The global pandemic has meant that all organisations have had to adjust their protective security arrangements to reflect changing threats and new working practices and personal protective equipment (PPE) has been a huge part of this.
We look at the English government’s next steps for procuring PPE and preparing for the “second wave” of the coronavirus pandemic below.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
The COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented PPE supply and distribution challenge for the health and social care sectors. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and its supply has been one of the biggest talking points around public procurement during 2020.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the government spent £3.2bn on medical and protective equipment, €1bn more than Germany.
According to the Financial Times, the UK accounted for 30 per cent of the overall EU-UK spending on PPE. In July, the Department of Health and Social Care said:
“We have been working tirelessly to deliver PPE to protect people on the front line — with more than 2.4bn items delivered to date and over 30bn items ordered to provide a continuous supply now and for the future.”
The “second wave”
On 28 September, the UK government released its strategy for preparing for a second wave of COVID-19, which covers supply and logistics for distribution of PPE.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said:
“During the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve needed to expand our PPE supply chain from 226 NHS trusts in England to over 58,000 different settings, including care homes, hospices and community care organisations.
This has meant we needed a Herculean logistical effort, of unprecedented scale and complexity, to make sure our healthcare heroes get what they need.
We’ve had to create a whole new logistics network from scratch, bringing to bear the experience and expertise of the NHS, industry and the Armed Forces.”
Finding opportunities with early engagement
Early engagement is more important than ever before.
Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic the UK government has actively encouraged suppliers that can offer support in several areas to reach out to them.
The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) website states that the public sector has:
“received thousands of offers from suppliers across the UK to provide goods and services to the public and third sector during the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.”
With so much competition out there, it is vital that your business has a relationship with relevant buyers.
In a time like this, buyers want to work with innovative, reliable, and trustworthy suppliers. Early engagement can support buyers that need to carry out an accelerated procedure, where quick decisions about suppliers must be made.
Remember that your organisation does not need to wait until an opportunity is published to get in touch with a buyer. Early engagement with buyers is a crucial element in pursuing a successful procurement strategy.
It is especially important at a time when buyers are using accelerated procurement, especially direct award. Early engagement could put your business in a favourable position during accelerated procurements as the buying organisation will already know and have a relationship with your business.
Discover the benefits of early engagement
Early engagement allows discussions to take place that will support your business to write an attractive tender bid later – which is key to being awarded the contract, whatever goods, works or services your business offers.
In these unprecedented times, new and existing suppliers in public sector procurement will play an instrumental role in driving public services, local authorities, and the Government itself forward.
Learn more about early engagement and how Tracker can support your business during this time.