Integrity and transparency of government procurement during COVID

By Laurence Millar
Member with Delegated Authority

The Office of the Auditor General, in their 2021/22 annual plan, observe that “It is important that the Government is transparent about the Covid-19-related spending and what it has achieved with it” and “fraud and integrity risks increase when a significant amount of new money enters the system with expectations of fast delivery”.

With this in mind, TINZ analysed the government contract award notices published on the Government Electronic Tender System (GETS) between January 2020 and March 2022. Government procurement rules require government entities to publish information on contracts awarded including the name of the successful supplier and the value of the contract.  The rules apply equally to emergency procurements.

We found that only 59 contract award notices cover products and services for COVID-19 response or recovery (out of 4,576 notices).  Only 25% (15) of these contract award notices contain information on the value of the contracts.

Given the dominance of COVID-19 in government activity over the last two years, it is clear that procurement for covid response and recovery has been conducted almost entirely outside of public scrutiny.

You can read the details of our analysis here.

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