Coronavirus (COVID-19) PPE Strategy and Governance Board minutes: 20 May 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) PPE Strategy and Governance Board held on 20 May 2020.

Attendees and apologies


  • Julie O’Donnell
  • Mhairi Roberts
  • Lindsey Gray
  • Irene Keith (Secretariat)

Items and actions

1. Welcome and introductions

AM opened the meeting and welcomed the attendees.

2. Minutes from 22 April 2021 and actions outstanding

AM indicated actions from the previous meeting would be raised later on the Agenda. Board members agreed the minutes.

There was a brief discussion on whether or not the meeting had a quorum as set out in the current Terms of Reference (ToR). The Board determined the ToR were under review including the membership and that the section on a ‘quorum’ be removed from the ToR and a more general reference be set up to allow flexibility on those attending.

Action: MP to amend the ToR to remove reference to a quorum.

3. CA Markings

MP emphasized that this is a reserved matter, that all the work around this had been done by UK colleagues and asked members to agree the recommendations set out in the paper. JW asked that this information be shared as widely as possible to ensure suppliers and manufacturers were aware. MP highlighted this affected items purchased after the 1 January 2022 for those before the CE marking can still be used. NF said it was important to know if we anticipated this creating a bottleneck. MP advised the two systems are very similar and that UK colleagues had created a sticker to use temporarily (as opposed to a formal stamp) which would avoid delays. The process takes 2-4 weeks and suppliers and manufacturers were aware of this change. AM asked members to highlight any issues back to this Board. The Board agreed the recommendations.

4. Strategy Paper on Innovation Working Group

MR introduced herself and provided an overview of the working group advising it had representatives form SE, NSS, NMIS and various SG policy colleagues. She explained they had three priority areas namely Improving user experience, Reducing environmental impact and Improvements to process linking Scottish manufacturers with NHS demands.

AM asked how MR saw this work reporting to the Board. MR advised they maintained an action log which could be circulated to each Board meeting or she could provide a regular update on a quarterly basis. NF highlighted the importance of bringing this work into the Board’s work on the creation of a whole system approach. MR agreed and said she was aware of existing work in these areas and wanted to take advantage of those. She recognised manufacturers had little interest in re-useable goods so was looking wider to achieve the group’s objective.

AM recognising NF’s point stated it was the Board’s responsibility to ensure all work strands around PPE are co-ordinated. AB advised she would reflect on how to do this given we also need other input such as clinical advice.

PH advised that NHS had a ‘one governance group’ which brought together the different strands. MP highlighted that this was part of the next stage of the procurement work. GC however felt there was not a logical route as the work involved could not be sequential but rather everything had to be looked at same time. AM thanked MR.

The Board noted the work of the Innovation Working Group and requested a quarterly update be brought to the Board.

Action: MR to provide a quarterly update to the Board.

5. Future of PPE Procurement

MP indicated the paper was asking the Board to:

  1. Confirm its agreement to the eight key objectives described by the CoE group at the previous meeting.
  2. Agree the creation of a sub group to take the programme forward and indicate a view on subgroup membership.
  3. Reach a view on each of the four key “Decision Points” listed below, to allow the programme to commence
  4. From the list of nine “Options for Collaborative Agreement”, agree if Board members have a preferred approach for collaborative procurement for the sub group to start progressing or indicate a shortlist of preferred models (up to 3) which it wishes to put to further investigation by the sub group.

MP advised the paper set out the nine possible options for collaborative procurement but highlighted the Board had already agreed option 1 was not viable.

There was a general discussion and the Board agreed that the best way forward was to set up the sub-group with a smallish membership maybe five or six who had the capacity to take the actions necessary to drive this work forward.

MP asked if the Board members could nominate names to her by the end of next week to enable the sub-group to meet at least once if not twice before the next Board meeting. JW proposed Lesley Ritchie to represent Scotland Excel. NF asked who would represent other strands of this work for example funding but MP advised we needed to agree on the model first and then tease out these aspects.

There were several points raised on Best Value; whether there was a need to identify specific items of PPE should be classified as ‘high priority’ versus a more open approach which allows the nature of the essential equipment to change; and whether we should continue to work in the 4 Nations Group. The question of involving the private sector to achieve the highest volume of PPE was also considered though there was concern raised that this would go against existing principles in the public sector. NF raised another point that need to be considered around whether the One Scotland approach needed to be set on a roll-out programme as opposed to a big bang. PH felt the sub-group should take each of these elements and come back with options to the Board. AMcL felt we were on a bit of a cliff edge and that to achieve the objectives we needed to include all markets to gain the interest from manufacturers. The members also expressed concern at the number of groups already working on different aspects and recognised there was a need to rationalise. GC suggested his CoE Group could close and merge into this sub-group.

The Board mandated the sub-group to explore options 6, 7 and 8 in the paper.

Actions: Board members to send nominations for the sub-group to MP by close of play Friday 28 May. MP to set up sub-group meetings and report back on progress to the next Board meeting.

6. Governance Structure Review  

MP advised she had implemented the changes to the ToR requested by the Board at the last meeting as set out in the paper circulated and that she would now take onboard the comments raised at the beginning of the meeting. The members signed off the ToR with the minor caveat that MP circulate the final version of ToR to members.

Action: MP to amend the section in ToR relating to the ‘quorum’ and circulate final version to members

7. Audit Scotland Review of PPE Update

AB advised members SG would see the final embargoed report on Monday 14 June and that would be published on 17 June.

8. and 9. Forward Look & Current Issues

Nothing to report

10. PPE Action Plan Supporting actions log

The Board noted the Supporting Actions log.

11. Date of next meeting

It was agreed the next meeting would take place 17 June 2021 (third Thursday of the month).

12. AOB

AM thanked everyone for their contributions

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