NAG/SOPO newsletter

Welcome to the NAG and SOPO newsletter for November 2019. Feel free to circulate to your colleagues.

This newsletter is now delivered through our corporate service that handles all our various e-bulletins. You can subscribe (or unsubscribe) to these here

Social value

Lots of news on social value this month as we work towards the conference in January.

We have started to build a new website purely for the National Social Value Task Force. The website will hold the TOMs and information about the conference as well as setting out more clearly the Terms of Reference for the task force and how organisations can get involved.

By the time you read this the deadline for the Social Value Awards will probably have passed but you can still download the brochure of last year’s finalists. If you didn’t manage to get an entry in this year please do consider for next time, it’s a great way for us to learn about what is happening out there and an opportunity for you to showcase great things happening on social value.

As part of the run up to the conference we are looking to include a number of social value blogs and interviews on the website also, we are looking for people prepared to be interviewed. Can you help? If so, please email

Ashden, a sustainable energy charity, has produced the following two resources for local authorities tackling the climate emergency: Climate action co-benefits toolkit for local authorities and their 31 climate actions for councils (see details of their launch event in Bristol below).

Strategic supplier relationship management updates

Care homes
We held a meeting with three of the big five care home providers and have an individual meeting with Four Seasons on 10 December. Our plan is to wrap up work on care homes, although an annual watching brief meeting will take place with care home providers and begin to focus our work on home care. We have started to manage the crossover now and are starting to do the due diligence on providers in the home care market.

We held a popular session with councils, Socitm and CCS on ‘making the most of your Microsoft licensing agreements’. Microsoft attended for the afternoon session and answered questions from the floor. We will continue to work with CCS, Crown Rep and Socitm on Microsoft. We are happy to share the slides from the event with councils. If you wish to receive these and future Microsoft specific updates please email

We have started due diligence on the main waste providers, Biffa, Enva, Veolia and Suez with a view to starting to engage with them next year. As with other sectors we will invite councils to come together next year to share experiences and ideas for how we can improve how we contract on waste services next year. Let us know if you are interested in joining up on this.

Children’s services
We will extend the children’s services work to include Priory and Witherslack. Due diligence on Cambian is complete and we will monitor regional work with Cambian. We are working with policy colleagues on the potential for a ‘national’ market sufficiency statement that identifies what provision is currently available, and what is needed over the next five years, across England.

We have narrowed down our focus on capital spend to focus on Highways Spend and have held an exploratory meeting with the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) to discuss the issues. CECA is interested in hearing more about how contractors can help deliver social value.

A meeting has been scheduled for December between the LGA’s Chief Executive and Capita’s (relatively) new MD for Capita local public services.

You can sign up to the LGA weekly key supplier bulletin by emailing

You can also sign up for the Cabinet Office bulletin on central government key suppliers.


We held a great session last week with the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) on the Outsourcing Playbook where we were able to discuss in detail the guidance on outsourcing decisions and contracting and share good practice from councils present in relation to market health and capability, should-cost modelling, assessing economic and financial standing of potential suppliers amongst other things. We had some good feedback and it was suggested that in addition to further ‘deep dives’ on the individual themes in the Playbook that we might repeat the session again in the new year. If you are interested in hearing more or possibly attending an event please do let us know by emailing

The LGA Transformation and Innovation Exchange tool

The Transformation and Innovation Exchange self-assessment tool lets councils assess themselves against an improvement model and points them to resources in the Transformation and Innovation Exchange that will help with further improvement. The latest version has been substantially simplified and made more modular, including sections on procurement and commissioning. We are now hoping to encourage as many councils’ senior management teams to take part and try their own self-assessment.

Contract management

We are hoping to be able to offer a number of places on the central government e-learning platform contract management module in the new year. We are compiling a list of council officers who might be interested in this. The Foundation training will allow you to gain an understanding of all elements of the contract lifecycle, it is divided into six interactive modules, giving you the flexibility to learn at a time that best suits you and allowing you to balance the training with everyday work commitments. After completion of the online Foundation training, you can attempt the Foundation-level assessment. Two cohorts of local government officers have already completed this training and we have received good feedback. Please let us know if you are interested by emailing your name and contact details to


We are looking to identify the varying platforms that are being used by councils for staff training and development to help with a piece of work we are doing around skills. We are aware of those councils that use Learning Pool but we are interested in other systems being used, or whether nothing is used.

  • Does your council use an E-learning platform for staff training?
  • If yes who is the provider?
  • If there is someone else that we should be contacting please let us know their details

If you know what you use in your authority or know who we should be asking, please email with the answers to the questions above.

