NAG/SOPO newsletter

Welcome to March's NAG/SOPO newsletter

Welcome to the NAG and SOPO Newsletter for March 2018

We are working hard on developing a consultation version of a new national procurement strategy that will be out shortly.  The diagnostic exercise we undertook last year allowed us to capture ‘what matters’ to councils and from this we will develop a strategy that recognises local differences and encourages each council to decide its own priorities within a national framework.  We will present the actions as a maturity index, rather like the diagnostic as this was well received last year.  Look out for an email from me with a link to the new strategy shortly after the Easter break.

LGA is currently recruiting a couple of advisers to work in our Productivity Team, one to manage our digital programmes and the other to work with me on procurement projects.  We are looking for someone who has a broad understanding of local and/or central government and how they work, particularly in relation to procurement and commissioning.  It’s a fixed term full time contract and secondments will be considered. Happy to have a more informal chat if that helps.

I came across State of the UK GovTech market recently following a discussion with BEIS Future Sectors Team who are looking at how to help innovative businesses sell more to the public sector. I’m not sure about the name GovTech myself, but  the report is interesting and easy to read. I am interested in seeing any other evidence and reports from local government considering the adoption of digital and tech solutions, and any views of what, if any, further support or activity might be useful? 

DCMS and MHCLG have recently published a consultation document on the development of a new civil society strategy. The Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch launched the Civil Society Strategy engagement exercise on 27 February. Government wants to develop the strategy by inviting everyone's ideas on a series of question that explores how government, civil society and other sectors can work together to tackle challenges in society and unlock opportunities for the future. Issues relating to local communities will be central to conversations during the engagement exercise and colleagues at DCMS are hoping to hear from as many people as possible to ensure they create a positive strategy for government's work with and for civil society over the next ten years and beyond.

The engagement exercise ends on 22 May. You can choose to complete as many questions as are relevant to you and your experience.

Modern Slavery is in the news quite a lot at the moment. I spotted that the National Crime Agency have published new figures this week.  We know that 33 councils have published a Modern Slavery supply chain statement since 2016 and there’s a lot of interest from others. We have been working with London Universities Purchasing Consortium and the University of Greenwich. They have developed some e-learning on the subject and this is available to councils free of charge. You just need to register.

I had a chat with the new Small Business Commissioner, Paul Uppal, earlier this month. The Small Business Commissioner was set up by the Enterprise Act 2016.  Paul and his team are working to provide general advice and information to small businesses on matters such as resolving disputes particularly about payment issues and he was keen to hear about what councils are doing to help small businesses. I told Paul about how councils arrange ‘meet the buyer’ events, business clubs and other guidance and he suggested that either he or his team could attend these events if that would be beneficial to councils. Please do get in touch if you would like someone to attend your events by emailing in the first instance.

NAG Chair Nigel Kletz gave evidence to a Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee in Parliament this month on outsourcing and lessons learned following the collapse of Carillion

I met Peter Selwyn-Smith at Procurex South last week, Peter is from the Security Industry Authority (which reports to the Home Office) and was keen to promote their Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) relating to procurement of security. The ACS is a government scheme that raises standards in the contracted private security industry. SIA has produced a leaflet for buyers of security services, including some tips on what you need to consider. Any comments or queries, email

And on the subject of standards I was also reminded about BS ISO 20400 which was published last year on sustainable procurement, replacing BS8903:2010 Principles and Framework for procuring sustainably. I understand the Department for Transport is specifying the new standard in tenders for rail franchises.  More about BS ISO 20400 can be found on the BSI website.

As I mentioned in last month’s newsletter  LGA is looking to recruit a volunteer to represent councils nationally on the Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT). JCT is a consensus based organisation, and the JCT Council is composed of colleges representing all parts of the construction industry including the public sector. As a founding member, LGA has up to six representatives on the JCT. The Council and Board meet four times a year to set policy and detailed drafting is undertaken through the drafting sub-committee which meets six times per year. As the LGA rep you will have a unique opportunity to directly influence the content and drafting of standard form construction contracts for the benefit of councils national. You will provide an effective national level voice that delivers real economic and efficiency benefits to councils. For more information or for an informal chat please contact me by phone or email, my details below.

Finally I really enjoyed this from the NLGN earlier this month: what we have all been saying for years!


Procurex North
Manchester Central
Tuesday 24 April 2018
The event will enhance the knowledge and understanding of all personnel engaged in the public procurement process about current and planned developments, initiatives and legislative changes taking place within this evolving marketplace.  Do come and find us on the LGA stand and talk to us about innovation, the new strategy, or whatever you are working on at the moment!  The event is free to public sector buyers.