ON Friday of last week, the High Court found in favour of Jolyon Maugham QC and The Good Law Project in their case for a Judicial Review of HM Government’s procurement of vital supplies to support the fight against Covid during 2020.

Matt Hancock’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) was found guilty of non-publication within 30 days of various ‘cronyistic’ outsourcing contracts for PPE etc.

And while Mr Justice Chamberlain accepted that the circumstances of the pandemic were unprecedented, he pronounced that the government’s actions had added up to “historic failure” and dismissed the DHSC’s case as “an excuse, not a justification”.

All of which adds up to the successive accumulation of ‘un-vetted’, eye-wateringly high costs which ultimately are footed by all of us as UK taxpayers.

Yes, undoubtedly monies were spent to support fighting the pandemic, but this should not be at any cost and without adequate scrutiny from our MPs in Parliament or the National Audit Office, neither of which can act if kept in the dark by Westminster.

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Coincidentally, at around the same time last week, and from another direction entirely, mention of the importance of wise and responsible government procurement came from philanthropist Bill Gates in his newly published book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.

I have been listening to it in serial form on BBC Radio, and having drawn attention in recent letters to the County Gazette to the scandalous claims of misuse of government funds by companies like Chartwell’s - Free School Meals contracts - and Computacenter - school laptops - I pricked up my ears at what Gates had to say on the subject.

It was this; that via wise, transparent and responsible national procurement in the field of clean energy, carbon capture, research into battery technology etc, central governments the world over can, and must, play a hugely important and positive part in helping to save the planet from the worst excesses of climate change.

My feeling is that few of us would disagree with that statement, but unless government procurement is carried out in a legal and transparent way, we’re all stuck before we even start, so let’s all make sure we are aware of what’s going on behind the undoubtedly dramatic scenes of the pandemic and begin, right here and right now, to demand better of our own government at home and even others abroad.

With the UN’s COP 26 happening in Glasgow later this year as well as, we hope, a gradual return to post-pandemic normality, the UK needs to be in the vanguard of transparency on all fronts, not dragging its feet in muddy, cronyistic waters.