Building safety

The consultation on competencies relating to those involved in procurement of in-scope buildings following the Dame Judith Hackitt report ‘Building a Safer Future’ has now completed and we are considering the responses. You can still find a copy of Raising the Bar and I suggest you jump to page 116 for the procurement related competencies which are based on the CIPS Global Standards with reference to the RIBA Plan of Work. The Procurement Working Group, chaired by Duncan Brock from CIPS, is now also considering how we implement the recommendations set out in the document and we would be pleased to hear suggestions from construction colleagues in councils as to how we might go about doing this. Please contact in the first instance.

LGA Counter Fraud resources hub

Our Counter Fraud Hub has a new NAFN plug in with a growing number of useful guidance and resources. NAFN works closely with Central Government and the LGA to develop services, promote national standards and share good practice. NAFN is widely recognised as a provider of data and intelligence to local authorities, housing associations, and wider public authorities.

Cyber Security self-assessment tool

The LGA Cyber Security Programme has developed a new online self-assessment tool which builds on the previous 2018 Stocktake. This is designed to support local authorities in evaluating their cyber security on an ongoing basis. Online security is a real and present threat - preventing attack, protecting your data, and mitigating risk are key to managing your organisation’s privacy and security, safeguarding your own data and ensuring the security of confidential client information. Please encourage your colleagues to complete the self-assessment. We are hoping to provide more information about cyber security in the supply chain in due course.

Local Government Procurement Knowledge Hub

This group is for local government procurement experts to discuss and share a variety of issues/topics and solutions from social value, children’s and adult’s social care, ICT, construction, modern slavery and fraud within the procurement procedures of local government. Join the group.


Climate Action Co-benefits toolkit
6 December 2019 | Bristol
This South West event aims to find out more about Ashden’s toolkit to help local and combined authorities radically cut carbon emissions while delivering wider benefits. 

Commercial skills for officers training
13/14 January 2020 | Manchester (only a few spaces left)
20/21 January 2020 | Taunton

In a recent survey, 69 per cent of officers who responded advised that they were not confident that they had the skills needed for commercial activity (LGC, Commercialisation: safeguarding the future of local public service delivery, January 2019).

The LGA has designed a six-day commercial skills programme aimed at officers, who are either involved with commercial decision making or who may be considering working on commercialisation projects. The training supports officers to develop skills to help them to make confident commercial decisions. The training is designed to enhance council officers' ability to:

  • ensure that local authority trading companies run effectively
  • fulfil their roles as company directors capably and confidently
  • apply their enhanced commercial skills and knowledge to improve business performance
  • formulate commercial strategy
  • assess the financial health of council commercial activities
  • deal with commercial partners and improve negotiation skills
  • gain a common set of business principles
  • network with commercial officers from across local government.

The training has been subsidised by the LGA and costs £1,200 per person. Find out more and book.

National Social Value Conference 2020
29 - 30 January 2020 | St Paul 200, Aldersgate, St Paul’s, London EC1A 4HD

The National Social Value Conference is the leading event of its kind bringing together experts and practitioners from the public and private sectors to share good practice and innovative ideas about how to embed social value into commissioning, procurement and delivery. This third conference, built on the great success of the 2017 and 2018 Conferences will consider updates to the National TOMS framework.

Construction Conference
4 February 2020 | Smith Square Conference Centre, London SW1P 3HZ

Our seventh national construction conference will focus on the case for a culture shift in the construction industry, looking at how the role of a procurement professional is going to evolve as well as highlighting new ways of addressing established challenges for local authorities. Following the success of previous years, this conference represents a significant opportunity to network with peers and participate in a variety of plenary, panel and workshop sessions that aim to deliver:

  • an increased contribution from the sector in shaping and delivering quality assured services
  • increased confidence that local government is part of the right conversations and taking real action to capture and disseminate lessons learned to the sector

Children's Services Commissioning and Procurement event
Hold the date!
5 February 2020 | 18 Smith Square, London

Our next children’s services event for council procurement and commissioning officers has been scheduled for February. We are looking forward to what is always a lively discussion. The agenda is still being formulated but is likely to include a discussion on the Department for Education research on the cost of residential care homes, work on supported accommodation and Ofsted unregulated and unregistered homes. We will also provide updates on the workstreams already agreed through the group. We are happy to welcome new colleagues to the Khub group and to the face to face events. We’ll add the sign up page to the KHub when it becomes available. In the meantime do join the group.