The consultancy gravy train shows no sign of stopping. The Department of Health awarded the multi-national professional services firm, Deloitte, a COVID-19 contract that could be worth almost £1 million a day without the contract ever going to tender.
The deal, worth up to £145 million, was handed to Deloitte to ‘support testing for Covid 19’ for just five months. Deloitte has been given at least 25 public sector COVID-19-contracts since the outbreak of the pandemic, of which contracts totalling £170 million were awarded without any competition.
Not only did Government fail to advertise or put this huge contract out to tender, they didn’t come clean about the enormous sum of public money handed to Deloitte until around the time the contract had ended. The contract started in September 2020 and was only made public by the Government in January 2021. It’s almost impossible to scrutinise contracts when Government routinely fails to publish the details within the legal timeframe.
We do not believe the award of this contract worth up to £145 million was lawful. We are left with no option but to pursue transparency through the courts. We have taken the first step in legal proceedings.
Government’s approach to procurement throughout this pandemic has been characterized by a repeated failure to follow its own rules. For the sake of the public purse, we will continue to push for proper governance.
Jolyon Maugham QC
Director of Good Law Project