During the fight to combat the Covid 19 pandemic in the UK, because of its unprecedented severity and sudden onslaught, a number of instances came into the public domain on how many billions of pounds were being wasted–in, say, paying for PPE equipment that did not work (e.g ¬£252 million for useless face-masks), in setting up Check & Trace systems, achieving minimal success but costing over ¬£11 billion, in awarding Covid 19 contracts worth almost ¬£1 billion to companies without requiring them to tender.
Though the UK government needed to act quickly, far too many procurement decisions have been made without there being any effective mechanism to ensure purchased goods and services were fit for purpose or demonstrated value for money. as a result, many billions of pounds have been wasted, to the extensive detriment of the future UK economy.
As a result, a new Ministry of Waste Prevention needs to be set up, with a UK Government-wide remit that ensures all departments follow simple waste prevention and saving procedures. For example, establishing a single NHS expert procurement body that obtains much better buying terms on a nationwide basis.
Such a body would prevent brand new MOD Atlantic searching planes being destroyed unused and USA
replacements being needed. The new Ministry would have early access to all invitations to bid. As the above examples indicate, it is essential that such a Ministry should not be subsumed into any existing ministry, such as The Treasury MOD or Health etc.
It would be vital that this new ministry should not become a bureaucratic extra layer of government, but one that provides expert assistance on, say, quality assurance systems, procurement expertise and training in budgetary practice, as well as ‘red-light’ warnings and the ability to temporarily hold up a wasteful practice pending investigation.