Coronavirus: Associations urged to use local expertise over emergency procurement

“It’s at times like this that these local relationships matter most.”

Housing associations and councils are being advised to talk to regional framework experts to get technical advice and support before entering into the emergency procurement of contracts such as building repairs and maintenance.

Framework provider LHC is sending information to all its council members, social landlords and appointed suppliers with updated advice on how to manage the risks arising from Coronavirus.

This follows the publication of Policy Notes from the Cabinet Office relaxing some of the rules regarding procurement in cases of extreme urgency.

“Emergency measures obviously need to be taken to maintain supply chains and to ensure that safety-critical repairs and maintenance continue, even during the current lockdown.

“But local knowledge is also vital, as the risks to contracting authorities during this time of confusion could be very severe, said LHC Group Director John Skivington.

The Cabinet Office advice allows for a relaxation of procurement rules in some specific circumstances, and encourages use of direct awards where there are “genuine reasons” for extreme urgency.

But it also keeps robust requirements in place, making it clear that contracting authorities still need to achieve value for money from any direct award.

Skivington said “fully vetted and pre-approved” routes were available in all of LHC’s frameworks.

“Through our network of local offices we are also uniquely placed to provide region-specific reassurance and support to all local authorities, social landlords and other public sector bodies.

“It’s at times like this that these local relationships matter most,” he said.

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