COVID-19: information for council adult social care commissioners


Social Care provider resilience during the pandemic

On 8 April ADASS and LGA issued a note from Ian Hudspeth, Chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board and Julie Ogley, President of ADASS to councils following on from the 13 March Shared guidance to local authority commissioners on social care provider resilience during COVID 19.

On 4 June LGA and ADASS issued the following briefing to councils: financial pressures in adult social care: information provided to the Minister of State for Care.

The additional 8 April note is intended to be: helpful to councils in addressing market pressures; demonstrate to social care providers that their cost pressures are being taken seriously; satisfy government that councils are doing what is necessary to pass on funding to providers in a way that works best locally; and link to the NHS funding for discharge held by CCGs.

To date ADASS and LGA have not been able to include the details of how the NHS expect the CCG held funding to be used but we expect advice on this to be issued in due course.

If you have any queries about this document please email our dedicated adult social care covid-19 email address for council use coronavirus.enquiries@local.gov.uk

13th March Shared guidance to local authority commissioners on social care provider resilience during COVID 19 has been developed by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the LGA and the Care Provider Alliance. It is designed to reduce pressures on social care providers arising from COVID-19, and put forward ways in which commissioners can alleviate these pressures. The shared ambition is to assist commissioners to support providers to maximise availability of care and support and to remain operationally and financially resilient.

COVID-19: adult social care commissioning practice resource

We have launched a resource sharing examples of local commissioning activity which support wider adult social care COVID-19 response on the provider market.

Procurement for adult social care commissioners - useful information to help during COVID 19

Procurement Policy Note 01/20: Guidance on the urgent requirement for goods and services due to COVID-19

Procurement Policy Note 01/20: Guidance on the urgent requirement for goods and services due to COVID-19

The LGA has been working with the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) to develop this Procurement Policy Note (PPN). The PPN is applicable to all contracting authorities and provides procurement teams with guidance if you have an urgent requirement for goods, services or works due to COVID-19.

If you have an urgent requirement for goods, services or works due to COVID-19, and you need to procure this under the Public Contract Regulations 2015 (PCRs), there are various options available. These include:

direct award due to extreme urgency direct award due to absence of competition or protection of exclusive rights

You should ensure you keep proper records of decisions and actions on individual contracts.

  • call off from an existing framework agreement or dynamic purchasing system
  • call for competition using a standard procedure with accelerated timescales
  • extending or modifying a contract during its term.
Procurement Policy Note 02/20: Supplier relief due to COVID-19

Procurement Policy Note 02/20: Supplier relief due to COVID-19

The current outbreak of COVID-19-19 is unprecedented and will have a significant impact on businesses of all sizes. Many suppliers to public bodies will struggle to meet their contractual obligations and this will put their financial viability, ability to retain staff and their supply chains at risk. Contracting authorities should act now to support suppliers at risk so they are able to resume normal service delivery and fulfil their contractual obligations when the outbreak is over.

It is vital that contracting authorities pay their suppliers as quickly as possible to maintain cash flow and protect jobs. Contracting authorities should also take action to continue to pay suppliers at risk due to COVID-19-19 on a continuity and retention basis.

Everyday examples of this include; day centre staff carrying out activities in the community to counter social isolation; care providers in general buddying up to provide mutual aid; taxis usually doing school runs redeploying to deliver shopping to vulnerable people.

PPN 03/20: Use of Procurement Cards 

The LGA has been working closely with Cabinet Office to bring together the latest Procurement Policy Note (PPN 03/20) on the Use of Procurement Cards.

The PPN advises that action is taken to ensure procurement cards are used to best effect to speed up payment and ensure that people are able to access the goods and services they need quickly and pay suppliers as quickly as possible to maintain cash flow and protect jobs during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Using a procurement card for one off approved transactions can save time and money by removing the need for a Purchase Order to be produced, and for a new supplier to be set up on finance systems.

The NAO has estimated that using cards typically saves around 35 per cent in transaction costs or £5 per transaction compared with traditional methods. Councils will, of course, want to ensure that they have full and appropriate controls in place for the use of procurement cards.

