NAG/SOPO newsletter

Welcome to the NAG newsletter for October 2018. Please feel free to share with your networks.

News and updates

Your councils will have by now received an invitation (and several reminders!) to participate in the National Procurement Strategy 2018 Benchmarking exercise. We’ve had a great response so far but following requests from councils we have agreed to keep the exercise open for a few more days. If you have not completed your return then please can you look at doing so at your earliest convenience. We are hoping for a better response than the 2017 exercise that achieved a 60 per cent return. The results will help us to identify which areas we need to focus on from a central perspective to provide councils with training and other support. We think we have contacted one person from each council but if your council has not received an invite, or you need to know who we sent it to please contact

Tina attended the excellent EELGA Procurement Masterclass where she was reminded about the CMA bid-rigging tool. Thirty-six councils have used it already and found it to be really useful in helping them to identify the potential for fraudulent activity in their tenders. The tool is free of charge but you will need to register on the GitHub site first (the details are on this page).

Tina has been speaking to Laura Hough from MHCLG. Laura is undertaking a review into the risk of procurement fraud and corruption in local government and is looking to conduct some workshops with procurement officers, internal auditors and service managers in councils starting late November/early December. These workshops are intended to be a forum to discuss risks, case studies and challenges to improvement and will be conducted under Chatham House rules. Is this something you are interested in contributing to?  Could you offer a meeting room? If so please contact Laura directly

Do any councils want to join in piloting the skills assessment approach being run by the Government Commercial Function? The approach is a self-assessment against the Commercial Standards. Each participating organisation receives a report that identifies what works well and areas for improvement and participants have access to various skills masterclasses etc. Contact if you are interested and would like more information.

DCMS recently launched their Civil Society Strategy – Building a Future that works for Everyone. There are a number of social value commitments in the strategy including expecting central government to apply the terms of the Act to goods and works (something some councils have been doing for many years) and to ‘account for’ rather than ‘consider’ social value in new procurements. The strategy also talks about learning and development on applying social value in commissioning and procurement. Once I find out further details and how councils can contribute I will update you.

Submissions are now invited for the 2019 National Schools Delivery Cost Benchmarking exercise through completion of the cost form. This is a hugely important study providing a reference point for councils when assessing schools costs. This study from last year has a dataset with a capital value of over £3.7 billion from 126 local authorities across England. The study now has good data on the actual costs of primary, secondary and SEN school projects including cost per place, gross costs and net costs. Find out more and download copies of the last five annual studies.

The LGA recently launched the next funding round of One Public Estate. This round will see £15 million of funding available for councils to develop land and property projects in partnership with central government and the wider public sector. You may be aware that the programme has recently expanded at the centre with MHCLG joining the programme delivery team alongside the LGA and Cabinet Office. This will see the programme place particular emphasis on one of the most pressing domestic policy priorities: increasing housing supply.  The Invitation to Apply has full details of the funding offer.

We are still talking to councils who are concerned about a significant rise in prices for Microsoft licenses and we have a meeting with Microsoft next week. We believe that many councils will be affected by the new pricing, with councils in some cases facing increases of between 50 and 100 per cent when their current deals run out. Councils collectively spend in the region of £87 million annually with Microsoft and the license resellers. If your council is affected by these price rises and wishes to be kept informed about the collective local government response please contact

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry into the Government’s Management of Major Projects. Download the full terms of reference. There is one specific reference point which concerns councils directly: What lessons can be learned from examples of projects in other countries or under the control of devolved or local government?  If your council wants to submit some evidence to the Committee, please send directly to the Committee.  Please note the tight timescale – evidence needs to be submitted by Friday 9 November 2018. You might also be called to give evidence. If you have any questions or require further information please contact

The Cabinet Office EU and International Procurement Policy team continue to work on a range of projects that will ensure that the public procurement regime continues to function once we leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. Post-exit the procurement rules will operate broadly unchanged. In the event of a Negotiated Scenario, you can access the draft Withdrawal Agreement as well as the subsequent Joint Statement.

In the unlikely event of ‘no deal’, the current law will be altered so as to remain operable and largely the same; the main difference being the need to send notices to the new UK specific e-notification service instead of OJEU Tenders Electronic Daily (TED).

The Government has already carried out extensive preparations and has published a series of technical notices so that businesses and citizens can prepare for March 2019. Please find a link to the technical notice on public procurement. If you have a question relating to public procurement in a ‘No Deal’ Brexit scenario, please direct your call to 0345 410 2222 and all emails to

And finally, many congratulations to Zamil Ahmed and his team at Tower Hamlets for achieving a CIPS Procurement Excellence Standard, Karen Moorhouse, City of London Corporation for winning the CIPS Young Procurement and Supply Professional of the Year and to Cornwall Council for scooping the CIPS Best Public Procurement award in September.


