Protect Net Zero from shoddy procurement practices

by Good Law Project

Protect Net Zero from shoddy procurement practices

by Good Law Project
Good Law Project
Case Owner
Good Law Project's mission is to achieve change through the law. We uphold democracy, protect the environment, and ensure no one is left behind.
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We won’t let the drive for Net Zero, one of the most important challenges facing the UK today, become another example of secretive closed-door procurement practices. 

That’s why we’ve launched new judicial review proceedings against the East of England Broadband Network (E2BN) for their decision to, we believe, unlawfully award a £70 billion ‘Everything Net Zero’ Framework Agreement to the Place Group, a company with scant emissions reduction expertise. 

Based on what we know so far, this agreement offers the Place Group a way of controlling how the entire public sector, from the NHS to local government offices, will award contracts even loosely connected to ‘climate’ issues, without having to comply with the usual public procurement rules.

This is a lot of power and responsibility for a tiny firm with just two members of staff that’s so small Companies House lists it as a ‘micro-company’. £70 billion is equivalent to almost the entire annual Department for Education budget.

Their decision raises far more questions than a well-run framework agreement process should.

Why was E2BN, a ‘regional broadband consortium’, allowed to write such a poor example of a framework agreement and to make a decision that could have such a far-reaching impact on the UK’s climate response? What is the extent of the pre-existing relationship between E2BN and the Place Group?

On the face of it, E2BN’s decisions and conduct in respect of the Everything Net Zero Framework appears to be in breach of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. They seem to have created a mechanism through which billions in public contracts can be awarded by the Place Group to unspecified suppliers without open, transparent and fair competition.

E2BN have so far refused to properly engage with our questions. As a result, we have now begun legal proceedings. But perhaps there is a reasonable explanation, which is why we’ve asked the Court to give E2BN more time to provide us with proper answers.

If you are able to, please consider donating to our fight for transparency. The climate crisis is too important to be left to shoddy procurement. 


We are publishing our Statement of Facts and Grounds in full here

Details: Good Law Project has instructed Good Law Practice and Joseph Barrett of 11KBW in this case.

Ten percent of the sums raised will go to Good Law Project so that we can continue to use the law for a better world. It is our policy to only raise sums that we reasonably anticipate could be spent on this litigation. If for some reason we don’t spend all the money raised on this case, for instance if E2BN backs down or we win, the donations will go towards supporting other litigation we bring. 

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