London’s boroughs authorities have formed a capital-wide partnership to bulk buy personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in care homes and by providers of other key local services.
London Councils, the cross-party body that represents all 33 of Greater London’s local authorities, says the initiative will result in the distribution of more than 48 million PPE items “in the coming weeks”.
Shortages of PPE have been a huge concern for a number of boroughs since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, leading to some borough leaders having to appeal to local schools and businesses to make up for shortages of supplies from national government.
The project, which is already underway, is an expansion of an established partnership by a group of seven west London boroughs under the name of the West London Alliance and is supported by the capital’s Strategic Co-ordination Group, which leads common action against the pandemic by boroughs, TfL, the Metropolitan Police and other public bodies.
The seven boroughs – Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow – banded together through the Commissioning Alliance, a membership organisation that assists numerous London local authorities obtain what they need to help vulnerable residents.
The new, London-wide procurement system is being co-ordinated by officers of Haringey Council, with Ealing taking care of the supply. The scheme will run alongside the continuing national government programme but is essentially a move to compensate for its shortcomings. Last week, Birmingham Council expressed concern that PPE it had been given by the government was out of date.
The collaboration between the boroughs is thought to be the largest example yet of local authorities working together. Ray Puddifoot, London Councils’ executive member for health and care, who is also the leader of Hillingdon, praised boroughs for “acting quickly and decisively to boost PPE supplies and ensure equipment gets to those who need it most. London’s boroughs have stepped up to the plate and are playing a leading role in the capital’s response to the pandemic.”
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