A timely reminder that procurement fraud is real

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has just published a Review into the risks of fraud and corruption local government procurement in England and Wales. And, frankly, the findings are not great.

Here's a particular tidbit about a bugbear of mine: "Efforts to combat fraud and corruption within procurement have often focused on the phase between invitation to tender and contract award, but an increased focus is needed on the phases before formal tendering begins and after contracts are let as well as on purchasing outside of the formal tendering process."

Pre-market engagement is inherently risky and prone to abuse so, as I predicted back in 2015 or so, the openness afforded by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 is actively being exploited for fraud and corrupt purposes.

As for "purchasing outside of the formal tendering process" the last few months of  COVID related procurement have shown how these enable corruption, cronyism and nepotism.