The UK government is being sued for awarding a pest-control company with 16 employees a $135 million PPE contract
- The UK government is being sued over a decision to give a local pest-control firm a £108 million ($135 million) contract to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus outbreak.
- On Monday, the nonprofit Good Law Project issued proceedings to launch a judicial review.
- The group said the government only considered one company, Pestfix, for the contract and is yet to disclose the details.
- “It’s hard to imagine a good reason why this contract would be given to this company selection. And failures in PPE provision make it vital we understand where procurement is going wrong,” the project said.
- Pestfix defended its work to the Financial Times, calling itself “a success story” and saying it has nearly fulfilled its contract.
- The UK Department of Health and Social Care told Business Insider it is unable to comment on ongoing legal proceedings.
The UK government is being sued for awarding a company with just 16 employees a £108 million ($135 million contract) to supply it with personal protective equipment (PPE) at the height of its coronavirus outbreak.
Pestfix was the only bidder competing for the contract in early April, according to the Good Law Project nonprofit, which on Monday issued proceedings for judicial review at the High Court.
The size of the contract, apparent lack of advertising, and the fact that there was only one bidder competing for it, led the Good Law Project to submit a series of questions to the government for answer.
The UK has signed around 100 PPE contracts with various private-sector companies, according to the group. Those contracts were worth around $438 million in total. The Pestfix contract made up almost a third of this.
The Good Law Project say it had spoken with a “big market participant” which told them that “no one in the market knew that the contract was up for grabs.”
It also said the purchase order for the “enormous sum of money” was issued on April 10, “three days before the contract was concluded.”
The Good Law Project said the government is yet to publish a notice announcing the awarding of the contract, which should have been done within 30 days of signing it, as required by law.
“It’s hard to imagine a good reason why this contract would be given to this company selection. And failures in PPE provision make it vital we understand where procurement is going wrong,” the Good Law Project said.
Pestfix, meanwhile, has defended its contract with the government.
It told the Financial Times on Monday: “We are a success story. We have not been sitting around on social media casting around for equipment; we had a thriving supply chain with China before the contract. We have nearly fulfilled our NHS contract and supplied over 67 million pieces of equipment.”
A spokesman for the UK Department of Health and Social Care told Business Insider: “We are unable to comment on ongoing legal proceedings against the Department.”
The Cabinet Office did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.