Damning report by the National Audit Office into the Government’s emergency COVID procurements

Read the full report here.


1) Contracts worth £18bn were awarded, £10.5bn of these with ZERO competition

2) Spending controls were not applied due to the seniority of staff working on contracts

3) Gov did not set out a process to mitigate risks such as bias or conflicts of interest

4) A “high-priority lane” was set up for firms recommended by officials, ministers, MPs & peers

5) 1 in 10 firms going through the priority lane got contracts vs 1 in 100 for the standard lane

6) Sources of referrals to high-priority lane were sometimes not even recorded

7) One high-priority lane supplier was even added in error

8) There was not always a clear audit trail to support key procurement decisions or inadequate documentation

Conclusion: “We cannot give assurance that the Gov has adequately mitigated the increased risks arising from emergency procurement or applied appropriate commercial practices in all cases”