Repeating Katrina's procurement mistakes.

I have been looking a bit into disaster procurement to get my head around as to why so much of the COVID-19 related procurement seems terrible. Had the chance to read Schwartz Katrina's lessons for ongoing US procurement reform efforts and was floored to see so many similarities between the (wrong) approach in 2005 in the aftermath of Katrina and today.

  • Direct awards without need for competition? Check.
  • Getting rid of checks and balances? Check.
  • No proper audit trail? Check.
  • Not using existing flexible procurement arrangements? Check.

All, of course, in name of an unexpected urgency.

I am less convinced however of his arguments that framework contracts would solve the competition and value for money conundrum since at least for PPE in the UK those framework or 'just in case' contracts were not honoured by the suppliers.

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