To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the process for referral to the high-priority lane used to assess and process potential personal protective equipment procurement leads; who was involved in recommending potential suppliers for that process; and which Departments made referrals.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) financial, and (2) company, due diligence was carried out on Hotel Logistics Ltd before it was awarded its first contract for COVID-19 related personal protective equipment; and what rating and funding resulted from any such due diligence checks.
The Government issued a public call to action to support the increased requirements of personal protective equipment (PPE). This resulted in over 15,000 suppliers offering their help and support.
The cross-Government PPE team of officials considered that leads referred by Government officials, Ministerial private offices, Parliamentarians, senior National Health Service staff and other health professionals were likely to be the more credible and needed to be initially reviewed with more urgency. This was widely advertised across Government as a way of more quickly triaging offers of support. This was commonly referred to as a ‘priority’ or ‘VIP’ channel.
At the point of being prioritised these offers went into the same due diligence, technical assurance, closing or contract negotiation and contract award process as all the other offers. Approximately one in ten suppliers processed through this channel - 47 out of 493 - obtained contracts.
We do not intend to publish the list of these suppliers as there may be associated commercial implications. As stated, Hotel Logistics Ltd was assessed in exactly the same way in terms of the due diligence and contract negotiations process as all other suppliers before being awarded contracts for the supply of PPE.