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During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government and other public sector bodies have outsourced many parts of their response to the private sector. Contracts range from supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), laboratory testing, Test & trace services, to education spending and consultancy. Concerns have been raised about the performance of these outsourced services, and about lack of transparency of some procurement processes.

Attached is briefing the Library produced for a previous debate on Government contracts during the Covid-19 outbreak, debated on 21 June 2021.

This debate pack gives a brief overview of the rules guiding public procurement and the exemptions available during the pandemic. It refers to the subsequent reviews of government procurement policies and looks in more detail at the procurement of PPE and outsourcing in the testing and tracing programme in England.

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