Huge money, weird counterparties, duff product - and no transparency

by Good Law Project

Huge money, weird counterparties, duff product - and no transparency

by Good Law Project
Good Law Project
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We bring cases to protect the public interest in transparency and good governance.
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Good Law Project
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We bring cases to protect the public interest in transparency and good governance.
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These are worrying times. 

We know from Treasury documents that Government has approved a staggering and unprecedented £15 billion for PPE procurement to protect frontline staff. But what we see is implausible counterparties, staggering sums of money, political connections, vast waste on duff product - and most of all a lack of transparency.

The law is clear, mandatory and unconditional: regulation 50 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 gives Government 30 days to publish details of contracts. But Government is routinely ignoring the law. 

According to data produced by Tussell, a data provider, so far only £2.68 billion of PPE spending has been made public. And, even where it has been made public, it has been made public unlawfully late, as can be seen from the chart below, also prepared for Good Law Project by Tussell.

The vast sums of procurement spending without any transparent tender process creates a special need for transparency - and yet we suspect that Government is deliberately holding back details of the most politically sensitive spending. For example, none of the eleven PPE contracts entered into with pest-control specialists Crisp Websites Limited have yet been published despite Government saying on 17 June that "full details will be published in the coming weeks."

A cross-party group of MPs - Caroline Lucas (Green), Debbie Abrahams (Labour) and Layla Moran (LibDem) - alongside Good Law Project have launched legal action against Government for its persistent and unlawful failure to disclose details of COVID-related contracts. 

It is in the nature of opaque contracting that it is difficult to give examples. However, the pre-action protocol letter - which you can read here - does identify a number. And we are working with a leading international news agency to bring you, we hope, an explosive further example.

The legal team

The Claimants have instructed Deighton Pierce Glynn, Jason Coppel QC and Christopher Knight to try and secure transparency in the public interest. They will work at considerably below market rates.

What are we crowdfunding for?

We need your help to cover the costs of running the litigation.

10% of the funds raised will be a contribution to the general running costs of Good Law Project. We will use any surplus to develop other litigation to protect the most disadvantaged.

Good Law Project’s founder, Jo Maugham QC, continues to work unpaid.

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