Procurement and supply chain bulletin: 13 January 2023

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Procurement and supply chain bulletin

13 January 2023

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Procurement and supply chain

Procurement Bill – Second Reading

The Procurement Bill was debated in the House of Commons on Monday 9 January. As a second reading, it was a general debate without amendments. The need to ensure improved transparency in the award of public contracts dominated the exchanges. There was widespread support from MPs for the proposed stronger SME focus and the single platform which will underpin the new regime. The importance of being able to buy local was also discussed, as was the scope of the proposed regime as regards the NHS and clinical services.

Th Public Bill Committee in the Commons will now scrutinise the Bill line by line and has put out a Procurement Bill call for evidence with a deadline of 23 February 2023. The LGA will respond, not least to push for the in-house and public-public cooperation exemptions under the existing Regulations (PCR 2015) to be unambiguously maintained in the new regime. The amended Bill will then return to the floor of the House of Commons for its report stage where it will be further debated and amended.

Find out more about the Procurement Bill in:

The Cabinet Office will continue to run 'Transforming Public Procurement' update webinars (see 'Webinars and events' section below) for those who want to know more about the progress of the Bill and next steps.

Local Partnerships procurement process mapping toolkit – attend a workshop

Local Partnerships and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) are working together to produce a new Procurement process mapping toolkit which will be launched in February and will be freely available for all councils to use. To help start the process, they are running a series of workshops for council officers to learn more. The introductory sessions are suitable for anyone working in procurement at any level, who just wants to learn more. Intermediate workshops are aimed at heads of procurement and managers:

Business process mapping toolkit explained (introductory workshop)

These workshops are suitable for anyone working in procurement at any level, who just wants to learn more:

Lead your own process mapping (intermediate workshop)

These workshops are suitable for heads of procurement and managers:

Energy Bills Discount Scheme 

The Government has announced the extension of the Energy Bills Discount Scheme for businesses and published Energy Bills Discount Scheme guidance. It is a positive development that the Government is now including public sector organisations (including councils) in the support scheme. This is a change to its earlier position.

The scheme has been extended for a further 12 months, which will provide greater certainty in setting budgets. The scheme includes a higher level of support for businesses in sectors identified as being the most intensive in terms of energy and trade. Libraries, museums, archives, historic buildings and visitor attractions have been included in this list of sectors and will receive extra support. However, leisure centres and swimming pools have been deemed not to require extra support. This is counter to the evidence we submitted and is likely to lead to widespread closures across the country. We will continue to raise our concerns with the Government about the need for additional support for the leisure sector.

Councils are encouraged to share this information with businesses in their area.

Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) secures offer from Education Software Solutions Limited (ESS) for eligible schools to switch contracts

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced that it has secured ESS’s offer for eligible schools to switch contracts following its previous intervention. ESS has offered and signed binding commitments meaning that:

  • eligible schools can now apply to exit longer term software contracts a year early
  • certain schools to apply to an independent adjudicator for a 12-month break clause – if granted, the clause will allow them to exit their current three-year contract with ESS on 31 March 2024 and choose an alternative provider, should they so wish
  • the deadline for schools to apply for a break clause is Friday 10 February, with applicants to be notified of the results of their application (by independent adjudicator, Evelyn Partners) by Friday 31 March.

ESS is the largest provider of school management information system (MIS) software in England and Wales. In the UK, most state schools are required to have a management information system (MIS) in place to manage information on staff and students including for handling attendance and safeguarding.

Schools interested in applying for a break clause should read:

Councils are encouraged to share this information with schools in their area.

Free PPE to health and social care sectors extended

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced its decision to extend the central, free provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the health and care sector for protection against COVID-19, by up to one year to 31 March 2024 or until stocks are depleted.

Better Hiring Toolkit for care

A first-of-its-kind Better Hiring Toolkit has been launched, providing an essential guide for care sector employers to make informed, safer recruitment decisions. The free toolkit provides simplified guidance to support employers with obtaining and providing effective references and conduct information. With social care staff and volunteers providing support for some of the most vulnerable people, the toolkit is focused upon the safety of:

  • the people employers are entrusted to care for
  • the staff who carry out these roles.

Electricity Generator Levy and energy from waste

HM Treasury has published draft legislation for the Electricity Generator Levy which confirms its intention to include energy from waste (EfW) within the scope of the Levy. The LGA had made representations to exclude EfW. The legislation will be introduced with the Finance Bill in early 2023. The draft legislation does make some concessions, deducting from the Levy cases for exceptional fuel costs and revenue sharing, and we’re seeking further clarification that this applies to EfW.

The impact of the Levy on individual councils is uncertain because it will apply to companies at the group level. It is unclear whether, and how, this will be passed down to individual EfW plants and on to councils using those plants. Local Partnerships and Defra are hosting a Network Group meeting on this issue in March – please email if you would like to attend.

Webinars and events

Greenhouse gas accounting – including a focus on waste (LGA webinar)
Tuesday 17 January, 10.00am–11.30am | Zoom

Cabinet Office 'Transforming Public Procurement' update
Wednesday 18 January, 2.00pm–3.00pm | Online

Cabinet Office 'Transforming Public Procurement' update
Monday 23 January, 2.30pm–3.30pm | Online

Decarbonising transport (LGA webinar)
Tuesday 24 January, 10.00am–11.30am | Zoom

Social Value 101 (Social Value Portal webinar)
Thursday 26 January, 2.00pm–3.00pm | Online

LGA National Construction Conference (London)
Thursday 2 February, 9.15am–3.30pm | 18 Smith Square, London SW1P 3HZ

LGA National Construction Conference (Leeds)
Tuesday 7 March, 9.15am–3.30pm | Horizon Leeds, 2 Brewery Wharf, Kendall Street, Leeds LS10 1JR

Procurement Reform Conference (London)
Wednesday 1 March, 8.30am–4.00pm | Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Broad Sanctuary, London SW1P 3EE

Procurement Reform Conference (Manchester)
Tuesday 14 March, 8.30am–4.00pm | Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel, Portland Street, Manchester M1 4PH


The LGA Procurement team manages several LGA webpages dedicated to your needs. Please email if you would like any information added to our webpages: