To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what role Ministers in his Department had in the approval of contracts under the emergency procurement processes during the covid-19 outbreak.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
12 August 2021
Ministers were advised by officials to make decisions in response to COVID-19, which included consideration of procurement and contracting options with suppliers. Under the Department’s standing Financial Control Framework Ministers delegate to the Department’s Accounting Officers to deliver their decisions and provide support in handling public funds. The Accounting Officer should ensure the Department operates to a high standard of probity and has safeguards in place to ensure value for money and appropriate risk management procedures. Under this Framework, assurance processes to assess offers from suppliers were put in place and undertaken by officials in relation to all individual contracts awarded in response to COVID-19 using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations, which allows for a direct contract award due to extreme urgency or the absence of competition.