NAG/SOPO newsletter

Welcome to the NAG newsletter for July 2018

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

News and updates

We launched the national procurement strategy 2018 at the LGA conference earlier this month. The strategy and accompanying toolkit is now available on our website here NPS. We had 79 unique downloads in the first week which is great news, thank you. If you are holding regional meetings and would like some hard copies do let know and we will try and get some to you. Alternatively we’ll have some available at our Carillion conference in October and LGPE in November (see events below).

There have been strong indications from the consultation on the new NPS for a national benchmarking diagnostic and NAG has agreed that this will be undertaken after the summer break. We are planning for this to be an online exercise with one response per council being requested. We will be in touch about this in September.

There was a good session at the LGA conference on the potential for switching water providers. We learned that since 1 April 2017 most businesses, public sector organisations and charities in England have had the freedom to switch water retailer. This has opened up the opportunity for lower bills and better services but apparently only two out of five SMEs are aware of this right. The Consumer Council for Water also indicated that they might be able to help with collective switching which has the potential to save more. You can find more information at Please do share with your SME providers.

This article may be of some interest to you as it is about councils failing to include clauses in their contracts mandating prompt payment down the supply chain rather than failing to pay top tier contractors. We covered prompt payment down the supply chain in our national construction category strategy launched in February and is doing some work on the recommendations of that document. If you have any thoughts on this please do let Georgia know.

Are you looking for assistance or expert help negotiating your contracts? Or, are you looking to make large savings on services which you commission or procure? Look no further. The LGA offers a £7,000 grant and 12 days of an expert’s time to help you achieve the savings you would like. We have a range of local government procurement experts who can provide help in a number of areas. Check out what has been achieved by other councils through this video. Please contact Grace Abel on or 07825 726273 for a conversation and to access an application form.

LGA recently commissioned Newton Europe to undertake some research on the drivers of variation in spend on children’s services. The report is a fascinating read even though it does not touch on procurement variations. If you are interested in the Children’s Services agenda there’s a Knowledge Hub site.

Thanks to those who expressed an interest in joining or hosting training sessions on the JCT contract (Newsletter May 2018), we had a huge response to this and are currently working with host authorities to arrange several regional dates starting in September. will be in contact with you shortly.  We also got in touch with NEC and are waiting for a response as to whether they might be interested in doing the same.

In the face of constrained budgets and increasing user demand, new ways of working are essential for sustaining the quality and capacity for service delivery.

In partnership with Innovate UK, the LGA is looking to organise sessions that would share good practice and provide guidance on how councils can adopt innovative procurement methods to resolve complex challenges in partnership with business. These are likely to be regionally based and will cover several topics per session. Initially we need to gauge the demand for this type of session amongst councils but also whether there are offers to host one or two sessions in each of the regions. Is this something you as a council, or group of councils might be interested in attending or hosting? If so please contact  for further information.

Ken Cole from SPS has recently updated a couple of publications which are available for councils to download and use free. The first is aimed at district councils, Understanding and interpreting your commissioning and procurement expenditure and the second is about Implementing the Proclass classification aimed at all councils 


Meet the Buyer North (Scotland)
Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness
5September 2018
This is a new event for the North of Scotland showcasing Scottish Local Authorities and public sector buyers based in the North and Highlands of Scotland. Book now.

Social Care Conference, Working Better Together
Thursday 27 September 2018, 09.30 – 16.00
Central London
LGA and PSTA are working together to bring a mixture of public, private and voluntary sector participants involved in social care and health in our second joint conference which will enable commissioners and providers to have a rich conversation about working better together. Book a free place.

We need to talk about Carillion: Lessons for the public sector
18 Smith Square, London
2 October 2018
This conference, organised by the LGA in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council, focuses 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 a place.

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 can be found at Localgovexpo

If you have any articles, events, updates that you would like to be included in future newsletters, please contact Tina Holland at

In the meantime have a lovely summer break.