A weekly conference call has brought together colleagues across local government to share experiences and identify common needs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Eddie Gibson had only been with CCS for a fortnight when lockdown began, but in his role as a strategic business manager he was able to call on his previous extensive local government procurement experience to quickly find ways to offer additional support to local authorities across the eastern region.

He set up a weekly conference call so they could share their experiences and concerns. Heads of Procurement from local authorities across the region welcomed the idea and were soon onboard. 

Collaborating on common needs

Small groups were able to link up their common needs over issues as diverse as mothballing leisure centres, sourcing food parcels and supporting local charities.

Understanding CCS’s COVID-19 response activity and how it could help them was also welcomed. The food and household goods supply agreement with 3 large wholesalers, the rapid response service set up with Travis Perkins for urgent access to building materials and supplies and the supplier catalogue of offers are just a few examples.

Resolving issues

The calls are also helping identify issues that need to be addressed by other departments, such as MHCLG and Cabinet Office. This has included the need for specific guidance on paying supplier relief to construction contractors under PPN02/20 and clarity on the PPE supply process through Local Resilience Forums.

Clare Rose, Susan Latham and Eddie Gibson from the eastern region team have been praised for their efforts. Sean Missin, Procurement Officer at South Cambridgeshire District Council said:

I believe that this displays the very best of Crown Commercial Service, its personnel and its ability to bond the country together in a time of crisis. Just as importantly, this is a great reflection on you all personally and demonstrates the commitment and the passion that you put into what you do.

As we now move to the recovery phase the calls will continue and engagement from the local authorities remains high. 

How we can help you

This is just one example of the type of work we are doing with many customers across the UK. If you are not part of such a group and would like to discuss establishing or joining a group in your region to support local recovery, please get in touch with your regional lead: