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[Politics] Any views on the Government giving out untendered contracts on PPE?

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I don’t know, were other countries criminally short of PPE? I do seem to recall, anecdotally, Italian medical staff wearing bin bags for gowns...

Just 6 days ago Rachel Clarke - @droxford on Twitter showed that some NHS staff are still not getting PPE and having to wear bin bags.
I can understand having to order supplies in a panic in March, not withstanding Operation Cygnus being ignored, but it’s now November.
 

WATFORD zero

Members
Jul 10, 2003
21,989
You know what?

I'm willing to forgive much of what I've read, although I'l confess that I've not delved deep into the detail.

Given the global shortage of PPE, if the UK government had NOT taken, frankly, punts to get hold of what the NHS needed then there would be threads on here along the lines of "Can you believe the government insisted on going down their usual lengthy tender and procurement process when the NHS was crying out for PPE as soon as possible? There was even a company able to source and provide what was required, and Boris and his useless mates didn't take it."

And, the testing system is a machine of numerous moving parts (of which Serco is one small bit), and I've read praise from logistics experts at how many differing companies have combined to deliver a seamless experience in most cases.

Yes, we reached our limits to test in early September, but we still had built capacity in excess of many similar-sized nations, and that has continued to grow. The trace and isolate part of the whole system has clearly been disappointing, but I'm not going to throw too much mud without knowing more about that.

And, again, there simply would not have been time to go through usual tender process to get this up and running in the timescales desired, and I'm pretty sure the OP is one of those who has poured scorn on the time it did take to get operational. You can't have it both ways.

I'm no fan of Johnson and the current government, but we were in pretty exceptional circumstances and decisions needed to be made fast. Once this entire shitshow is over, and a thorough review of the UK's performance can be undertaken, that will be the time to assess things like this.

I would also be willing to forgive a lot considering the situation we are currently in, however

At the point when the contract for Ventilators was awarded to Tory Party Donor Dyson, I pointed out that it was being awarded to someone with no experience in the field and maybe ramping up operations that already built them maybe a better use of money. Dyson failed to develop any, the existing manufacturers (with help from The Ventilator Challenge UK Consortium) produced them. Let's forgive the Government 'missing' the e-mail that allowed us to use the EU's procurement of ventilators even though 27 other countries got it.

At the point where the contract for the Test & Trace app was awarded to the company of Marc Walker, brother of Government SPAD Ben Walker (who, purely coincidentally, also attended the SAGE meetings with Cummings), I said that this should be done with people who had experience in this, like Apple and Google. Marc Walker's company decided they didn't need any assistance from Apple and Google, failed to deliver a successful app, and the work was then undertaken with Apple and Google. How many months lost ?

When PPE was required, Boris Johnson’s Government awarded a £122 million contract for the supply of gowns to a company that had only been in existence for one month. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) granted the multi-million-pound contract to PPE Medpro Limited on 25 June, just 44 days after the firm had been incorporated. The firm was set up by Anthony Page and Voirrey Coole, both of whom work in fiduciary services – private trust and wealth management that is based on the Isle of Man. Coincidentally, it was set up the day Anthony Page quit as the secretary to the Tory peer Baroness Mone

The Government awarded a £43.8 million deal for the supply of hand sanitiser to a dormant firm. The contract was handed out by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), without going to competitive tender, and concluded on 1 March. TAEG Energy was listed on Companies House as a dormant company on 25 February, a week before its multi-million-pound contract with the DHSC was awarded.

Or the contract to test the effectiveness of the government’s coronavirus messaging, worth £840,000.The contract was signed on 3 March, but the only written record in the public domain is a letter dated 5 June, retrospectively offering the contract that had already been granted. The company called Public First is owned by a married couple, James Frayne and Rachel Wolf. Since 2000, Frayne has worked on political campaigns with Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s chief adviser.

And I could go on and on (and normally do) as there are dozens of contracts that have been awarded to companies with no experience in their field (and often, no history as a company), but ties to the current Government and it's advisors.

Now, from this detail (because I have delved into it a bit) I think I can see a pattern developing. We can wait until this shitshow is over, Johnson and Cummings long gone ...oh, before we have any investigations, but I did suggest that the time to review was in July, when the first wave was reducing, to see what we could learn before the second wave.

Given the situation we are in, I would have trusted Thatcher, Blair, Major, Brown, May or Cameron to award contracts without tendering.

Johnson and Cummings ? Not so much ???
 

beorhthelm

A. Virgo, Football Genius
Jul 21, 2003
33,651
I don’t know, were other countries criminally short of PPE? I do seem to recall, anecdotally, Italian medical staff wearing bin bags for gowns...

yes, there were problems across the world. there was also warehouse full of stock that wasnt properly distributed. a lot of confusion, chaos, misinformation, misundertandings back then.
 

Hugo Rune

Members
Feb 23, 2012
18,073
Brighton
I get that in March and April we had to do something quick. but the government are still giving millions of pounds worth of contracts, without proper tendering, to companies for services they don't normally provide who happen to be owned by donors and friends of the party.

Parliament voted to suspend tendering processes during the pandemic which is understandable and I support. These processes can take months and months, there was no time for bureaucracy.

However, that is no excuse to hand out contracts to your mates and donors. Especially as some have come up short with the delivery. Utterly disgusting but 100% in line with the type of people we have in government. What did people who voted for Johnson expect?

I see that the government have rolled out details on the ban of petrol and diesels today in an attempt to keep the audit details from the public. What a bunch of self serving ****s.
 

The Optimist

Members
Apr 6, 2008
2,119
Lewisham
I would also be willing to forgive a lot considering the situation we are currently in, however

At the point when the contract for Ventilators was awarded to Tory Party Donor Dyson, I pointed out that it was being awarded to someone with no experience in the field and maybe ramping up operations that already built them maybe a better use of money. Dyson failed to develop any, the existing manufacturers (with help from The Ventilator Challenge UK Consortium) produced them. Let's forgive the Government 'missing' the e-mail that allowed us to use the EU's procurement of ventilators even though 27 other countries got it.

At the point where the contract for the Test & Trace app was awarded to the company of Marc Walker, brother of Government SPAD Ben Walker (who, purely coincidentally, also attended the SAGE meetings with Cummings), I said that this should be done with people who had experience in this, like Apple and Google. Marc Walker's company decided they didn't need any assistance from Apple and Google, failed to deliver a successful app, and the work was then undertaken with Apple and Google. How many months lost ?

When PPE was required, Boris Johnson’s Government awarded a £122 million contract for the supply of gowns to a company that had only been in existence for one month. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) granted the multi-million-pound contract to PPE Medpro Limited on 25 June, just 44 days after the firm had been incorporated. The firm was set up by Anthony Page and Voirrey Coole, both of whom work in fiduciary services – private trust and wealth management that is based on the Isle of Man. Coincidentally, it was set up the day Anthony Page quit as the secretary to the Tory peer Baroness Mone

The Government awarded a £43.8 million deal for the supply of hand sanitiser to a dormant firm. The contract was handed out by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), without going to competitive tender, and concluded on 1 March. TAEG Energy was listed on Companies House as a dormant company on 25 February, a week before its multi-million-pound contract with the DHSC was awarded.

Or the contract to test the effectiveness of the government’s coronavirus messaging, worth £840,000.The contract was signed on 3 March, but the only written record in the public domain is a letter dated 5 June, retrospectively offering the contract that had already been granted. The company called Public First is owned by a married couple, James Frayne and Rachel Wolf. Since 2000, Frayne has worked on political campaigns with Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s chief adviser.

And I could go on and on (and normally do) as there are dozens of contracts that have been awarded to companies with no experience in their field (and often, no history as a company), but ties to the current Government and it's advisors.

Now, from this detail (because I have delved into it a bit) I think I can see a pattern developing. We can wait until this shitshow is over, Johnson and Cummings long gone ...oh, before we have any investigations, but I did suggest that the time to review was in July, when the first wave was reducing, to see what we could learn before the second wave.

Given the situation we are in, I would have trusted Thatcher, Blair, Major, Brown, May or Cameron to award contracts without tendering.

Johnson and Cummings ? Not so much ???

The more I read the more it seems like corruption.
 

maltaseagull

Members
Feb 25, 2009
11,716
Zabbar- Malta
Agree, with the addition that any government worth it’s salt would have foreseen the need, or would have been prepared for a pandemic even before one was threatened, let alone happened,

There should and will be a public inquiry after this is over.

According to your view then, every Government in the entire world is not worth it's salt (Even the left wing ones!)

Nobody was able to forsee and plan for this until it struck.

Agreed there have been some monumental mistakes made along the way but in reality, do your REALLY think it would have been better to go through a lengthy tendering process to procure equipment that everyone was trying to source? It was just like the public in supermarkets trying to stock up on pasta and bog rolls.
(I am sure you had plenty in stock just in case?)

The manufacturers of the equipment should have forseen this and stockpiled billions of pieces of kit just in case FFS?
Governments should do the same ? With your money? Get some reality here. Every Government has to work to a budget.

If the pandemic hadn't arrived, what would the people have said about spending billions on PEP and ventilators etc just in case, rather than spending on other urgent needs?
 

darkwolf666

Members
Nov 8, 2015
7,568
Sittingbourne, Kent
Just 6 days ago Rachel Clarke - @droxford on Twitter showed that some NHS staff are still not getting PPE and having to wear bin bags.
I can understand having to order supplies in a panic in March, not withstanding Operation Cygnus being ignored, but it’s now November.

Wow, I didn't know that, that is nothing short of digraceful...!
 


darkwolf666

Members
Nov 8, 2015
7,568
Sittingbourne, Kent
There should and will be a public inquiry after this is over.

According to your view then, every Government in the entire world is not worth it's salt (Even the left wing ones!)

Nobody was able to forsee and plan for this until it struck.

Agreed there have been some monumental mistakes made along the way but in reality, do your REALLY think it would have been better to go through a lengthy tendering process to procure equipment that everyone was trying to source? It was just like the public in supermarkets trying to stock up on pasta and bog rolls.
(I am sure you had plenty in stock just in case?)

The manufacturers of the equipment should have forseen this and stockpiled billions of pieces of kit just in case FFS?
Governments should do the same ? With your money? Get some reality here. Every Government has to work to a budget.

If the pandemic hadn't arrived, what would the people have said about spending billions on PEP and ventilators etc just in case, rather than spending on other urgent needs?

I think you should qualify that as countries in the western world, as I don't the Asian areas were caught out anywhere near as much!

I genuinely think it was complacency, it won't happen here, thinking.

A bit like councils never having any snow ploughs for when it snows, as it doesn't snow that often so they don't buy them! Clearly though a Pandemic has more serious ramifications than a bit of snow...
 
There should and will be a public inquiry after this is over.

According to your view then, every Government in the entire world is not worth it's salt (Even the left wing ones!)

Nobody was able to forsee and plan for this until it struck.

Agreed there have been some monumental mistakes made along the way but in reality, do your REALLY think it would have been better to go through a lengthy tendering process to procure equipment that everyone was trying to source? It was just like the public in supermarkets trying to stock up on pasta and bog rolls.
(I am sure you had plenty in stock just in case?)

The manufacturers of the equipment should have forseen this and stockpiled billions of pieces of kit just in case FFS?
Governments should do the same ? With your money? Get some reality here. Every Government has to work to a budget.

If the pandemic hadn't arrived, what would the people have said about spending billions on PEP and ventilators etc just in case, rather than spending on other urgent needs?

Every government in the world? Look at South Korea, look at New Zealand. Their death toll is in tens not tens of thousands.

Britain has the highest death toll in Europe.
 

WATFORD zero

Members
Jul 10, 2003
21,989
Well, bugger me backwards with a sharp stick. Look what was published 40 minutes ago.

Government slammed for 'fast track VIP lane' giving 'special treatment' over PPE contracts

A senior MP has slammed the“fast track VIP lane” which allowed people in the Westminster bubble to recommend companies to receive "special treatment" by government if they were supplying masks, gloves, aprons and other PPE during the pandemic.

Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons spending watchdog the Public Accounts Committee, said she was “appalled” by the creation of a “fast track VIP lane” as a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) criticised a lack of transparency about the way emergency procedures were used to secure supplies and services in early 2020.


https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/brexit-news/westminster-news/meg-hillier-on-vip-covid-19-contracts-6354282

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/government-come-clean-ppe-deals-coronavirus-deals-b72879.html

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54978460

And my favourite bit

In one case, private firm PestFix – which has just 16 staff – was given a £32m contract for PPE, even though its name was “added to the high-priority lane in error”.

Which just goes to show that incompetence even trumps cronyism :lolol:
 
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nickbrighton

Members
Feb 19, 2016
1,613
Without commenting on the specifics of this one case, as I am sure there are plenty more, in general given the situation that we were in can you imagine what would have been said had the government said "ok we need huge quantities of PPE immediately, however before buy them, we need to put it out to competitive tender first. We want at least 5 different quotes, which will then be subjected to checking and verifying. Quotes need to be with the Government Dept by the end of next month, and we should be in a position to announce the winner and place an order by September"

Remember that every other Government and large organisation on the planet was hoovering up as much PPE as possible at the time.

So, In the circumstances, I dont think there is an issue with the concept of placing a non tendered contract, but that doesn't mean that at least a modicum of due diligence should have been carried out first

The issue that I would have is WHO the contracts were given to, not the concept itself
 
Without commenting on the specifics of this one case, as I am sure there are plenty more, in general given the situation that we were in can you imagine what would have been said had the government said "ok we need huge quantities of PPE immediately, however before buy them, we need to put it out to competitive tender first. We want at least 5 different quotes, which will then be subjected to checking and verifying. Quotes need to be with the Government Dept by the end of next month, and we should be in a position to announce the winner and place an order by September"

Remember that every other Government and large organisation on the planet was hoovering up as much PPE as possible at the time.

So, In the circumstances, I dont think there is an issue with the concept of placing a non tendered contract, but that doesn't mean that at least a modicum of due diligence should have been carried out first

The issue that I would have is WHO the contracts were given to, not the concept itself

There were experienced companies offering their services that were ignored. This is why the Good Law project is taking the government to court.
 


Randy McNob

Members
Jun 13, 2020
3,839
Quite funny how some people on this thread not only enjoy being lied to by the government but also enjoy being ripped off by them

My 45 quid I refused to pay for PPV has been passed to The Good Law project

There are individuals that need to give us answers

Yes - also compare and contrast: billions of taxpayer cash wasted by incompetence, cronyism and corruption seems to be excused or brushed under the carpet, yet full condemnation for Lewis Hamilton for merely maximising his tax efficiency

#controlledbythemedia
 

nickbrighton

Members
Feb 19, 2016
1,613
There were experienced companies offering their services that were ignored. This is why the Good Law project is taking the government to court.

I certainly am not saying it was done right, but the question was views on government giving out non tendered contracts, and I think most would agree that was reasonable. There is a whole warehouse of worms to be opened in how those PPE contracts and Pandemic in general was handled, some of which will be good, some bad, incompetent and probably in a few cases criminal!
 

Fitzcarraldo

Members
Nov 12, 2010
952
Seems strange that some believe that it is beyond the competence of government to set up an open tendering process quickly. Tendering contracts isn't exactly a new concept to government.

To me all this willing profligacy particularly sticks in the craw when held alongside other government decisions on spending, i.e free school meals and pay rises for nurses etc.
 
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