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Privatisation during the pandemic

Out of sight of public scrutiny, dozens of private companies have been awarded contracts to carry out work for the NHS, much of which could have been carried out by the NHS. These contracts have covered the Nightingale Hospitals, testing centres, laboratories, PPE procurement and staff recruitment.

Using procurement guidance issued in January 2020, companies have been awarded contracts through a fast-track process that has lacked transparency with no publication of the contract and no competitive tender.  The details, including how much the contracts are worth have yet to be made public; there are new rules stating that the departments must publish the contract award notice within 30 days of its agreement, but almost none have done so, according to the Financial Times in early May

The companies awarded contracts include some of the largest accountancy and outsourcing firms in the country, including Deloitte, KPMG, Serco and Capita. There has been little or no scrutiny and it is questionable whether some of the companies would have been appointed at all under normal circumstances if a thorough investigation had been made of whether they are qualified for the job.

Full story in The Lowdown, 12 May 2020

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