Issue details

20/00050 - Continued bulk purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Reason for the decision:


Record of Decision 20/00035 was made to facilitate the bulk purchase of PPE to a value of £2m.  This decision represents additional expenditure of £3m bringing total expenditure to £5m.


The decision is required to allow for the continued bulk purchase of PPE. This forms an integral part of KCC’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.


KCC’s role in the supply of PPE is to provide it to its own staff and, working with the Kent Resilience Forum (KRF), provide mutual aid to those outside of the NHS acute and ambulance services where their supply chains have failed such as care homes.  Mutual aid is for those who currently have close, unavoidable contact with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 cases, including highly vulnerable “shielded” groups, that can outline their needs in line with the latest clinical guidance.  Furthermore, it is only for those in urgent need in vital services, where service providers have explored their usual routes for PPE and there remains an urgent need for additional stock.


Reason for urgency:


The demand for PPE has increased significantly and been far greater than was envisaged when Record of Decision 20/00035 was made to facilitate the bulk purchase of PPE to a value of £2m; orders have already been placed to this value.  Further urgent bulk orders must now be placed of a similar magnitude to secure continuity of supplies. 


Background Information:


KCC took previous decision 20/00035 to allocate funding to allow for the swift purchase of PPE to ensure KCC was able to secure necessary stock while it was available.  This decision increases the funding available but similar funding increase may be required in the future depending on the development of the pandemic and PPE availability. 


Details regarding the ongoing management, distribution and mutual aid arrangements for PPE are being reviewed and will be further developed through additional decision making in due course.


Stock of PPE is derived from four sources including: MHCLG; KRF partners such as Kent Fire and Rescue, and SECAmb; donor organisations such as Universities; and purchases made by KCC.  The first three of the four sources provide the PPE free of charge to KCC with the expectation that KCC manages the logistics.  The overall stock of PPE from the four sources is combined to manage demand and availability, so it may be on a given day that demand including that from KCC staff, is fulfilled largely from MHCLG stock due to the non-availability of KCC stock, with the situation reversed on another day.  KCC is managing the logistics for the entire supply of PPE and bearing the cost through its trading company KCS (KCC is not charging for deliveries etc).


Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Division affected: (All Division);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 29/04/2020

Decision due: 29 Apr 2020 by Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services
Reason: Urgent decision

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 Tel: 03000 419045 Email:


Urgent decision – no public or Committee consultation possible

Financial implications: £3m additional funding (resulting in £5m total for the additional PPE purchasing programme). This decision provides for expenditure of £3m in addition to the £2m covered in Record of Decision 20/00035. A further decision will be made should expenditure need to exceed that. This is additional expenditure above the budget for 2020/21 agreed by full Council in February 2020. The expenditure has been identified as an additional financial commitment arising from the council’s response to COVID-19. The expectation is that the government will fully reimburse the council for the costs it has incurred. The council has already received £39m emergency grant funding from the government. The original £2m for PPE has been recorded against the grant funding. The council will shortly receive another emergency grant from the government, the amount allocated is not known, but expected to be less than the £39m already received.

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 and partners, the outbreak has caused PPE to be in very short supply and this means placing bulk orders and organising logistics is beyond many of them in the current circumstances, 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.

Equalities implications: None.