NAG/SOPO newsletter

Welcome to the NAG newsletter for September 2018

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

News and updates

Sascha Heyselmeyer from Citymart delivered a presentation at our Innovation in Procurement meeting last month. He demonstrated a brilliant free resource that they launched in July which allows users to search on key words (for example ‘social isolation’) for ideas about how other users have solved particular problems. It’s not restricted to UK users so is a great way of seeing what else is out there and to find ideas for your own requirements.

We had an excellent meeting with the Future Cities Catapult, their focus is on how to get more businesses to engage with government (including local government) and they highlighted the barriers that exist for businesses to do so including a lack of confidence of public sector buyers to do something different, to use outcome based specifications and be more risk-savvy.  FCC are in the process of curating training content for local government learning and development on innovation which we have agreed to help them with so if you have any examples for large scale innovation projects they would love to hear about them. FCC’s Chief Executive, Nicola Yates will be speaking at LGPE next month (see below). For more information and to sign up to their newsletter see FCC

We are pleased to hear from Darren Knowd from Durham County Council about their successful bid in round 1 of the GovTech Innovation fund. The bid was submitted jointly with Blaenau Gwent council on how they can use service vehicles already in use to help spot real-time issues with smart sensors. Work is still in progress but Darren said he was really pleased that Durham had entered a bid.  They were helped to identify the outcomes that they want by Innovate UK and so far everything is going to plan. We will keep up with progress on this. Round 3 submissions for funding will open in October and I’d encourage councils to bid for a share of the fund. There is some helpful guidance on how businesses can structure a bid on their website. 

We have heard from a number of councils who are concerned about a significant rise in prices for Microsoft licenses. 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 you are interested in discussing a collective local government response please contact

Colleagues in my team have launched a shared services match making service to provide assistance to support councils who wish to share services and/or management teams with other councils. The offer includes access to funding for a dedicated shared service expert and/or paid for external mediation advice and support, for further info go to Shared Service Expert Programme and Match Making Service 

Tameside Council has joined Rochdale, Stockport, and Trafford Councils in becoming a partner in the shared procurement service, STAR Procurement. Established in 2014, STAR has saved over £20 million of taxpayer’s money when procuring a wide range of supplies and services for its councils’ use and for their local communities. Nearly a thousand contracts, worth £1 billion have been secured by the STAR Procurement team. Due to the scale of the change in bringing on a fourth partner, STAR successfully secured funding from the LGA for a Shared Service Expert for a short term commission. Their support was used to help highlight the key risks and opportunities as well as supporting some of the practical aspects of on-boarding. Please contact if your council is interested in the Shared Services Expert Programme which could involve; facilitation, brokerage, mediation, negotiation and mentoring support as well as option appraisals expertise.

Some of you will be aware that both Warwickshire County Council and CIPFA have separately been running a procurement benchmarking club for a number of years. Although both clubs were bench marking ‘procurement’, both had a different emphasis. During the latter part of 2017, Warwickshire County Council and CIPFA agreed to collaborate to produce a single Procurement Service bench marking exercise intended to provide the very best of both clubs in a single exercise. Following a successful trial between January 18 and March 18, Warwickshire and CIPFA are now ready to launch the latest round of benchmarking which will cover the period between April 2017 and March 2018.  Further details can be found on the webpage for Procurement Benchmarking Club. If you are interested in participating please contact

The LGA has developed training with the Institute of Directors relating to Commercial skills for senior officers training. The training will help senior officers to develop skills which will support confident and appropriate commercial decision making. Aimed at senior officers and rising stars, the training supports attendees to develop skills in dealing and negotiating with commercial partners, commercial strategy and risk, governance and finance.To find out more about the courses in Oxford and Leeds and book visit the Commercial skills for senior officer’s web page.

