Back in April, the Government appointed ex Goldman Sachs banker Lord Deighton as "PPE Tsar".…
Earlier this month, Government stated that on 20 April it had awarded a £300,000 contract, without any tendering process, to "Chanzo" (…).
In fact the contract was not awarded until 25 August (although sent under cover of a letter dated 20 August - figure that one out!) but related to services delivered from April (…).
The services to be delivered (for £300,000) were (1) a 'Chief of Staff' (a glorified Executive Assistant) for six months; (2) helping recruit 2 full time temporary HR roles for six months; and one for three months; and (3) HR advice pending appointment of those roles.
You might think roles (2) and (3) are jobs a Chief of Staff could do. And you might wonder whether £300k was value for money for a six month Chief of Staff role. Even if it meant someone else recruiting 2-3 temporary staff. Especially if the contract was awarded without tender.
If you did have those concerns they would hardly be alleviated by the knowledge that Chanzo's website carried a glowing recommendation from, yep, Lord Deighton.

Why, you might even conclude they were channelling generous public contracts to pals!

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More from @JolyonMaugham

18 Oct
The mytery of the ever shrinking testing targets...

Here's the Sunday Times carrying some Boris-boosterism about a million tests a day by Christmas (…). Image
The source it gives for that "million tests a day" a day claim isn't Boris. It's an unnamed scientist "involved in the testing programme" (likely, working for the company that is receiving vast sums for that testing. More to follow on this)…. Image
And the "million tests a day by Christmas" claim (from a likely rather self-interested source) is itself a massive downgrading of what the Cabinet was being told in leaked "Moonshot" briefing papers: that there would be 3 million tests a day by December. Image
Read 4 tweets
16 Oct
You may remember Crisp Websites Limited, trading as Pestfix, the company with last reported net assets of £18,047. THREAD
And you may remember that, notwithstanding that Pestfix had substantially no net assets, Government agreed to pay 75% upfront for £32m of isolation suits.
And you may remember this thread in which I explain why I believe those isolation suits are unusable . And even Government admitted as of 1 July 2020 the isolation suits had not been tested.
Read 15 tweets
14 Oct
Yesterday I set out how relationships with political figures in Government could be leveraged by suppliers to achieve supernormal profits.
At the moment I am still focusing on apparent overpayments for IIR facemasks.

This exercise is difficult because Government is - for no good reason - deliberately redacting contracts to remove all transparency over historical per unit prices paid. But sometimes it slips up.
The highest price I have yet seen paid for IIR facemasks was paid in a £69.6m contract with "Uniserve Group."

(The name of the counterparty itself is remarkable given the size of the contract - there is no legal entity called Uniserve Group. Legally, it doesn't exist.)
Read 11 tweets
13 Oct
Yesterday I showed how, on Govt's own figures, it overpaid a politically connected PPE supplier by £36m+ for IIR facemasks.

In fact, if you look at the contract as a whole, which included FFP2 facemasks, the overpayment was much higher. I'll come back to that in a moment.
But, first, bear in mind that although contracts were awarded by DHSC the key triaging of bids and supplier due diligence was undertaken by Cabinet Office.

That casts a certain pall on explanations like this - provided by Ayanda to journalists - about the role of Andrew Mills.
I will return in the coming days to some correlations between highly generous pricing and relationships between the beneficiaries of that pricing and key figures in Cabinet Office.
Read 12 tweets
12 Oct
I am hugely grateful to everyone who has contributed to our crowdfunder in which - along with @LaylaMoran, @CarolineLucas and @Debbie_abrahams - we are seeking to force Government to come clean about the (more than) £3bn of PPE contracts they are keeping under wraps. /1
We have lifted the stretch target to £75k. This very substantial sum is also considerably less than our exposure to costs should we fight and lose. But it is also considerably more than it will cost us if we succeed (and we believe we should). /2
I am afraid - although I have been crowdfunding for over four years - I have not yet found any comfortable way to balance this equation. Even where you can be confident any surplus will be used for good reasons it is sub-optimal for us to raise more than we need. /3
Read 6 tweets
12 Oct
Last night, I said that I was aware of evidence DHSC had been paying higher prices for PPE to connected suppliers. And that I was working to put that evidence into the public domain. We are in possession of a lot of evidence that suggests as much, but I can share the following.
The Ayanda contract was entered into on 29 April 2020 (you can read it here…). It was entered into by Ayanda Capital Limited, owned through a particularly ugly tax haven, by the Horlick family.
However, the original offer came from Prospermill Limited, a boxfresh £100 company that had never traded and which was owned by then Board of Trade advisor (now departed), Breitbart, Liz Truss and Hard Brexit enthusiast, Andrew Mills.
Read 11 tweets

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