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Covid-19: Government has spent billions on contracts with little transparency, watchdog says

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m4474 (Published 18 November 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4474

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  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

The government failed to provide transparency when hastily awarding billions of pounds worth of contracts during the covid-19 pandemic, the UK’s public spending watchdog has concluded.

The National Audit Office (NAO) said that the government had failed to provide adequate documentation showing how some key decisions were reached, including why particular suppliers were chosen or how potential conflicts of interest were handled.

Some contracts were awarded after work had already begun, many were not published in the timeframe they should have been, and some conflicts of interest were not disclosed, a report1 by the auditors found.

The investigation into government procurement during the pandemic found that the government awarded over 8600 contracts worth £18bn (€20bn; $24bn) by 31 …

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