Kate Bingham, the head of the Government's Vaccines Task Force, seems to be doing good job securing vaccine supplies for our country, and is laudably doing so without pay.

The issue is not with Kate (wife of Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman) as an individual, but with the Government and its processes for appointments and commissioning of services and supplies.   

There is a network of Tory-linked appointments and companies around testing, vaccine procurement and PPE purchasing, of which Dido Harding (head of track and trace and wife of John Penrose MP) is the best known example.

The Guardian has dubbed this the ‘rise of the Chumocracy’'. Making appointments without always going through normal processes allows suspicion to arise.

Awarding contracts without competitive tendering has resulted in the National Audit Office criticising cabinet office procedures in a number of cases. 

£21 million has been paid to a middle man to liaise with a jewellery designer for PPE.   

Vast sums of money are being spent on our behalf with private providers, often with little or no track record of working with the NHS, without adequate scrutiny.

This was understandable at the start of the crisis in February and March, but eight months on it is important that proper processes are in place to prevent waste and the appearance of cronyism.  

Anna Coda 

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