Government has recently published some information about what will happen in the case of a no-deal scenario on Brexit. Their key message remains that a scenario in which the UK leaves the EU without agreement (a ‘no deal’ scenario) remains unlikely given the mutual interests of the UK and the EU in securing a negotiated outcome but that they are preparing for all eventualities. Relevant to procurement is the notice on Accessing Public Sector Contracts if there is no Brexit deal. It deals with how to publish details of over threshold procurements as TED will no longer be available to use.  A replacement UK-specific e-notification service will be made available.

The Government made a ‘digital pledge’ backed by £7.5 million of Government funding in July 2018 to help councils transform their digital services in line with the Local Digital Declaration. The initiative looks to help change the way councils invest in technology, share expertise and ensure members of the public are receiving the best quality digital services.  They are looking for some exemplar projects and will be building capacity through some digital skills training.  We’ve suggested there should be something on procurement included in the training, how to engage on the digital agenda through the supply chain. Is anyone doing anything on this already?  We’d love to hear from you via if so.  For more information see Local Digital Fund.

Colleagues from our Care and Health Improvement programme are developing a national project (the Markets and Modelling project across all council regions to support better understanding of the local and national care markets. They are looking to develop a small core dataset on SCM markets for older people and learning disabilities which will help them put together a modelling tool and will be providing bespoke support to councils to councils to help refine commissioning plans using the modelling tool.  Would your council be interested in being part of this work?  If so contact colleagues or for more information.

The NAG newsletter next month will be sent out by my colleague Georgia as I will be away.  Do let Georgia know if there’s anything you want her to include in the newsletter by email


We need to talk about Carillion: Lessons for the public sector
18 Smith Square, London
Tuesday 2 October 2018

This conference, organised by the LGA in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council, focusses on lessons learned following the collapse of Carillion early in 2018 and represents a significant opportunity to share information with peers, including other councils who were directly affected by the collapse, and participate in a number of plenary, panel and discussion sessions to consider:

  • contingency planning
  • how councils and the wider public sector responded to the news of the Carillion collapse
  • what are we left with?  Who is responsible for defects for example?
  • is there potential for this to happen again? How could we work together differently in the future?

Find out more and book.

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

These sessions for councils who use JCT contracts in construction procurement 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.  If you would like to book a place please follow these booking links:

29 October - City of London - London Corporation, Chamberlain’s Department, Guildhall, London, EC2V 7HH

7November - City of London - London Corporation, Chamberlain’s Department, Guildhall, London, EC2V 7HH

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

Constructive Conversations – adult social care
Tuesday 16October 2018 – 10am – 3pm
Conferences at BVSC, 138 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR
Cost: Free
Who for:
Senior social care commissioners; owners and managers of social care provision – particularly care homes; people and carers who manage personal budgets or individual service funds; local user-led organisations.

The aim of the day is to understand the different perspectives and promote constructive ways forward through stronger and more effective partnerships with a particular focus on care homes with and without nursing or other housing with care.

Apply online

We want a range of organisations to attend and people who can make a difference to shaping services locally. Therefore we would encourage you to liaise with your partners before registering. Providers and commissioners please invite each other, and people who use your services.

International Technology Enabled Care (ITEC) Conference
16 -17 October
ICC in Birmingham

Delegates from across the technology enabled care sector will hear presentations from a number of local authorities and CCGs on their approaches to better use of technology; we have plenary presentations including the Minister for Care Services, Caroline Dinenage, and ADASS President, Glen Garrod. Overall knowledge of technology enabled care for commissioners continues to be mixed and there will be plenty of good practice examples on display to support their learning and awareness; To secure your free one or two-day pass register online via (Enter the booking code iTEC2018/Commissioner once prompted).

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

Cost: Free
This public sector technology event will address the issues and challenges faced by the UK public sector specifically when procuring technology along with 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. For more information and to book see Digitech18.

(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!)

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

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.

For more information and booking see National Social Value Conference 2018

Local Government Procurement Expo
Novotel London West, Hammersmith
28 November 2018
The Local Government Procurement Expo (LGPE) 2018 is specifically designed to enhance the overall skills and capabilities of those personnel 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.

More information and booking here Localgovexpo

WIG and LGA Social Care Conference – Working Better Together
30 January 2019 - London

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.