Procurement and supply chain: 31 March 2023

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Procurement and supply chain bulletin

31 March 2023

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Welcome to the merged NAG/SOPO newsletter – feel free to circulate to your colleagues and/or suggest they sign up to the bulletin themselves.
This newsletter is now delivered through our corporate service that handles all our various e-bulletins. Manage or create a subscription - previous bulletins can now be found here.

Procurement and supply chain

Energy Bills Discount Scheme – additional support for museums, libraries and historic buildings 

The new Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) [ Energy Bills Discount Scheme - GOV.UK (] will commence on 1 April 2023 and run until 31 March 2024. Under the scheme, the government will provide a baseline discount to support energy bills for eligible non-domestic customers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. As with the original Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS), suppliers will automatically apply reductions to the bills of all eligible non-domestic customers.

However, action is required by eligible Energy and Trade Intensive Industries (ETII). They must apply for higher support via a digital portal that will open on the EBDS webpages on 3 April 2023. The complete list of eligible sectors includes libraries, archives, museums, heritage sites, botanical gardens and nature reserves.

To be eligible for the higher level of support, organisations must meet the following criteria:

  • Be on an existing fixed price contract from a licensed energy supplier, agreed on or after 1 December 2021
  • The organisation physically consuming the energy will need to be the one to apply for the higher discount.
  • For local authority entities, eligibility will be determined at a premise level. Where no relevant accounts exist, the local authority must declare that operations within an eligible sector take up at least 50 per cent of the space. 

The higher discount level will apply to 70 per cent of energy volumes and will be subject to a maximum discount of £40.0/MWh for gas and £89.1/MWh for electricity.

Construction firms fined nearly £60 million for breaking competition law by bid rigging

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has fined 10 construction firms a total of nearly £60 million for illegally colluding to rig bids for demolition and asbestos removal contracts involving both public and private sector projects. The CMA has so far also secured the disqualification of 3 directors of firms involved in the unlawful conduct.

The bids were rigged by one or more of the construction firms agreeing to submit bids that were deliberately priced to lose the tender. This practice, known as ‘cover bidding’, can result in customers paying higher prices or receiving lower quality services.

In addition, 5 of the firms, on at least one occasion each, were involved in arrangements by which the designated ‘losers’ of the contracts were set to be compensated by the winner. You can read about this case in more detail here.

Free advice and support

• The CMA has free e-learning and guidance for public procurers to help you recognise suspicious bidding patterns and know how best to report concerns.
• Members of the CMA’s cartels enforcement team are available to meet with commercial teams, via virtual or in-person presentations, to talk through what bid rigging behaviours look like, identify possible red flags to look out for and how to report suspicious activity to the CMA.

To book a CMA presentation for your procurement team contact:

Adult social care grants: Market Sustainability and Improvement Fund  

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published guidance and grant information relating to the Market Sustainability and Improvement Fund (MSIF) 2023-24. The guidance states that the primary purpose of the fund is to support local authorities to make tangible improvements to adult social care services in their area, in particular to build capacity and improve market sustainability. The LGA’s Partners in Care and Health programme will be running webinars after Easter to talk through the MSIF guidance, details of which will be shared through the usual channels.

Net zero growth plan 

The Government published its Powering Up Britain - The Net Zero Growth Plan this week. This plan is government’s response to the expert recommendations made in the Independent Review of Net Zero report, the outcome of the independent review into net zero, chaired by the Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP, and government’s response to the Climate Change Committee’s 2022 Progress Report to Parliament. In addition to The Net Zero Growth Plan, government published 38 other climate related documents which Carbon Brief have compiled into a Google Doc Green day document dump - Google Drive

The public sector and net zero: showing how it is done

The Association of Decentralised Energy have produced a report that outlines the key role local authorities can play in helping build a common vision for the future, by helping everyone understand what the details of a net zero future will look like and that they are ideally placed to co-create this shared view with their communities.

Critically, the public sector can drive participation by demanding that the organisations that it works with (such as suppliers, delivery partners and recipients of financial support) are involved in net zero action and are working towards carbon emission reduction plans. This requirement can be delivered with accompanying support for organisations, in particular small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), that may otherwise struggle to meet the new requirements. 

The Design Council are still taking applications for the Design Differently, Climate Change Community Based Programme – for more information please contact

How to build resilience and strengthen the cyber security procurement process – Procurement Essentials

Britain has recently been named the ‘cyber-attack capital of Europe’. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is the UK’s technical authority for cyber security incidents. According to its 2022 annual review, over the last year the cyber security threat has evolved significantly and businesses and organisations in the UK reported hundreds of cyber incidents to the NCSC, 63 of which were significant enough to require a national level response. The Crown Commercial Service have published the latest in their Procurement Essentials series on building resilience.

The LGA has developed sector specific online guidance on Embedding cyber resilience in local government supply chains as well as an accompanying e-learning course – Foundations of cyber resilience in local government supply chains.

The free e-learning course provides local government procurement officers and contract managers with an in-depth introduction to cyber security, helping them to embed greater cyber resilience in supply chains by implementing cyber security best practice throughout the procurement cycle.

Webinars and events

Commissioned by the Home Office, the Shiva Foundation are hosting a series of lunchtime Modern Slavery in the supply chain webinars throughout April:

Shiva Foundation Modern slavery statements and policies

Tuesday 18 April, 1:00pm – 2:00pm | Virtual

Shiva Foundation Training and modern slavery leads

Tuesday 20 April, 1:00pm – 2:00pm | Virtual

Shiva Foundation Modern Slavery Risk assessments and risk mapping

Tuesday 25 April, 1:00pm – 2:00pm | Virtual

Shiva Foundation Modern Slavery Procurement protocols, supplier engagement and auditing

Thursday 27 April, 1:00pm – 2:00pm | Virtual

Shiva Foundation Modern Slavery Reporting and remediation

Tuesday 2 May, 1:00pm – 2:00pm | Virtual

Local Government Procurement Expo (LGPE) 2023 Conference

 27 April 2023, Hammersmith, London | In person conference

CIPFA - Unleash the Power of Procurement to Deliver Better Public Services Conference

16 May 2023, ICAEW (auditorium), London | In person

Supplier Development Programme (SDP) Meet the Buyer Conference

17 May 2023, 10:00am – 4:00pm, Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) | In person

Towards a Social Value Economy - The Social Value Conference 2023

13 - 14 June 2023, Westminster, London | In person conference


The LGA Procurement team manages a number of webpages dedicated for your needs – please contact if you want anything uploaded to our webpages.

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