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Expensive failures could cost lives

What links a network of rapidly-converted field hospitals, a family run food and beverages company in Antrim, a network of “super-labs”, and Serco?

The final name has probably given it away: each of these is linked to a seemingly endless series of high-cost government or NHS blunders in awarding contracts related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Market intelligence firm Tussell explains in a July Factsheet the way in which the Covid emergency has loosened the purse strings of the Department of Health and Social Care, and the ditching of even the requirement to tender – with details emerging only after the contracts have been signed off behind closed doors:

“While public procurement is usually guided by competition regulations, in emergency situations such as this the public sector are able to directly award contracts relevant to their response to the crisis.”

Full story in The Lowdown, 7 July 2020

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