Digitech18 – the technology &and procurement showcase for the public sector
31 October 2018

This free event is a public sector technology show that will address the issues and challenges faced by the UK public sector specifically when procuring technology. It will feature a large exhibition featuring 60+ framework suppliers and our event partners, plus two dedicated seminar theatres and an 800 seater plenary area.

The UK public sector spend on technology as a proportion of budgets has seen a significant increase over recent years. Additionally, the emphasis now being placed on the role of IT as a key enabler in the transformation of both public services and the way in which those services are delivered can only lead to greater focus on how to derive the greatest benefit from spending on technology products and services.  Find out more and book.

(I’m told the workshop on AI and Chatbots being delivered by colleagues from YPO, Ashley Cartwright and Gavin Rimmington, will definitely be one to attend!)

JCT Training Sessions
7 November 2018
City of London - London Corporation, Chamberlain’s Department, Guildhall, London, EC2V 7HH

These sessions are for councils who use JCT contracts in construction procurement and looks to help procurement and construction officers understand JCT contracts. We are also looking into making arrangements for further sessions in other regions, more details of when and where these will be will follow. The sessions will run from 10am to 3pm including lunch and will cover how to select the right form of contract for your project, problem solving, structure of the contracts and interpretation and more information on design, variations and changes, completion and defects and extension of time. 

Book now. These events are password protected on the Eventbrite booking site – to log in and reserve your place please use password: JCTworld

National Social Value Conference
20-21 November 2018
The Studio, Manchester

This year the National Social Value Conference will have as its central theme ‘Inspiring Leadership’ and builds on the great success of the 2017 Conference. This year speakers include the Mayor of Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Andy Burnham, the Rt. Honourable Hazel Blears, Claire Dove OBE, the Crown Representative for VCSEs and the Head of Policy from the Federation of Small Businesses, Martin McTague.

The conference will also see the launch of the FSB Toolkit for Engaging SMEs aimed at getting more small businesses working with the public sector, updates to the National TOMs including Sector plug ins for Real Estate and Health, the launch of the LGA Good Practice Guide for SV Performance and Contract Management, as well as a review of how the National TOMs map onto the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Find out more and book.

Local Government Procurement Expo
28 November 2018
Novotel London West, Hammersmith

The Local Government Procurement Expo (LGPE) 2018 is specifically designed to enhance the overall skills and capabilities of people working in the local government procurement sector.  With a new National Procurement Strategy (NPS) now launched, LGPE 2018 is a one-day event that provides a unique opportunity for buyers and suppliers to participate within a range of educational and networking features, aligned to the outputs and objectives of the ongoing strategy. Come and see us on the LGA stand. Book now.

WIG and LGA Social Care Conference – Working Better Together
30 January 2019
Note this new date!:
This conference looks bring together health and social care commissioners and providers from across the public, private and voluntary sectors to have rich conversations about working better together in these challenging times. The conversations will be stimulated by inspiring speakers including a panel of health and social care commissioners and providers sharing their thoughts on how to tackle the challenges (confirmed speakers Think Local Act Personal, Shared Lives Plus, Community Catalyst) and case studies on a health and care partnership for transformation, on local area co-ordination, asset based social care, harnessing communities and co-production, amongst other themes. Book your place.

National Construction Conference
7 February 2019

The sixth national construction category conference focuses primarily on the responses from and lessons learned across local government and the construction industry over what has been a difficult year. This event represents a significant opportunity to network with peers and participate in a host of plenary, panel and workshop sessions to deliver an increased contribution from the sector in shaping, delivering and quality assuring services and increased confidence Increased confidence that local government is having the right conversations and taking real action to capture and disseminate lessons learned to the sector. Entry is free to local government officers. Book now.

Children's Services Commissioning and Procurement Group
10 January 2019
Room 3 and 4, Council House, Waterloo St, Birmingham, B1 1BB

The group is fantastic for sharing good practice in children’s services commissioning and procurement. In the past we have heard from.

  • The Government Outcomes Lab about how social impact bonds can be used in commissioning and procurement projects
  • Newcastle City Council and the North East Procurement Organisations on sharing good practice on contract management
  • Edwina Grant OBE on The Newton Europe Research – Spend data on Children’s Services

This event will focus on redrafting some national templates for children’s services contracts, as well as engaging with suppliers in a strategic way. If you have something to share and you would like to be part of the agenda, please do let us know. Please contact if you are able to attend and if you have any special requirements.