Corruption rife in the UK?

The UK Department for Business & Trade defines corruption:
“Corruption is defined by Transparency International as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.”

The Crown Prosecution Service defines fraud here

I don’t remember this being an issue in the last century – if it was I don’t remember it making an appearance in the media. There was fraud and crime and it led to prosecutions.

Then came the government’s VIP Lane for  PPE

“The Judge agreed the VIP lane conferred preferential treatment on bids: it sped up the process, which meant offers were considered sooner in a process where timing was critical, and VIPs’ hands were held through the process. She said:“offers that were introduced through the Senior Referrers received earlier consideration at the outset of the process. The High Priority Lane Team was better resourced and able to respond to such offers on the same day that they arrived”. (§395)” source

‘VIP lane’ shows urgent need for procurement reform: This week’s data releases on Covid contracts make uncomfortable reading for several senior Conservative source

“The judgement ruled that the VIP lane conferred preferential treatment on bids and that the approach for allocating offers to the VIP lane was flawed. In April 2021, our Track and Trace report highlighted concerns over what we found to be ‘systemic bias’. Overall, the research found that one in five PPE contracts awarded from February to November 2020 raised one or more red flags for corruption.

We have urged the government to be transparent and accountable over decisions made during the pandemic, yet these answers have not been forthcoming. Questions still remain over fundamental elements of the VIP lane, such as who knew about it, when and why them and not others.”  Source

HS2 was never a good idea. “The relationship between those profiting from these big projects and those in power is such that no one truly costs or controls them.”  George Monbiot in The Guardian in September


And now in the Trade Press

“Britain’s beleaguered high-speed rail project HS2 has been accused of scandalous levels of fraud and mismanagement of funds amid soaring costs and government cut backs. The line, originally intended to connect much of the country, has been reduced to little more than a shuttle between west London and Birmingham. Now, newspaper The Sunday Times in the UK has published an extensive report, claiming that whistleblowers, worried by the situation, were quietly bought off and offered generous redundancy terms.” Source RailTech

And the Daily Mail 
HS2 bosses ‘covered-up ballooning costs of high-speed rail line by telling staff to lie in bid to keep billions flowing into the project’: Probe is launched into allegations.

Gan Integrity 
Rate UK as low over very low risk for corruption in all sectors except for Land administration and Public procurement source

Public procurement is rated as a Moderate risk

“There is a moderate risk of corruption in the UK’s public procurement sector. Companies report that bribes and irregular payments in the process of awarding public contracts and licenses are uncommon (GCR 2015-2016). Likewise, favoritism in the decisions of government officials is perceived to be fairly uncommon, while the diversion of public funds is very uncommon (GCR 2017-2018). Around one in five companies reported having experienced procurement fraud in 2016, which is down from one in four in 2014 (PwC 2016). Nearly a fifth of business respondents believe that corruption has prevented their company from winning a public tender in past years (European Commission, Feb. 2014). The total cost of procurement fraud in the UK is estimated at roughly GBP 7,3 billion per year as a share of central government procurement costs and roughly GBP 4,4 billion per year as a share of local government procurement costs, representing roughly five percent of the total procurement expenditure (AFI 2017).”

Source: https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2022/index/gbr

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