Coronavirus (COVID-19): PPE Strategy and Governance Board minutes: 26 November 2020

Minutes from the meeting of the board on 26 November 2020.

Attendees and apologies


  • Caroline Jack (CJ) (Chair)
  • Julie Welsh (JW)
  • Nick Ford (NF)
  • Gordon Beattie (GB)
  • Alison Bell (AB)
  • Jim Wilson (JWi)
  • Chris Dunne (CD)
  • Cat Dalrymple (CD)
  • David Leven (DL)
  • Ruth Paterson (RP)
  • Lee Hegarty (LH)
  • Dermot Rhatigan (DR)
  • Jayne Sledmore (JS) (Secretariat)


  • Colin Macbean (CM)
  • Alison Cumming (ACu)
  • Richard McCallum (RM)
  • Fiona Bennett (FB)
  • Andy McLaughlin (AM)
  • Anna Kynaston (AK)
  • Alex McMahon (AMc)

Items and actions

1. Welcome and introductions

CJ opened the meeting and welcomed the attendees.

2. Minutes from 29 October 2020 and actions outstanding

JS gave an overview of the actions from the previous meeting.  The minutes were agreed by board members.

3. Update from Lee Hegarty Chair of Adult Social Care PPE Group

LH gave an overview of the Adult Social Care PPE Group. 

  • Meetings are fortnightly but may increase or decrease depending on how COVID develops.
  • Oversees effectiveness of PPE Hubs
  • Membership consists of SG, NSS, COSLA, Care Providers etc
  • Opportunity to raise issues of concern from the sector
  • Reports to Pandemic Response – Adult Social Care Group (PRASCG)

Current hot topics being discussed are –

  • PPE VAT increase
  • EU Exit impact
  • Gloves (Vinyl v Nitrile)
  • Post-March 2021 arrangements

Action 15.1 – CJ to meet with LH

GB added that NSS were increasing the number of products from 7 to 12 million to provide assurance that there will be enough products in hubs.  He asked LH if the VAT increase cold change buying habits?  LH confirmed that he thought it might along with EU Exit if usual supply routes are impacted.

4. PPE Action Plan – Supporting Actions

JS gave an overview of the current position of the Action Plan – Supporting Actions.

Since the last meeting work was required to sync the Action Plan and Supporting Actions.  Due to the delay in publishing there had been changes made to the document.  Work was on-going to insure that the actions were accurate, measurable and regular updates were being sought.  In the future a Dashboard style of reporting would be used however JS thought it important that the board see the detail behind all actions in the short term.

There was a lot of discussion surrounding how Scottish Manufacturing could be supported in the future to continue to supply the Scottish public sector at a competitive price. 

JW highlighted that a lot of work had been done in the last 5 years by procurement to design tenders that supported Scottish and SME suppliers to bid for frameworks.  The opportunity was perhaps to work with the manufacturers to insure that they are ready to bid for these contracts when they come around for retender.

NF and GB highlighted that the balance of fair, open and transparent procurement had to be maintained.  The recently published Scottish Procurement Policy Note (SPPN) articulates the criteria that can be used.  The crux is sustainable supply versus cost. 

Action 15.2 – PPE COE Group to discuss the option of creating a PPE National Framework and how this may work in practice.

DR echoed the need to encourage suppliers and support them in being ready to tender for future contracts.  It would be useful to understand the PPE volumes post COVID. 

DL highlighted the use of Meet The Buyer events that were a useful tool that gave suppliers forewarning of contracts and price points. 

NF thought that we need a future pipeline of 12-18 months of PPE requirements, but asked how would this be developed?

GB advised that NSS were using a mitigated model which they were extrapolating out to the end of the FY.  It was very difficult to forecast beyond then as buying patterns have changed significantly.  For example Type IIR masks – previously 3 million per year were used, this has now increased to 4 million per week. 

GB added that the SG Resilience Groups were discussing the definition of a pandemic stock and what it should include.  Consideration was also being given to Health holding the pandemic stock for all Scottish public bodies.

Action 15.3 – It was asked if Mike Healy could be invited to the next meeting given his work in the Resilience space.

JW confirmed that SXL would be tendering for PPE in early 2021.  If NSS were to hold the pandemic stock then consideration must be given to the logistics of the situation.  NSS can’t continue to pay for all PPE therefore the how this is paid for must be well-thought-out.   

NF commented on the Supporting Actions in general, that importance should be given to 7, 10, 12, 13, 14 & 15 as these were all linked to winter and are a priority in the short term.  In time a Dashboard should also be provided including risks and issues.

Action 15.4 – JS to work with the PPE COE Group on the wording and monitoring process for Action 26.

At that point Vscene cut the call off and the meeting ended. 

Meeting closed.

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