No! Your 6 hour Procurement when everyone is asleep isn’t compliant

Why “Tory corruption” is a significant issue that affords Labour and Trade Union partners their own corruption, under a guise of incompetence

Ethar Alali
4 min readNov 30, 2020


The current conservative government is much the same as the last one and the one before, only with a different figurehead. After a gift from Jeremy Corbyn, which saw Corbyn serve what power he had, on a plate to Boris Johnson, things haven’t turned out too well for him and worse, the country as a whole.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, corruption is running rampant at the moment. Organisations awarded tens to hundreds of millions of pounds to deliver non-conformant equipment to a public health service crying out for support, that has lost nearly 1,000 staff members since the pandemic began. Some such contract awards only becoming public through independent court cases running in the USA.

Much of this is due to the way procurement is run in the UK. Procurement officers around the country are keen to use the pandemic as a prime example of what not to do. While they do have a point, what they fail to realise is their own methods are as bad, for a plethora of different reasons which are too long to get into. Suffice to say disprortionality, incompetence, and non-fitness for purpose are characteristic of the UK procurement sector. Which has seen new methods attempting to cure it, being worse than the symptoms they’re attempting to cure. For reasons of procurement obliviousness, caused by methods itself defined by procurement.

As someone who makes a living dealing with different forms of risk, the first thing that strikes you about procurement, is it isn’t about risk, when it absolutely should be. PPE and ventilator shortages appearing in the early stages in the pandemic, is evidence enough of the case. Procurement will always claim an unprecedented situation and there is some sympathy for that view. However, the inability of the industry to adapt to understand the balance of risks at the time, is testament to how badly procurement has evolved to fail to address mission-critical cases.

It’s pretty simple.

  • If there isn’t a stochastic equation in your system, it is not dealing with risk.
  • If your system doesn’t evaluate proper evidence, not hearsay, it’s not dealing with risk.
  • If your system has the potential to be exploited to pass-off the experiences of one, as the experiences of another, it is not dealing with risk.
  • If your system can be abused by suppliers, simply to shut out competitors, with no intent to service the contract, it is not dealing with risk.

Then, there’s the illegality of some procurement exercises. Incompetence or corruption is so bad, the reminiscence of one’s opposition, raises a hypocritical stink that demonstrates no heros exist in politics.

Take this tender notice from the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service. A tender illegal on so many fronts, it exploits EU money to service an expression of interest that lasted only 6 hours, when the requirement is 35 days, or 15 days where a Prior Information Notice is published. Which it was not.

A recent tender from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service

Andy Burnham’s watch. GMFRS published a tender, without any notice, where private and third sector enterprises could only express interest in the opportunity between 12:30am (middle of the night) and 6:30 am that same morning. An illegal procurement on several grounds:

  1. The notice must last at least 15 days for a tender with a prior information notice (PIN) and 30 to 35 days for one without. Theirs lasted 6 hours and there was no PIN.
  2. For this type of contract, the 15 days must allow for a fair and open procurement (it is not an emergency procurement;, doesn’t fall under a threshold for “quotes only”)
  3. The EU rules for ESF projects require open competitive tenders to be conducted. The fact it opened and closed before “normal working hours” has been discarded as open and competitive by the European Courts of Justice and the UK Technical Court on multiple occasions. Confirming the position raised in point 1.

Generally, this happens because they have either appointed someone already and are retrospectively attempting to cover tushies, or it’s chronic incompetence. Neither hold water in court.

The idea that it is only Tories that are corrupt, is farcical. Any organisation can be corrupt or incompetent, or both. As a unionised organisation (FBU) GMFRS sits very much in Labour’s court and associate with the TUC. Unite of course, are worse than Tories on a number of fronts, by advocating for the decimation of their own membership and acting both innocent and oblivious to situations as they arise.

It is clear that corruption isn’t a preserve of one group. The question is what hypnosis prevents our society from seeing it?

The answer, I’d wager, is incompetence. Social incompetence. Corruption and malice should be seen like a wild animal. A rabid dog that has bitten 4 people already. You have children in the vicinity and as the guardian of those little people. We know it bites. We know it has rabies. If the dog harms the children and you took no action to stop it, that’s your fault! You are culpable.

It’s that last sentence that rendered hypocritical, Labour’s exclamation they were for the many, not the few. And still the same forces within their own party that led to Labour’s defeat, exalt that they made a mistake ignoring the few. The last election showed there is only one place that goes.



Ethar Alali

EA, Stats, Math & Code into a fizz of a biz or two. Founder: Automedi & Axelisys. Proud Manc. Citizen of the World. I’ve been busy