Weekly COVID-19 supply chain bulletin: 1 April 2022

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.


LGA logo colour

Weekly COVID-19 supply chain bulletin

1 April 2022

Twitter IconLinkedIn IconFacebook IconYoutube icon

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 personal protective equipment (PPE) portal

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), in partnership with NHS Supply Chain, has launched a new personal protective equipment (PPE) portal to allow continued access to free PPE and related items for eligible users until 31 March 2023. All eligible users will have received, or will be receiving over the coming weeks and months, an invitation to migrate to the new portal.

Admission and care of people in care homes

COVID-19 guidance relating to admission and care of people in care homes has been revised.

Changes to COVID-19 testing in England from 1 April

The UK Health Security Agency has published information on who can access free COVID-19 tests from 1 April, and how to get them. The Government will continue to work together with partners to keep all of these measures under review. The devolved governments have set out their own plans. Lateral flow tests will continue to be available to buy from pharmacies and supermarkets, including online.

COVID-19 workforce fund extended to Easter to support with the costs of staff absences in schools and colleges

The COVID-19 workforce fund has been extended to provide financial support to eligible schools and colleges, for costs incurred due to staff absences from 22 November 2021 until 8 April 2022. The fund is available to support schools and colleges facing significant staffing and funding pressures in continuing to deliver face-to-face, high-quality education to all pupils. Further information on the COVID-19 workforce fund is available in the Department for Education's guidance on the workforce fund for schools and the workforce fund for colleges, which has been updated to reflect the extension.

Non-COVID stories

Procurement Policy Note on contracts with suppliers from Russia or Belarus

The Cabinet Office published Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 01/2022 regarding contracts with Russian or Belarusian suppliers. The PPN applies to central government departments and executive agencies and is advisory for all other public contracting authorities. As set out at paragraph 4 of the PPN, councils are reminded that they are subject to section 17 of the Local Government Act 1988, which prohibits councils from taking into account in their procurement decisions, non-commercial considerations, including the location of any country or territory of the business activities or interests of contractors, or from terminating contracts for non-commercial reasons.

FAQs regarding contracts with Russian or Belarusian suppliers are included in the guidance document. As the PPN notes, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is considering an amendment through secondary legislation to address the issue.

The LGA continues to work closely with councils with Gazprom contracts and other Russian-based suppliers. Our next meeting is at 12pm on Monday 4 April – if your council has not received an invitation and you want to attend please email guy.head@local.gov.uk

As ever, we strongly advise you to speak to your own legal teams before you make any decisions on these matters.

Use of Russian technology products and services following the invasion of Ukraine – advice from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)

We recommend that all those affected read the updated NCSC advice on the use of Russian technology products and services following the invasion of Ukraine. Please note that this advice does not specify how to evaluate risk because this will differ depending on a council's level of exposure to Russian-based tech products. Each council will have to evaluate the potential damage to their enterprise if Russian-nexus products and services are suborned, but the advice suggests that it would be prudent to err on the side of caution, for example:

  • if you are more likely to be a target for the Russian state because of what’s going on, then it would be prudent to consider your reliance on all types of Russian technology products or services (including, but not limited to, cloud-enabled products such as antivirus products)
  • if you use services that are provided out of Russia (including development and support services), then you should think about how you can insulate yourself from compromise or misuse of these services – this is true if you contract directly with a Russian entity or with a non-Russian company with employees located in Russia.

You may choose to remove Russian products and services proactively, wait until your contract expires (or your next tech refresh), or do it in response to some geopolitical event. Alternatively, you may choose to live with the risk. Whatever you choose, remember that cyber security, even in a time of global unrest, remains a balance of different risks. Rushing to change a product that's deeply embedded in your enterprise could end up causing the very damage you're trying to prevent.

If you have concerns about next steps, or require more assistance, please email the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities' (DLUHC's) Cyber team – who are coordinating the response for the sector – at cyber@localdigital.gov.uk

Information on gas and electricity contracts for education settings – find a DfE-approved framework for your school

The energy market remains volatile, and prices remain high. This has the potential to impact on all sectors, including education. The situation facing individual education settings will depend on:

  • the contract length (typically 12, 24 or 36 months)
  • if the energy rate is variable, or fixed, for the life of the contract
  • when the contract is due for renewal
  • who the suppliers are.

The Department for Education (DfE) recommends that educational settings do not allow their existing contracts to expire and contact their current supplier to discuss a contract extension, as buying energy out of contract is more expensive than buying at the market rate.

DfE-approved energy framework suppliers are available to provide renewal quotes for schools. These frameworks provide a compliant route to market and different options based on a school’s need.

School procurement teams can request advice and guidance for procurement
of energy contracts via the Government's 'Get help buying for schools' service.

Consultation on ending the sale of new, non-zero emission buses, coaches and minibuses

The Department for Transport (DfT) and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) launched a consultation on ending the sale of new, non-zero emission buses, coaches and minibuses (open until 21 May) seeking feedback on proposals to progress ending the sale of new non-zero emission buses by inviting views on:

  • the challenges of transitioning to zero emission coaches and minibuses
  • what would be needed to withdraw the sale of these vehicles
  • what Government can do to accelerate the transition to zero emission coaches and minibuses
  • setting a realistic date to end the sale of these vehicles.

Net Zero Go – a new platform helping councils realise investable clean energy projects that benefit their local area

Backed by UK Government, co-developed with local authorities, and delivered by Energy Systems Catapult, Net Zero Go was launched last week – offering practical support to councils looking to deliver clean energy targets, for all stages of development, from research and ideas, to building and operating. The platform simplifies the process of building business cases, giving users tools to aid the development of projects – including templates, best practice guidance, checklists, benefits tools and procurement tools. Net Zero Go also offers users the opportunity to see what other councils are doing – comparing and sharing how best to set up clean energy targets.


Market engagement and determining the business need

Wednesday 6 April, 1pm–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.

Local Government Procurement Expo (LGPE)

Thursday 21 April, 9am–5pm | In person at Novotel London West (Hammersmith), One Shortlands, London W6 8DR, partly streamed online

The Local Government Procurement Expo (LGPE) 2022 will take place in an innovative hybrid format – live at the Novotel Hammersmith with some elements streamed online. This event brings the local government community together with the UK’s top suppliers. For our members who have still to attend their first LGPE, we encourage you to get involved. The expo offers a fulfilling day of personal procurement training and, by attending, you will find out more about the key issues that affect all of us who work within local government in the UK.

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.

Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool updates and scope 3 emissions webinar

Thursday 28 April 2022, 10am–11.30am

The Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool has proven popular with local authorities for their emissions reporting since its launch in 2020. With feedback from users, it has undergone further development ahead of the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) conversion factors being released in June 2022. This webinar will discuss the improvements and changes to the tool, as well as providing guidance on Scope 3 emissions reporting.


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: