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SUPC Category Updates - 7 May 2020

SUPC Category Updates - 7 May 2020

7th May 2020


As more information about the coronavirus and its impact is emerging, we continue to explore potential impacts on supply chains.  Our category managers are working with suppliers and counter-parts across the consortia to understand which suppliers may be impacted, how this might impact supply, and what, if any, contingencies can be made.  As part of our work we are keeping a close eye on the long-term sustainability of framework suppliers and will update you with information, as it becomes available. You can find updates on each of our Categories below.


Academic Services


  • Work has commenced on re-tendering the books agreement which is due for renewal in 2021. The re-tender will seek to embrace the significant developments in both requirements and technology which have taken place over the life of the existing agreement and as prompted by the shifts occasioned by Covid-19.

  • Review meetings for suppliers on both the Books and Periodicals frameworks are being conducted.

  • Library activity has increased significantly as institutions adjust to online learning and planning for 2020-21. Challenges include:
    • Affordability (and often availability) of digital versions of resources.  Liaison with Jisc (and others) to take sector approaches to lobbying problematic publishers.
    • Inclusivity of digital resources – do they meet regulatory requirements and does functionality support all learning requirements and preferences. This was already important but the lockdown has served to highlight it further. We were already addressing this in more specific detail in the Books retender and collaborating with sector experts such as ASPIRE.
    • Discoverability of digital resources – if a student can’t find the resource the institution will struggle to get value for money. This is another area that the lockdown is highlighting but also one that is already being addressed in the Books retender and via the newly formed SUPC & LUPC Metadata & Discovery Special Interest Group.
    • How to get ‘print only’ resources to students – working with suppliers to identify which can deliver library orders direct to students and promote this to libraries.
    • Networking – many librarians are now really busy and have lost outlets where they can share challenges and success with peers. We’ve been able to facilitate this via the virtual coffee mornings for the Library Group and the new Metadata and Discovery group.

Please contact Category Manager Gavin Phillips for more details.


Corporate Services


Travel Management Services

  • The prime issue at present is that of securing refunds against cancelled travel arrangements with airlines. Jayne has been working with all of the TMCs awarded to our Framework to determine a coordinated approach to this issue.

    Airlines are falling into 4 main categories:
    1.  Some are attempting to work as normal and still using the GDS.
    2.  Some are not working with the GDS anymore, so refunds are taking 2-3 months to process
    3.  Some are now changing the terms of the tickets, and refundable tickets are not being refunded, but are issuing vouchers. (Despite knowing that this isn’t allowed under EU law, but they’re doing it anyway)
    4.  Some are not doing anything at all and ignoring calls for refunds.
  • Until the pre-booked travel dates have passed and the TMCs understand what each airline is doing (and they’re all doing it slightly differently) TMCs are unable to advise how much money has been lost so that insurance claims can be raised.

  • Jayne has prepared a letter to the Business Travel Association, on behalf of the sector with all the Framework TMCs, asking the BTA to raise at industry level and beyond, explaining that the money we spend isn’t all always ours, such as being research grant funded.

Temp Agency

  • Remains quiet: a lot of agencies have furloughed staff
  • Some concerns that the temp workforce  may secure alternative employment and won’t be available when lockdown finished

Please contact Category Manager Jayne Thorn for more details.



  • Extensions for both Asbestos frameworks have been enacted.
  • Taron is seeking to prepare a standard list of PPE requirements which may facilitate “return to work” amongst members so that a co-ordinated approach to the PPE market place can be made once immediate NHS requirements have been fulfilled and the pricing available has stabilised.

Please contact Assistant Category Manager Taron Smith for more details.



  • Working with other UKUPC to plan new timelines for national tenders due to COVID-19.  Apple dates now agreed and notification will be issued shortly.
  • Price increases being negotiated with a few suppliers on NDNA with LUPC
  • Majority of IT suppliers working remotely and business as usual in many cases.  AV suppliers advising problems in the upward supply chain which is delaying orders.
  • Work is continuing on the development of tender documents for SLRA and SSSNA
  • APUC has advised that will be looking to extend the scope of their forthcoming VLE Framework renewal to offer UK national coverage from its current Scotland only availability.

Please contact Category Manager Tammie Purdue for more details.




  • Dani is seconded to support the NHS initiative with the sourcing of PPE and further information regarding her activities on this project will be provided in due course.
  • The programme for the renewal of the Gases framework is currently under review to enable suppliers to focus efforts on support to NHS requirements.