The government has wasted hundreds of millions of pounds on PPE which is of poor quality and cannot be used for the intended purpose, according to a parliamentary report.
The Public Accounts Committee report Covid-19: Government procurement and supply of Personal Protective Equipment, states that the government’s response to the need to very quickly procure PPE and other goods and services opened up “significant procurement risks”.
The government made extensive use of emergency procurement regulations to procure more than £10 billion of goods and services without competition.
Among the recommendations, the report said the health department should write to the committee by July 2021 setting out how much of the PPE it ordered it has received and checked, and the volumes and costs of the PPE that (a) cannot be used at all, (b) cannot be used for its intended purpose, and (c) its methodology for determining the volumes and costs of PPE which it considers to be in each of these categories.
It also recommended that the government should update the committee on the number of contracts (and their financial value) for which it is seeking to recover costs for undelivered or substandard PPE.
Councillor Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, welcomed the report into the supply of PPE. He said: "Many struggled to access the PPE they needed at times at the beginning of the pandemic."
He added: "It is good that we now have a central stockpile and dedicated supply, alongside a government commitment to fund coronavirus-related PPE to the end of June 2021."