Weekly COVID-19 supply chain bulletin: 8 April 2022

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Weekly COVID-19 supply chain bulletin

8 April 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

Personal protective equipment (PPE) at work regulations are 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 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 work under a contract for service). The Health and Safety Executive has prepared interim guidance on personal protective equipment at work explaining the changes, to help employers identify whether they may be impacted and what they need to do to prepare. Councils are encouraged to share this new information as appropriate.

COVID-19 business grant funding schemes – guidance for councils

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) updated the guidance for local authorities on paying grants to support businesses during national lockdown periods and periods of local restrictions. The assurance guidance has been updated to reflect the correct minimum assurance criteria for the Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme.

Non-COVID stories

Gazprom and energy suppliers from Russia or Belarus

Central Government departments are working on a statutory instrument that would amend section 17 of the Local Government Act, however this will take several weeks to go through the proper legal and parliamentary processes and is not expected this side of Easter. The LGA continues to work closely with councils with Gazprom contracts and other Russian-based suppliers. Our next meeting is at 12pm on Monday 11 April – if your council has not received an invitation and you want to attend please email guy.head@local.gov.uk

We recommend that you read the PPN01/22 Procurement Policy Note FAQs, which include council-specific information, if you have not already done so.

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

Embedding cyber security in local government supply chains – procurement officers required for stakeholder interviews

Our LGA Cyber Resilience Project is developing learning materials to embed cyber resilience into local government supply chains. We have received an excellent response from your IT teams but we still want to hear views and experiences from procurement officers and contract managers who will, understandably, have lower levels of exposure and understanding to these ever-growing issues. Gaining the procurement officer perspective is crucial to ensuring that the guidance is helpful, relevant and effective for you in your everyday roles. If you would like to be involved, please email andrew@public.io or book a 30 to 45-minute LGA Cyber Resilience Project stakeholder interview

UK public sector unused Microsoft licenses transfer proposal

The LGA Procurement team is happy to endorse the proposal to support a reduction in operating costs of the NHS by identifying unused Microsoft Office licences available within the UK public sector and transferring them to the NHS for reuse with clinical applications. In 2020, the NHS entered into a national agreement with Microsoft to provide local NHS organisations with discounted Microsoft licences. The agreement was developed in response to demand from local NHS organisations for cost-effective upgrades for a set of widely used software products from Microsoft. We are seeking public sector organisations no longer using perpetual Microsoft Office suite (2013, 2016, or 2019) licences who would be willing to transfer unused licenses – to help the NHS and save the public purse. If you have implemented Microsoft Office 365, it is very likely you may have suitable perpetual licences which are now redundant. A number of licence transfers have been carried out, with the initial pilot being supported by Barnsley Council who kindly offered licences saving approximately £200,000.

Please email Andrea Perrot, Microsoft Licensing Specialist (Collaboration Services), at windows10@nhs.net for more information or if you wish to take part in the scheme.

Impact of energy costs on leisure providers

In collaboration with leisure centre industry association Ukactive, we have produced a briefing note for councils and leisure providers on the impact of rising energy costs outlining some management and mitigation options that can be put in place to respond to rising costs. We know that leisure providers (both in-house and external) are being adversely and disproportionately affected by rising energy costs because leisure centres have high energy demands – especially for those facilities with swimming pools. We are working with Ukactive to monitor and understand the impact of rising energy costs to the leisure sector and feed this into our discussions with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Sport England. If you would like to share how this issue is impacting on your service and communities, please email samantha.ramanah@local.gov.uk – we are particularly keen to receive projected increased costs for rising energy bills.

Guidance on flexible use of capital receipts

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has updated the direction and statutory guidance on extending the freedom for councils to use eligible capital receipts to fund the revenue costs of projects that deliver ongoing savings or improved efficiency. The direction allows councils to break from these normal restrictions and use the proceeds from asset sales to fund the revenue costs of projects that will reduce costs, increase revenue or support a more efficient provision of services. This is an extension of the flexibility that has been in place since 2016 – it will allow this freedom to continue to 2024/25 to help councils plan for the long term. Any questions about the new scheme can be directed to the DLUHC finance team at capitalreceiptsflexibility@levellingup.gov.uk

Procuring net zero carbon construction

Building and construction operations are estimated to be responsible for 39 per cent of all carbon emissions in the world, and significant procurement changes are required to ensure that net zero solutions are adopted as the new industry norms. Despite a wealth of evidence showing the improved outcomes that are achieved through more integrated procurement approaches, many in the construction industry continue to remain stuck in lowest-price bid processes and risk dumping contractual provisions that do little or nothing to deliver net zero objectives or other measures of improved value. A new research paper from the King’s College London Centre of Construction Law and Dispute Resolution – Procuring Net Zero Construction – assesses the challenges of net zero and shows how better results can be achieved through an integrated approach to procurement strategies, team selection, contracts and management.
The research team behind the research paper will welcome your feedback, which should be addressed to david.mosey@kcl.ac.uk

Events and webinars

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

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

The fifth 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.

Government Commercial Function Contract Management Conference

Thursday 28 April, 9.30am–1.30pm | Online

This conference will feature a mix of keynote, breakout and led discussion sessions. The four key sessions with speakers and facilitators will cover:

  • developing communities of practice
  • 'the rocky road to accreditation'
  • breakout workshops
  • contract resilience.

Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool updates and scope 3 emissions webinar

Thursday 28 April, 10am–11.30am | Online

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.

Harnessing the full potential of social enterprises for public services and to meet local needs

Wednesday 25 May, 9.30am–5.30pm | Central London location (venue to be confirmed)

Set against the context of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented economic and social challenges faced by communities across the country, this seminar will explore how public bodies can harness the full potential of social enterprises as purpose-aligned partners to the public sector.
Through cases studies, expert commentary and interactive discussions, participants will explore how social enterprises can bring intrinsic social value, agility and innovation – and how they can work with public sector commissioners in relational partnerships, at scale, to meet the needs of people and communities.

Children's Commissioning Conference – In It Together: commissioning children’s health, care and educational outcomes in uncertain times

Thursday 23–Friday 24 June | The Hayes Conference Centre, Hayes Lane, Swanwick, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 1AU

Organised by commissioners for commissioners, the Children's Commissioning Conference is the event to share best practice from across commissioning. This event will include over 30 workshops focused on informing and improving commissioning offering the opportunity to learn from commissioning colleagues and children’s services experts.


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: