally have a more casual employment relationship and who work under a contract for service). The Health and Safety Executive has prepared interim 'PPE at work' guidance to explain the changes and o help employers identify whether they may be impacted and what they need to do to prepare.

COVID-19 vaccinations: spring booster offer guidance

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has published guidance about the spring COVID-19 booster offer for people aged 75 years and older, residents in care homes for older people, and those aged 12 years and over with a weakened immune system.

Non-COVID stories

Gazprom energy supplies

The public sector reportedly spent £32 million with the Russian gas company Gazprom in 2021, £7.5 million of which was reportedly spent by councils. We have identified 35 councils who have direct contracts with the supplier. Many more have indirect contracts with European gas suppliers who receive their supplies from Gazprom. Most of the existing contracts with Gazprom will have used the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) framework contract, which closes at the end of March. We have been advised that Government sanctions are not likely, but we all appreciate that this is a fast-changing situation. It is likely that the Government will develop a Procurement Policy Note (PPN) in relation to this issue and we have set up a Procurement Officers Teams meeting at 11am on Monday 7 March to discuss updates. If your council has not received an invite to the meeting and you want to attend, please email guy.head@local.gov.uk to arrange an invitation. Some councils have expressed a will to terminate their contracts with Gazprom. This currently remains a decision for individual councils, and we reiterate the advice to speak to your own legal teams before you make any decisions.

Preparing for PFI contract expiry – guidance

The Government has published guidance to help public sector organisations prepare for private finance initiative (PFI) contract expiry and to support them to manage the transition process and ensure that public services continue to be resilient, well-maintained and fit for purpose. As part of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority's (IPA's) commitment to driving reform within project delivery, the guidance provides a framework and practical guidance for managing the expiry process, including asset hand-back and service transition. The guidance:

  • sets out why effectively managing expiry is vital for ensuring value for money and seamless continuity of public services
  • makes recommendations on how to prepare for and manage the process
  • provides detailed guidance on how these activities might be undertaken.

All the information is based on lessons learned from expired and expiring 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.

Relational commissioning – harnessing the power of purpose alignment

Thursday 31 March, 2–3.30pm
E3M are pleased to invite you to the fourth webinar in the series linked to the E3M 'Procurement to Partnership' toolkit. This free webinar is aimed at commissioners from local public authorities, as well as leaders of social enterprises and other public benefit organisations, who want to explore new and more impactful ways of organising public services. With case studies from Plymouth and Croydon, the event will explore how local public authorities can work in partnership with social enterprises and the broader social economy to improve and develop local services through a relational approach to commissioning services.

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.

National Social Value Conference

27–28 April, 9am–5pm | Online, and at Church House, 31 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BN

The 5th annual National Social Value Conference will bring together social value experts and practitioners from a variety of sectors and industries across the UK. This year’s event marks the 10-year anniversary of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. And as we dive into ‘the social value decade’, you’ll hear from experts in the public, private and third sectors on the successes so far – and the challenges that lie ahead.


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: