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Open Contracting Partnership and NGOs urge UK Government to uphold anti-corruption measures in COVID-19 response

16th April 2020, London – A coalition of leading anti-corruption NGOs are urging the UK Government to uphold vital anti-corruption protections in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 

In a statement published today, the UK Anti-Corruption Coalition urges the UK Government to take steps across four key areas in order to ensure a response that is effective, helps maintain public confidence and lays the foundations for an inclusive economic recovery. This includes transparency over all Covid-19 related procurement, measures to protect against conflicts of interest in emergency public spending, and upholding the channels of accountability and oversight during the crisis.

Public contracting and procurement are a key part of the emergency response to the Covid19 pandemic, which has created unprecedented demand for medical and personal protective equipment on the frontline as well as testing. Faced with the challenge of procuring quickly, we must ensure that is both effective and transparent. At this critical time, it is vitally important that the UK does not lose any information over its suppliers and procurements, which will help with coordinating planning and delivery.

The full statement can be viewed online here

Gavin Hayman, Executive Director of Open Contracting Partnership said , 

“Public procurement is in the spotlight given the unprecedented demand for protective and medical equipment to tackle the pandemic. It must not fail the brave people on the frontline so we are recommending that the government better coordinates, tracks and reports its purchases publicly. 

Sue Hawley, Co-Chair of the UK Anti-Corruption Coalition and Executive Director at Spotlight on Corruption, said:

“ Britain’s long-term recovery as a healthy and inclusive democracy depends on the government taking the right steps now to ensure corruption, secrecy and conflicts of interest do not undermine the fight against Coronavirus.  

Rachel Davies Teka, Co-Chair of the UK Anti-Corruption Coalition and Head of Advocacy at Transparency International UK, said:

“Extraordinary sacrifices are being asked of the British public. Maintaining  trust in government through transparency and openness will be central to the success of both the UK’s immediate response and future recovery.”

Ava Lee, Senior Campaigner at Global Witness said: 

“If we’re all in this together it is vital the government stays true to that promise, by making sure that criminals and the corrupt don’t benefit from other people’s misery. Anti-corruption measures must be at the heart of the government’s response so that we can emerge from this crisis united, and ready for the rebuild.”

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