Coronavirus (COVID-19) PPE Strategy and Governance Board minutes: 22 April 2021

Minutes from the meeting on the 22 April 2021 of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) PPE Strategy and Governance Board.

Attendees and apologies


  • Alan Morrison (AM) (Chair)
  • Alison Bell (AB)
  • Moira Parker (MP)
  • Julie Welsh (JW)
  • Nick Ford (NF)
  • Paul Hornby (PH)
  • Graeme Cook
  • Colin MacBean (CMacB)
  • Andy McLaughlin (AMc)
  • Lee Hegarty (LH)

In attendance:

  • Chris Bierley
  • Billy Renfrew
  • Julie O’Donnell
  • Emma Nycz
  • Irene Keith (Secretariat)


  • Richard McCallum
  • David Leven
  • Dermot Rhatigan
  • Chris Dunne
  • Catriona Dalrymple
  • Anna Kynaston

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

AM opened the meeting and welcomed the attendees, in particular Julie O’Donnell who had just joined the PPE Unit.

Minutes from 18 March 2021 and actions outstanding

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

Report on procurement 

GC provided a general summary on the report from the CoE Group and set out the key recommendations. He highlighted that although collaborative procurement can bring benefits such as standardising specifications these can still be achieved if we tell the market whether we decide to buy individually or together. This type of approach brings quality outcomes.

To achieve the Board’s aims, there are matters that are not quality based such as decisions around the amount of PPE procured and the landscape around that, for example pandemic planning and the necessary policy decisions on how we go to market.

GC asked the Board to approve the recommendation in the paper to carry out further detailed analysis of the work required to implement a whole system approach. 

NF indicated Procurement wants the benefits that a whole system approach can deliver, but agreed making changes in procurement alone was not enough. He proposed setting up a programme to complete this work and start exploring what that involves, e.g. obtaining the funding. JW agreed with this approach as it made her decision on local authorities next procurement clearer. PH also liked this proposal as he felt we had a lot of data already. AB highlighted it would require tackling a lot of things at the same time, but happy to go into a programme and do the research as part of that programme. CMacB also supportive but wanted to know the decision on stockpiling v setting up companies to tool up to meet the next surge in need. 

PH advised that the problem with stockpiling (currently have a 16 week stockpile) is that we have to write off millions of £s each year, so he feels it is vital that alternatives are considered. GC felt diversity of solutions was needed – some PPE stock and some machinery to make PPE and international agreements set up to obtain raw materials. He felt a new group needed to be set up to carry out this work as CoE Group only focused on procurement and he was happy to be part of any such group. NF added we may need a SRO and to prepare a business case and felt the PPE Unit was best placed to take the new Programme forward.


  • AB to set up a scoping conversation with various colleagues to see what a programme could look like

Governance structure review

MP outlined key points in the amended Terms of Reference (ToR) circulated to the members and opened it out to the floor for comment. AM felt it hit all the right notes. JW commented that although the paper set out the Chair has the ultimate say it was clear some matters are outwith the remit of the Board. CMacB asked where the authority sits? AM advised that where we could not resolve issues it would go to ministers as the ultimate arbiters. CMacB explained that he felt earlier in the pandemic the chain of command had not been clear and it had been difficult getting authorisation. This could be nailed down in a programme.

AB suggested the membership be widen to incorporate representation from Adult Social Care. She also advised that the new Innovation Group set up by the Unit wishes to bring a paper to the Board proposing it becomes a subgroup of this Board. She also suggested we may need someone technical perhaps from the PPE Clinical Group to be a permanent member. 

MP advised escalation and the relationship with other groups had been considered, but that the Board had agreed we should introduce changes in iterations. The need for the Board’s existence was agreed to be reviewed in 6 months. If the Board becomes permanent then escalation routes would be included for good governance. MP reminded members that the Board can co-op members when they need to do so.


  • members to contact MP or IK to advise on new members. MP to amend ToR in line with the discussion and bring back to the next meeting for final approval

Forward look

AB advised the paper not yet updated but work continuing.

PPE issues    

No major issues highlighted. 

PPE action plan – supporting actions

The Board noted the Supporting Actions log.

Date of next meeting

It was agreed the next meeting would take place 20 May 2021 (third Thursday of the month).


AB provided a short update on Audit Scotland’s (AS) review of PPE. She advised the report will have 24 pages – 50/50 text to visualisation. The draft will be received at the end of next week and we will have two weeks to comment. The work of the Board is important as AS is very interested in the lessons learned we wish to take into the future.

AM thanked everyone for their contributions

Meeting closed.

Back to top