Written evidence submitted by UK Anti-Corruption Coalition




The UK Anti-Corruption Coalition (UKACC) brings together the UK’s leading anti-corruption organisations. 


Transparency International UK (TI-UK) is a member of UKACC. Our coalition welcomes this inquiry and, with this submission, we'd like to lay out in brief some key observations and recommendations for your consideration.




  1.                 The UK’s procurement response to the COVID-19 pandemic was beset by opaque, uncompetitive, and biased contracting. 1
  1.                 Scrutiny of emergency procurement processes was made unnecessarily difficult due to widespread late filing. Contracts awarded to those with political ties to the Westminster party of government were more likely to be published late than those without this link.2
  1.                 Serious questions remain as to why those with political contacts – but seemingly no relevant experience – were awarded contracts. Substantial public funds were wasted on goods that were of such poor quality as to be unusable. 
  2.                 Government has repeatedly resisted calls to explain the so-called ‘VIP lane’, contributing to the overwhelming impression that there is something to hide.3   

We second TI-UK in recommending that the government future-proof procurement processes and prevent fraud and corruption by: 

  1.                 Defining the conditions and processes for introduction of emergency procurement procedures so potential future use is predictable, transparent and subject to robust parliamentary oversight.


  1.                 Improving transparency over the use of public money by increasing publicly available data on contracts and notifying Parliament of breaches of transparency obligations. Making a statement to Parliament on breaches of transparency obligations during the pandemic, and steps being taken to rectify and prevent these in the future. Auditing 73 suspicious contracts by relevant authorities.  


  1.                 Improving enforcement of existing rules and clarifying in law those activities that merit criminal sanction. Legislating for the Ministerial Code of Conduct to be overseen and enforced by an office independent of government, with sufficient powers and resources. Introducing a new statutory offence of corruption in public office for egregious misconduct that requires a more serious deterrent.  


May 2023