In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, public sector bodies have had to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency. The Cabinet Office, which oversees government’s buying policies, has changed some of the procurement rules for contracts relating to the government’s response to COVID-19. Concerns have been raised about some of these procurements, including around a lack of transparency.
In our previous report, Overview of the UK government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we signalled our intention to report on how government has managed risks created by its response to the crisis. This report will set out the scale of COVID-19-related procurement, how procurement rules have changed and how the government is managing the risks associated with these changes. For a sample of contracts, it will consider who has bought what, from whom, and at what cost, during the pandemic.
This work will sit alongside our specific work on supplying the NHS and adult social care sector with personal protective equipment (PPE) and increasing the number of ventilators available to the NHS in response to COVID-19.