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Local Authority round-up: 17/05/24

Our Local Authority round up provides brief summaries of topical information on a weekly basis, to keep you aware of the changes and updates relevant to you.


Public buildings to save on energy bills with £557 million investment

The Government has announced £557 million investment so that schools, pools, and hospitals can make energy efficient upgrades. It is hoped that the new project will help reduce emissions and decrease bills, and forms part of the Government’s plan to achieve its net zero targets.

The Government seeks to install heat pumps, solar panels, and low-energy lighting to reduce the use of fossil fuels across the public sector. It is suggested that decarbonising the public sector is expected to save an estimated £650 million per year on average to 2037.

New projects receiving funding include:

Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded over £21 million to decarbonise 3 buildings by installing new heat pumps alongside other measures including wall, loft and roof insulation, double glazing and LED lighting.

Loughborough University has been awarded over £2 million to decarbonise their Olympic size swimming pool by replacing old gas-fired boilers with more efficient, cleaner heat pumps.

Surrey County Council has been awarded over £5 million to cut emissions across 19 sites including 6 libraries, 4 nursing homes, 2 community centres, Guildford Fire Station, 5 schools and the council’s own headquarters in Reigate.

For more information, please click here.

PPN outlines strategic priorities for public procurement

The National Procurement Policy Statement sets out the strategic priorities for public procurement and how contracting authorities can support their delivery.

The statement will come into effect on 28th October 2024 alongside the introduction of the new Procurement Act 2023. All contracting authorities must have regard to this statement as mandated by Section 13 of the Procurement Act.

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The national priorities are as follows:

  • Value for Money
  • Social Value
  • Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
  • Commercial and Procurement Delivery
  • Skills and Capability for Procurement.

For social value, the PPN states specially that contracting authorities should have regard to tackling climate change. However, the PPN does stress that contracting authorities should not place onerous requirements on suppliers.

Th PPN also stresses the importance of expanding procurement opportunities to SMEs to secure economic growth and the innovative delivery of services.

With regards to commercial and procurement delivery, the PPN makes clear that contracting authorities should consider whether they have the right operational policies and processes in place to manage the key stages of commercial delivery.

Under skills and capability, contracting authorities should consider their organisational capability and workforce plans, as well as the resources required to deliver value for money.

For more information, please click here.


Education software provider ESS under investigation

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced an investigation into whether ESS (Education Software Solutions Ltd) has acted unlawfully by taking action to prevent schools from switching to an alternative provider ahead of contract renewal dates.

The CMA has stated that they have received several complaints from schools and local authorities about ESS’ alleged behaviour.

The CMA shared: “These schools reported they had been warned by ESS that they would not be able to share a copy of their database with a new provider, as doing so would breach ESS’s intellectual property rights”.

The CMA has since confirmed that sharing database back-up copies is a longstanding practice used in the sector for data transfers and, without it, the schools’ ability to move to a new provider would be severely hampered.

ESS has responded to the investigation, stating that: “It simply cannot be correct that the only way to sustain a competitive market is for one organisation to be forced to allow its competitors open access to its core intellectual property, which it has invested large amounts of time and money in developing”.

For more information, please click here.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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