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Protective Clothing: Coronavirus

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 118115, tabled on 19 November 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the National Audit Office investigation into contracts for providing personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak, which companies were awarded contracts after being introduced to a high-priority lane by (a) Ministers, (b hon. Members or Peers and (c) officials, including the private office of the Permanent Secretary of his Department.

Answered on

8 December 2020

The Government issued a public call to action to support the increased requirements of personal protective equipment (PPE). This resulted in over 15,000 suppliers offering their help and support.

The cross-Government PPE team considered that leads referred by Government officials, Ministerial private offices, Parliamentarians, senior National Health Service staff and other health professionals were possibly more credible and needed to be initially reviewed with more urgency. This was commonly referred to as a ‘priority’ or ‘VIP’ channel.

At the point of being prioritised these offers went into exactly the same due diligence, technical assurance, closing or contract negotiation and contract award process as all the other offers. About one in ten suppliers processed through this channel - 47 out of 493 - obtained contracts. We do not intend to publish the list of these suppliers as there may be associated commercial implications.