We need to talk about isolation suits - also known as "coveralls". THREAD
Experimental data shows that during the pandemic we have used 533,000 coveralls using the emergency procurement procedure that bypasses all normal governance controls. But how many have we purchased? gov.uk/government/pub…
Well, it's rather difficult to tell. If you add together the eleven biggest contracts for coveralls - and I'll return to these below - you can see we've spent a total of £708m on them. But Government has done a very careful job of redacting the per unit price.
But not quite careful enough.

This contract (contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/Attachm…), with Initia Ventures Limited, shows Government paid £16.28 or £24.28, depending on the type.
And we know from correspondence with Government with our old friends Pestfix (goodlawproject.org/wp-content/upl…) that it paid them £16.22 per unit.
But let's be generous to Government and take the highest of those three prices, £24.28. At that unit price, £708m buys you just over 29m coveralls.

Which is quite a lot more than the 533,000 we've used.
Putting it another way, we only needed to spend less than £13m rather than the £708m we have spent.

And if that's not odd, look at who we've spent that £708m with...
The biggest contract has gone to Plymouth Bretheren linked office interior design specialist Unispace. contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/92a59e2…
The second biggest has gone to P14 Medical, a small loss making firm run by a Tory councillor in Stroud. contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/4b73ab6…
The third biggest went to a Hong Kong company called Cargo Services Far East Limited about which we can know very little. contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/bc2e848…
The fourth biggest went to Medicine Box Limited (…te.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/094577…), a micro entity with £48,840 in next assets contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/97066bb…
The fifth biggest (for a mere £32,560,000) went to Initia Ventures Limited, a dormant company with net assets of £100. contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/Attachm…
The sixth biggest went to our old friends Crisp Websites Limited, trading as Pestfix, with net assets of £18k but which has received at least a third of a billion in PPE contracts. contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/ed3fb91…
The seventh biggest went to SG Recruitment UK Limited, a small healthcare recruitment firm which received a "going concern" warning from its auditors and is owned through the tax haven of Jersey. contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/4728805…
The eighth - and indeed the ninth because there are two contracts both for £20.25m - (contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/d239171… and contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/85ef995…) went to something called "Tower Supplies" which isn't a legal entity at all but some reports suggest links to, yes, Plymouth Bretheren.
The tenth biggest contract went to Kau Media Group Limited, a digital market agency that files "Filleted accounts"
And the eleventh biggest went to Initia Ventures Limited, the dormant company I mentioned earlier in the chain contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/84cc859….

Oh and if you didn't feel trolled enough already, the second contract (for £16.28m) is exactly half the size of the first (for £32.56m).
And, of course, no one is using these things.

And even Government admits - of the ones they brought from Pestfix (which I am pretty sure are unusable ) - that they are sitting untested in a warehouse.
Why would we spend £708m on these things, which no one uses and at least some (or most or even all) of which are sitting untested in a warehouse, with this weird ragtag of counterparties?

It's not hard to think of ugly theories - but I do struggle to identify attractive ones...

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More from @JolyonMaugham

22 Oct
Short thread about @GoodLawProject and Uber. THREAD
Way back in April 2017, we announced we were going to take on HMRC's failure to assess Uber to VAT "tens or hundreds of millions of pounds every year" which corroded public trust in HMRC and the establishment generally. crowdjustice.com/case/uber/
It's been quite a scrap.

There have been lows - like us spending all the money we raised in the crowdfunder trying to get a protective costs order - and failing. bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/…
Read 9 tweets
22 Oct
One of the contracts that Government finally published last week was this £168.5m contract with tiny pest control specialist Pestfix for three different types of facemasks. atamis-1928.cloudforce.com/sfc/p/#0O00000…
Now, you may have wondered whether it was wise to spend a third of a billion with such a company (with five contracts illegally remaining unpublished). And you may not find justifications like this ('the director's wife is a vet and has family in China') especially compelling.
I mean, if you put facemasks into the NHS or care homes and they were faulty, people could die, right?

So you would have been dismayed to see that in August Pestfix admitted supplying duff FFP3 facemasks, one of the types supplied to the NHS under the £168.5m contract.
Read 7 tweets
21 Oct
I notice Ayanda's website accuses me of "fabricating" claims that the FFP2 masks did not meet the required technical standards.
Here is what the Government’s own lawyers - does Ayanda accuse them of "fabricating" evidence too - say about the facemasks Ayanda supplied.
Ayanda's website links to a test report on mask samples. But that report is totally meaningless. Ayanda's own contract with Government says (and you may wonder why) that what Ayanda delivers to Governmeny does not have to match those samples (contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/Attachm…).
Read 4 tweets
20 Oct
Small quibbles aside (of which there are a number), I rather agree with this open letter. A study of 'cause lawyering' in the United States points to the dangers of elevating the power of judges above those of politicians. thetimes.co.uk/article/the-la…
Quibble 1. No one in the UK is (presently) asserting that the rule of law triumphs over Parliamentary Sovereignty. There are contexts in which we might have that discussion but the Internal Market Bill is not amongst them.
Quibble 2. That our constitution (usually) ranks Parliamentary Sovereignty above the rule of law does not mean the Internal Market Bill is a good idea. It just means that (generally) it's better for those with a democratic mandate to make choices rather than those without one.
Read 6 tweets
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 (thetimes.co.uk/article/pm-put…).
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) thetimes.co.uk/article/scient….
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.
Read 4 tweets
17 Oct
Back in April, the Government appointed ex Goldman Sachs banker Lord Deighton as "PPE Tsar". gov.uk/government/new…
Earlier this month, Government stated that on 20 April it had awarded a £300,000 contract, without any tendering process, to "Chanzo" (ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NO…).
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 (atamis-1928.cloudforce.com/sfc/p/#0O00000…).
Read 6 tweets

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