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Covid-19 in NOT an Excuse for Suspending Good Procurement Practice, Transparency and Public Regulation.

June 15, 2021 4:28 PM
High CourtSome people refer to this as "Procurement Piracy"

On the 19th February, 2021, in a case brought by the Good Law Project, the High Court found that the Government had acted unlawfully in its failure to comply with Reg. 50 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and the Transparency Policy and Principles.

The Good Law Project wrote the same day to the Rt Hon Mike Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

The compliance failure was in not publishing details of Covid-19 related contracts within the applicable legal timeframe as set out in Reg. 50 etc as above.

The Government committed to "learn lessons" from recent "criticism of contract awards".

So in the letter the Good Law Project offered not to proceed with its further pending procurement challenges, and thus save the Government's costs in attempting to defend itself, if the Government would:

  1. Publish the names of all the companies who went through the so-called "VIP Lane", together with who introduced the companies and, where the companies were successful, the prices they were paid for the goods or services that were procured
  2. Commit to recovering public money from all the companies who failed to meet their contractual obligations - and agree an independent process to identify those failures.
  3. Commit to a judge-led public inquiry into the handling of PPE procurement during the pandemic.
  4. Commit to following the lead of other jurisdictions by publishing PPE contracts with pricing details visible to obtain proper scrutiny.

Mr Hancock did not reply.
The Good Law Project copied the Rt Hon Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister of the Cabinet Office into the letter.