NAG/SOPO newsletter/Covid-19 Supply Chain bulletin

Welcome to the NAG and SOPO newsletter for 22 October 2021. Feel free to circulate to your colleagues.


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

National Procurement Strategy


Benchmarking exercise

Councils who submitted responses to the benchmarking exercise will now be able to download a copy of your own council’s report; and now that the whole diagnostic has closed, you will be able to run a report that identifies your council’s progress with other similar councils: in your region, and nationally.


COVID-19 stories


Care home vaccinations and regulatory work

From 11 November, anyone who enters a care home as part of their professional responsibilities will need to show proof of vaccination unless they are exempt. This will apply to officers undertaking any food hygiene or health and safety work in care homes. The Health and Safety Executive, and the Food Standards Agency, will be providing further information shortly.


Non-COVID stories


National social care recruitment campaign launch

The Department of Health and Social Care is rolling out the latest phase of the national adult social care recruitment campaign, ‘Made with Care’, from November. This year, the campaign will run continuously until March 2022. Advertising will be run across all channels and will direct people to www.adultsocialcare.co.uk to find out more about adult social care and search for vacancies near them. Expert advice, templates and a new toolkit of recruitment assets will also be available from the campaign resource centre in time for the launch of the campaign. To receive updates, you can sign up to the campaign newsletter

Funding to recruit and retain adult social care staff

Care homes and home care providers will be able to access a share of £162.5 million in ringfenced funding for workforce recruitment, the Department for Health and Social Care has announced. The money will be available until the end of March 2022 and will also be available to help retain the existing workforce, for example through overtime payments. This funding is intended to ease pressures on the existing adult social care workforce but must be subject to less onerous spending restrictions than similar previous funding.

Apprenticeship incentives extended until January 2022

Following lobbying by the LGA, the Government announced that apprenticeship incentives will be extended until January 2022. The incentives, worth £3,000 per apprentice, were due to expire on 30 September but have now been extended for a further four months. Employers will be able to claim their incentive payments for apprentices hired between 1 October 2021 and 31 January 2022 when the application process opens in January.

Children’s social care market – interim findings

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published its interim report on children’s social care, which outlines significant concerns about the availability of placements and the profits of private providers. It found that the largest private providers could be earning higher profits than the CMA would expect in a well-functioning market.

Investment in laptops and tablets

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced an expansion of the 'Get help with technology' programme, with up to 10,000 devices available for eligible children (for example, those with a social worker or those leaving care). Laptops and tablets will help these vulnerable young people stay in touch with their social workers, personal advisors and wider support networks, along with supporting their education or training.

LGA recruiting a procurement adviser

The LGA Procurement team is looking for maternity cover for the procurement adviser role from December this year. We have decided to advertise it as two part-time roles in order that we attract a wider number of applicants and that, if we do go for a short-term secondment, then the person can remain working for their host organisation and it not be such a drain on their resources. The successful candidate will work as part of a team to:

  • lead networks of council procurement and commissioning officers for adults services, children’s services and construction
  • plan and run quarterly network meetings, webinars and other events – including drafting agendas and sourcing speakers
  • deliver an annual National Construction Conference that addresses key issues for the sector and construction industry (the date for which is set at early February 2022).

Interested parties should apply here


Climate change – COP26


Net Zero Strategy

The Government’s Net Zero Strategy has been unveiled ahead of the crucial 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) which the UK is hosting (together with Italy) in Glasgow. The strategy details how the Government aims to meet its legal target to cut climate-warming emissions to net zero by 2050. New investment in the plans includes £620 million for electric vehicle grants and infrastructure such as on-street charging, £500 million for innovation projects to develop new clean technologies and £140 million to help green hydrogen projects get off the ground.

Grants of £5,000 will also be available to households to replace their gas boiler with a low carbon heat pump as part of efforts to cut emissions from homes with the Government announcing a target for all new heating system installations to be low carbon by 2035. The grants, available from next April, will be provided through a £450 million boiler upgrade scheme. The move forms part of the Heat and Buildings Strategy, published alongside the Net Zero Strategy, which will see £3.9 billion invested to cut carbon from heating and buildings: including making social housing more energy efficient and cosier, and reducing emissions from public buildings over the next three years.

Local net zero

The LGA is calling on the Government to use next week’s Spending Review to begin work with councils and businesses on a national fiscal and policy framework to address the climate emergency. As part of that, we have published a new report, 'Delivering local net zero', which sets out the case for why councils are best-placed to deliver green infrastructure projects in local communities – which would support the Government’s ambition to level up, build back better, and tackle the climate emergency. It evidences how over 1,000 homes a day could be retrofitted with low-carbon efficiency measures by councils by 2030 – reducing energy bills by nearly £700 million – with the right investment and support.

Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF)

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has closed Wave 1 of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) competition. For Wave 1, the Government committed up to £160 million in the financial year 2021/22, with delivery running to January 2023. For further information email shdf.enquiries@beis.gov.uk

Green energy investment

The Government has announced a new partnership with Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Catalyst to drive an extra £200 million of private sector investment in green power schemes in the UK. The Government said plans being announced at the Global Investment Summit, held in London this week, would see £9.7 billion of new overseas investment in the UK, creating 30,000 additional jobs.


Webinars


2021 National Social Value Conference: Wales – 'Leading the Movement' | 16–17 November 2021

The National Social Value Conference: Wales returns this year from Saturday 16 to Sunday 17 November. Last year, we saw a hugely successful two-day virtual conference with over 800 delegates from across public bodies and anchor institutions in Wales. Register now for this free event


Resources


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: