Welcome to the NAG and SOPO newsletter for 7 May 2021. Feel free to circulate to your colleagues.
The Department for Education's Get help with technology service is being extended to provide devices for disadvantaged pupils in state-funded places in independent special schools, and independent alternative provision. Councils can order laptops and request internet access for pupils in years 3 to 11, who have a funded place at an independent special school, or independent alternative provision; are eligible for free school meals or do not have access to a suitable device for remote education, and for use in face-to-face education. To nominate staff members to order for your council, contact the Get help with technology team.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published data on grants distributed to businesses in the form of Local Restrictions Support Grant, Additional Restrictions Grant and the Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs. In total, up to the end of March, it shows that councils have made almost 2.6 million payments to businesses, amounting to almost £6 billion.
Testing and Adult Day Care Centres
Rapid Lateral Flow Testing (LFT) is now available for all staff and service users in adult day care centres in England, to be conducted alongside the existing weekly staff PCR testing.
The new guidance advises all staff to undertake an additional two rapid lateral flow tests per week, ideally before they begin their shift:
- One rapid LFT should be completed on the same day as the PCR test;
- One rapid LFT test should be taken 3-4 days later.
- If any member of staff tests positive with a rapid LFT, they must take a confirmatory PCR test and self-isolate at home immediately until they receive their result.
The attendance of service users at a centre is not dependent on them taking a test, but the guidance sets out the recommended testing protocol. Where service users are part of regular monthly PCR testing in another setting and have taken a PCR test in the same week as their visit to a day care centre and received their result, they do not need to also do rapid LFTs that week.
A Principles Based Approach to Social Value and Commissioning and Procurement
Social Value UK are the National Network for social value in the UK of Social Value International, the global social value movement, and the professional body for Social Value and SROI Practitioners. SVUK advocates for a principles based approach to accounting for and managing social value.
Launch of the National TOMs 2021
The National TOMs Framework is updated annually, building on feedback from users at different levels of maturity, and to reflect social value best practice and the evolving landscape of social value.
The 2021 TOMs Framework will see some changes in measure proxy values to reflect updates in statistical data available from key sources such as public datasets (ONS), as well as incorporating newly available research.
Insourcing of leisure centres accelerates as providers buckle under strain
Evidence is mounting that councils are increasingly deciding to bring their leisure centres back in house, as Covid has created seismic shifts in the market which make it no longer viable for some private sector providers and leisure trusts.
Although the Department of Culture, Media & Sport launched a £100m national leisure recovery fund in December to support outsourced leisure providers, this funding is not believed to be sufficient to sustain the market given that although they are now able to reopen, social distancing measures will bite into any potential future profits.
The LGA is developing a rapid insourcing guide to "help the council re-mobilise their leisure services and complete the transfer of the service from their leisure provider to the council".
"In light of the intense pressures on leisure trusts, and reflecting that several trusts have collapsed or had to be taken back in house, we are developing a quick reference tool to support councils faced with imminent collapse of their provider and having to insource their provision, at least temporarily," the LGA said in a paper to its culture, tourism and sport board last month.
The Department for Education (DfE) has written to councils confirming the continuation of the school improvement monitoring and brokering grant allocations at current levels, for the period April-August 2021 totalling £20 million, as well as launching a consultation on proposals to ringfence and place conditions on the grant by July. The consultation closes on Wednesday 26 May.
The Department has also signalled an intention to continue paying the grant for the period September 2021-March 2022, albeit adjusting its size in line with the reduction in the number of maintained schools since the grant was introduced in 2017.
All schools will have the option to 'try the academy experience before they buy' for a set period with no commitment, the Education Secretary has announced. In a speech to the Confederation of School Trusts, the Education Secretary praised the work of schools and educators during the pandemic for their leadership and resilience and said the Government's vision is for every school to be part of a family of schools in multi-academy trusts.
The Government's response to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has been published. The Committee had called on the Government to ensure that local authorities are key delivery partners for the Government's new flooding policies, and for councils to be properly resourced to implement the Government's new flooding policies, alongside carrying out their existing responsibilities, which Cllr David Renard, Chair of the LGA, Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board called for in his evidence to the Committee. In their response, the Government outlines councils’ roles as key delivery partners on flooding and states that flood and coastal erosion risk management funding is a part of the overall local government settlement.
A councillor's workbook on the local path to net zero
We have recently launched our newest councillor workbook on climate change: A councillor's workbook on the local path to net zero. This workbook has been designed as a distance learning aid for local councillors. It is intended to provide councillors with insight and assistance with the key skills which will help you to be most effective in your role.
Creating meaningful engagement with communities on climate change
In partnership with Design Council, we organised the "Creating meaningful engagement with communities on climate change" webinar which scaled design approaches across the public sector and stimulated new thinking on collective climate change matters. The transferrable nature of design approaches makes them powerful tools that councils can apply to their most diverse challenges.
From Procurement to Partnership: improving services through effective collaboration - E3M Toolkit Launch Webinar – 11 May 2021
With practical case studies, expert commentary and discussion, the webinar will mark the launch of E3M's new, practical toolkit for commissioners, to help guide them on a journey from procurement to partnership. There is growing interest in new models of collaboration between public authorities and social enterprises in improving services, delivering real social value and for community wealth building. The response to Covid-19 has shown the importance of social enterprises and the wider social sector in communities across the country, and in some areas has led to innovative new models of partnership.
Economic growth - Town and city centre regeneration – 12 May 2021
The LGA will be hosting a virtual roundtable discussion on the opportunities and challenges of town and city centre regeneration as part of our economic growth improvement offer. The event is aimed for council officers working on economic growth and development. There are up to 30 spaces available for this roundtable so please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending by 30 April.
Scope 3 Greenhouse gas accounting and social care –13 May 2021
Local Partnerships and the LGA are co-hosting a webinar for councils reporting on Scope 3 emissions from social care provision. Scope 3 emissions are defined as indirect emissions that occur in a company's value chain. The webinar will provide an overview of the forthcoming guidance for local authorities reporting on outsourced care provision, and interpretations of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol for this sector. It will also include an overview of updates to the Greenhouse Gas Accounting toolkit.
Design in public sector: Innovative approaches to low energy housing 15 June 2021
This is the second webinar in a series of four, run by the LGA in partnership with the Design Council as part of the Design in the Public Sector programme 2020-21. The webinars intend to disseminate design skills among public sector professionals and provide councils with a platform to share their insights and experiences of tackling climate challenges focusing on various topics.
Modern Slavery Due diligence in combatting labour exploitation - 24 June 2021
Join the Supply Chain School for their free due diligence in combatting labour exploitation workshop
This course is designed to illustrate what due diligence looks like and how you can embed essential elements of this into your organisational processes; identify and create a policy and strategy; understand the principles of risk assessments focusing on labour exploitation and the role supply chain mapping plays in addressing the risks and; understand what peer organisations are undertaking this area through sharing amongst the group