Issue details

20/00035 - The emergency purchase of bulk Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Reason(s) for decision:


Emergency purchase of bulk Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including but not limited to hand sanitiser, wipes, aprons, masks, gloves, and goggles.  This forms an integral part of the Council’s response to the outbreak of the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the measures to reduce the risk of further human-to-human transmission.


To secure supplies of appropriate PPE bulk orders with suppliers must be placed.  This requires KCC to make significant financial commitments and also plan for ongoing review and replenishment of stock in a challenging market.


The PPE is for use by KCC and for mutual aid to KCC’s suppliers where they are unable to source supplies.  KCC will pay for the additional cost and usage of PPE during the outbreak from the additional funds (£39m) provided by central government.  When KCC provides mutual aid, the provider will be charged the full cost, recognising that any cost increases they incur will be reflected in the contract price KCC pays for service delivery, so also drawn from the additional funds KCC receives.


Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Notice of proposed decision first published: 01/04/2020

Reason for urgency:
The Council’s stocks of PPE are now exhausted and need to be replenished as soon as possible given the unprecedented demand both internally and for mutual aid to its providers (particularly social care). Many buyers worldwide are chasing supplies with demand exceeding supply. Suppliers require buyers to place and confirm bulk orders at very short notice (almost immediately) when stock is identified else they are passed to the next buyer. The Council identified a secure source for some stock on 30th March valued at £523k and must confirm the order today else it will be lost to another buyer. This pattern is expected to continue during the outbreak – hence the inclusion of ongoing delegation to allow swift Officer action to replenish stock while remaining within approved spend limit of £2m.

Decision due: 1 Apr 2020 by Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services
Reason: Purchases will be made today (1st April 2020) and as necessary as part of the response to the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the measures to reduce the risk of further human-to-human transmission.

Lead member: Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services

Lead director: Vincent Godfrey

Department: Strategic & Corporate Services

Contact: Vincent Godfrey, Strategic Commissioner 03000 419045 Email:


No Cabinet Committee consultation possible due to urgency process.


The Chair of the Scrutiny Committee supported the urgent decision.


Mr R Bird and Mr D Farrell, as the Group Spokespeople of the Scrutiny Committee, supported the urgent decision


Mr Sweetland as the Chair and both Mr R Bird and Mr D Farrell as Group Spokespeople of the Policy and Resources Cabinet Committee, supported the urgent decision.


Financial implications: This decision provides for expenditure up to £2m. A further decision will be made should expenditure on bulk orders need to exceed that. Additional funding from central government (£39m) has been provided to respond to the outbreak and this will be drawn on where costs exceed those normally incurred for PPE.

Legal implications: The Council has a legal obligation and duty of care to provide PPE to its employees. Whilst it does not have an obligation to supply it to providers, the outbreak has caused PPE to be in very short supply and the means of placing bulk orders to be beyond many of them, particularly the smaller and voluntary sector organisations. In order for them to continue to provide essential services e.g. care home placements, care in the community etc., KCC has to provide mutual aid through these bulk orders.

Equalities implications: No issues identified at early stage EqIA, note that this will be reviewed as project continues.