November 19 2020 – The HCSA has completed a review of the National Audit Office report on government procurement during COVID-19.
While being concerned and disappointed by many of the findings in the report, the HCSA would like to concentrate on the NHS procurement professionals who made a vital contribution to the National effort.
Many HCSA members worked for or were seconded to the National initiative for which we thank them for their contribution as they exhibited the highest standards of professional and ethical procurement.
While it’s disappointing to see the kind of due diligence that is second nature to HCSA members being absent during parts of the National process as detailed in the report, we accept that the period of review was a highly pressurised and unique situation for everyone.
In addition, we are keen to reiterate that supplier behaviour was largely positive and supportive during the period of review – as recognised by the entire supplier community winning the President’s Award at the HCSA Awards – but acknowledge that some supplier behaviour, especially by those companies new to healthcare, was both opportunistic and, with hindsight, contrary to the taxpayer’s interests.
Our members continue to believe that best practice procurement delivered with professional resources and with appropriate project skills is always the optimum solution and the NAO report highlights the need to both invest and support this.
Above all else, the report presents an opportunity to learn lessons that we hope all parties involved will seize.