The government has received 123 official complaints over the tendering of public procurement contracts, commercial law firm EMW said this morning.
The research follows scrutiny of government procurement practices throughout the pandemic, with questions being raised over how PPE contracts have been awarded during Covid-19.
Principal at EMW James Geary said: “Covid PPE contracts have brought all the old problems with government procurement back to the fore again, following a real effort to improve things prior to the pandemic.”
“Winning a major public contract can be transformative for a business, so some will be considering legal action over contracts they feel they were unfairly denied a chance to bid for.”
The contracts complaints from businesses were recorded before 31 March, prior to the UK’s first national lockdown.
A report from the National Audit Office (NAO) found that 195m PPE items ordered by the government were unusable.
Geary added: “Complaints surrounding Government procurement are still common and will likely remain so if transparency around the awarding of contracts does not see far-reaching improvement.”
“The NAO report lays bare what appears to be some ineffective procurement practices during the pandemic, which may embolden more businesses to take complaints forward.”
According to the NAO report, £10.5b in Covid-related contracts were awarded without suitable competition.