NAG/SOPO newsletter

Welcome to July’s NAG/SOPO newsletter

News and Updates

Collectively, councils spend around £2 billion annually directly on IT, with £1 billion of this spent on sourcing and supporting software applications. Indirect spend will take this figure even higher. After much consultation we have now launched our new National technological and digital procurement category strategy (ICT Category Strategy for short). With thanks to everyone who got involved in this. Download a version here.

Councils are no strangers to being innovative and showing initiative in response to local need. What is new is the scale of the challenge: budgets shrinking whilst costs and demand continue to rise, all of which impact on local services and local communities. If we want to create sustainable solutions, being enterprising is now more important than ever. LGA has now updated its ‘enterprising councils’ guidance which is available to download here.

A new report from the Institute of Public Care (IPC) at Oxford Brookes University highlights how taking a performance management approach can help councils deliver outcomes and better manage demand in adult social care.

The Contracts and Marketing Authority is developing a tool which can be used to test procurement data for signs of illegal bid rigging. Some further background information can be found here.

CMA has now published a version of the tool and the algorithms at its core on GitHub, an open source development platform. This is to ensure that it can be used and potentially developed by interested procurers and others while they complete the process of ensuring the levels of assurance that will make it accessible to all public-sector procurers. The assurance processes is expected to be completed over the summer and CMA will relaunch the tool in the Autumn, but councils now have the opportunity to review it, use it yourselves and provide feedback to CMA.

To receive log in details to access the GitHub site and download the tool, please email You will be able to download the tool and test your procurement data. A user guide will be sent with the GitHub log in details and includes advice on what to do if your tests flag suspicious results.

You may be aware of the new obligations which come into effect in May 2018 relating to General Data Protection Regulations – lots of councils are asking if there could be a standard set of contractual clauses that councils might consider using to link obligations to GDPR when they outsource or procure external ICT services. The hope would be that these clauses point suppliers to the additional special new obligations being placed upon public sector organisations for GDPR Has anyone out there already started to give thought to this? Has anyone written or commissioned such clauses for their internal use that they would be willing to share? Please contact my colleague if so. If you want to learn more about GDPR you can join our new Knowledge Hub site.

Following the consultation on the apprentice levy One of my Workforce colleagues has been doing some work on a guide to procuring training providers (ie using the Apprenticeship Levy) and has been meeting with council HR and workforce teams around the country. The discussions have highlighted the need for further networking and discussion perhaps on a regional basis focussing on the practicalities of there being national framework/dps contracts from which councils can call off apprenticeships providers to meet their needs. We are pondering a few questions following our initial round of meetings:

  • has anyone out there awarded a contract to a main provider and the main providers have subcontracted the training and if so does this equate to any potential levy savings?
  • How are councils evaluating these tenders, what quality criteria is being used?
  • Are any councils comparing prices based on old apprenticeship framework and the new standards? Is this comparison influencing their levy spend and apprenticeship targets?

If you have the answer to any of these questions, or are interested in potential future regional events on this please contact

SOPO updates

There's a few new questions in the discussions area on Procurious, can you help out a fellow member? Current topics under discussion are the new ESPD and what answers are others expecting to receive from suppliers and whether anyone has experience in procuring on-shore wind turbines.

There’s also a vacancy advertised on the Jobs group for a Category Manager for South Yorkshire Police.

For more information log into Procurious or contact you need a login.


Monday 25th September 2017
Procurement Showcase
Layden House, Farringdon, London

We are hoping to bring together influential procurement people from across the regions to discuss the results from the recent NPS diagnostic survey and to share learning on national and regional procurement related subjects. For If you are interested in attending the event, or have anything you would like to share please contact your local NAG representative. Due to limited space attendance will need to be by invitation only but the outputs will be shared widely.

14th November 2017
Workshop on Innovation Procurement in Public Construction
Old Town Hall, Prague

The workshop targets public procurers and its aim is to highlight the benefits of innovation procurement of ICT solutions through the Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) and Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions (PPI) approaches across Europe, with a particular focus on construction. Register. The event is free of charge.

If anyone is attending this workshop and would be prepared to provide an update to colleagues through this email please contact me.

Wednesday 22nd November 2017
Local Government Procurement Expo
Novotel London Hammersmith

LGA will again be the main partner at the Local Government Procurement Expo this year on 22nd November in London – this year the focus will be on skills and there will be plenty of sessions available aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of the things that matter, procurement wise, to local government. Members of NAG will be there manning our stand, so please do pop along and say hello. Information and to register.

That’s all for this month, if you have anything you want to share with colleagues please do get in touch.

Tina Holland
Programme Manager – Procurement
Local Government Association