Please note this PPN is advisory only for councils. For further information on procurement issues specific to covid -19 please see the LGA  COVID-19: FAQs page or sign up for the National Advisory Group (NAG) for Procurement Covid-19 Bulletin.

Procurement Policy Note (PPN 04/20) Recovery and Transition from COVID-19 

The Cabinet Office has published a new Procurement Policy Note (PPN 04/20) on recovery and transition from COVID-19. The LGA and the National Advisory Group (NAG) for Procurement worked closely with central government colleagues to draft this new procurement guidance that takes us beyond the end of June and into the next steps of recovery and transition.

Responsible contractual behaviour in the performance and enforcement of contracts impacted by the Covid-19 emergency

The Government issued guidance on 7 May 2020 that may be of interest to your procurement teams and contract managers. The guidance outlines a number of recommendations on contractual behaviour where it may be impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. In summary, the Government is strongly encouraging everyone involved in new or ongoing contracts to act responsibly and fairly in the national interest in performing and enforcing their contracts, to support the emergency response and to protect jobs and the economy.

Responsible and fair behaviour in contracts now – in particular in dealing with potential disputes – will result in better long-term outcomes for jobs and our economy. In complex contracting arrangements, this should apply throughout the contracting chain. It will in the long term protect businesses, supply chains and opportunities in the economy. Bad behaviour will be bad for jobs and potentially have a detrimental effect on our economic recovery.

Managing contracts during COVID-19

The LGA has collaborated with our colleagues at Local Partnerships on guidance that sets out how to approach contract management where your contractor has applied for supplier relief.

The guidance calls for contracting authorities to act now to ensure that suppliers at risk are in a position to resume normal contract delivery once the outbreak is over.While there is uncertainty about timescales, the public sector plays a key role in maintaining business continuity and ongoing service delivery.

As a contracting authority, what approach should you be taking in terms of managing your contracts during this period of uncertainty? PPN02/20 sets out guidance relating to supplier relief. In order to qualify, suppliers must agree to work on an open book basis.

However, every contract is different, as are our suppliers, so it is important that you find an approach that works for you and provides appropriate support to the contractor.

Further information

For further information on procurement issues specific to covid -19 please see the LGA  COVID-19: FAQs page or sign up for the National Advisory Group (NAG) for Procurement Covid-19 Bulletin.

The Care Quality Commission

Please note that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has suspended routine inspections. On 19th March the CQC’s Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care, Kate Terroni, has published a blog setting out how it is supporting adult social care providers through COVID-19. 

General CQC guidance for providers on COVID-19 is here

CQC have published guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19): medicines information for adult social care providers.  

CQC have also published the answers to frequently asked questions from adult social care providers

CQC has published interim guidance here on DBS and other recruitment checks, for providers recruiting staff and volunteers to health and social care services in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The CQC has created a webpage to explain the process for change of registration due to COVID-19

Skills for Care

Skills for Care has put together information to support providers when making these new COVID-19 registration applications

The impact of COVID-19 has created an extremely challenging time for the social care workforce. Skills for Care have identified training that remains a priority during this period to ensure there is a skilled and competent workforce.

Skills for Care have a new advice line which aims to support those managing CQC regulated adult social care services through the COVID-19 crisis. 

There is also a new adult social care recruitment campaign

Business support

Information and guidance related to business support, including on business operations, financial support packages, and business rates.

Digital support to social care providers

Digital Social Care has set up a new helpline to assist adult social care providers to use technology during the COVID-19 outbreak. The helpline – run by a team of digital experts – is open between 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday and will give providers practical advice to troubleshoot a problem or give 1-1 support. Commissioners are encouraged to share this information with local provider networks.

LGA adult social care and general COVID-19 information and support

Please see the adult social care COVID-19 page for information about the new adult social care action plan,  government guidance, hospital discharge, PPE and other general adult social care COVID-19 issues.

Please see the Coronavirus: information for councils page for communications templates, innovative practice examples and much more.

Please the LGA page summarising the refocused support offer including adult social care  

To share your council’s content, request emerging examples of new practice, or to share your thoughts on how the joint LGA/ADASS hub can best support you at this challenging time, please email coronavirus.enquiries@local.gov.uk