Accounting firm PwC will audit the government's PPE procurement

  • PwC is to oversee an audit of the government's bungled procurement of PPE during the pandemic, learning lessons that could help in future disasters.

    The UK government has come under fire repeatedly throughout the pandemic for spending decisions that may have involved serious conflicts of interest. The National Audit Office raised concerns back in November over a lack of transparency and potential conflict of interest in the procurement process for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the NHS.

    Over £17bn of government contracts were given to private companies by November in relation to the coronavirus outbreak, but in many of those cases there was no transparency on how the contracts were awarded. Some of the companies have been found to have links to MPs, and many charged several times the price for items such as PPE.

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    Accounting firm PwC has now been given a £2.5m contract to oversee a full audit of the government’s PPE procurement during the pandemic. The company will create audit trails for £15bn of PPE inventory bought for the Department of Health and Social Care, and ensure "robust processes and controls are in place to allow real time accounting going forwards."

    PwC was also recently appointed to oversee a review of the UK Government's failed Test and Trace programme, and is also working with the British Business Bank to look at potential fraud in the recent Covid-19 business loans programmes.

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    The audit was commissioned based on the National Audit Office's November report that highlighted a lack of transparency in how the government handed out PPE contracts and political ties that many of the companies that won the contracts had. The report found that the goverment wasted over £10bn overpaying for the PPE, including one £150m contract for face masks that couldn't be used.

    Source: City A.M.

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