Friday, 20 November 2020

NAO - PPE Procurement: the threat for Public Procurement

There are many things going on at the moment, and so the procurement of PPE is not making as much of a splash as it should.  Though there is still a lot of coverage in the media;



even Dentistry online!

And this should be a big issue.  At a time of national emergency procurement has to move fast, and decisions have to be made quickly.  But this is also the time when unscrupulous suppliers (and even conmen) can take advantage of the situation for gain.  So we have to temper the need for results with a little prudence.

The idea of having "fast track" suppliers is no doubt meant with the best intentions by senior figures in the government, who want to speed up the process - but this approach is fraught with opportunities for graft, corruption and fraud.  None of which have necessarily taken place, but it is a vulnerability.  

If you don't lock your car doors but it isn't stolen, that is not an indication that you were doing the right thing.  It means you got a way with it.  Time will tell if that is the case for PPE procurement.

What IS clear though is that public confidence in public procurement has been further eroded by the failure to deliver, the failure to ensure value for money and the perception of contracts for "mates".  The government should act quickly to restore its reputation.

Sad to say, I'm not holding my breath.

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