A Whitehall spending watchdog report ‘will do little to quell concerns about cronyism in UK government procurement’- says OpenDemocracy. It would appear that more than £10 billion of contracts were awarded by the UK government without competition during the sourcing of PPE. The spending watchdog found that a special channel was set up to allow almost 500 suppliers with links to politicians or senior officials to pitch directly for work. Firms with political connections were directed to a “high-priority” channel for UK government contracts where bids were ten times more likely to be successful, according to a report by the National Audit Office. Around 10% of the suppliers referred to the channel by a political contact were awarded a PPE contract, the NAO reported. Suppliers without such links, by contrast, had only a 1% chance of winning a contract. Read the full story here.
The publication of the UK National Audit Office’s second report concerning government procurement during the pandemic has been fairly summarized here by Peter Smith, who took to Twitter saying “Lack of documentation of why suppliers were chosen for contracts is unforgivable, given lack of competition and size of many contracts. (It broke the government’s own Cabinet Office guidance as well). The lack of clarity on the “due diligence” process is worrying too.”