The government has issued two policy notes on public procurement during the COVID-19 crisis that are highly relevant to substance misuse services. The guidance sets out important measures that can be taken by commissioning authorities to ensure vital services can continue without interruption, or be postponed where appropriate. In particular
- The guidance states: “Contracting authorities should pay suppliers as quickly as possible to maintain cash flow and protect jobs. The public sector must pay suppliers within 30 days under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 but contracting authorities now need to accelerate their payment practice.”
- The guidance states: “Therefore, in responding to COVID-19, contracting authorities may enter into contracts without competing or advertising the requirement…”
- The guidance states: “Contracts … may be modified without a new procurement procedure … where (i) the need for modification has been brought about by circumstances which a diligent contracting authority could not have foreseen.”
We believe all resource should be focused on staff and service user wellbeing during the crisis and now isn’t the time to procure new services. We are interested to hear if contracts for substance misuse services are still being tendered. Please let us know by emailing Oliver.
The Local Government Association has also produced guidance for commissioners on ensuring social care resilience during COVID-19, including information on business continuity plans, cashflow and sick pay.
The Cabinet Office has also produced a list of FAQs on procurement policy during COVID-19 to help explain the guidance notes.