UK: Leaked documents

12 November 2020 — Good Law Project

Leaked emails seen by Good Law Project reveal that the Government suppressed an official report showing that one million rapid antibody tests it purchased from Abingdon Health were not fit for purpose.

The purchase of these tests has been shrouded in mystery, but what we’ve uncovered from the leaked emails lays bare serious failings in Government procurement…

The Government supported the creation of the UK Rapid Test Consortium (UK-RTC) back in April. The idea was that the companies and institutions involved, including Abingdon Health, would create a rapid antibody test. On 2nd June, Government awarded a contract worth £10million to Abingdon Health for the materials needed to produce the test. On 14th August, they handed Abingdon another contract worth a staggering £75million.

But in choosing to spend these vast sums, Government seems to have ignored widely held concerns that these tests were not fit for purpose. The £75million contract was awarded without competition and on the basis of profoundly flawed research.

When confronted with evidence of the flaws, the Government blocked Public Health England from publishing the findings until after they could make the announcement that they had purchased one million antibody tests.

These are serious charges, so we have set out the publicly available evidence in this chronology, which we will update as more evidence is published.

To protect public money and to encourage Government towards honesty, we have issued judicial review proceedings in respect of the Abingdon Health contract awards. Our case rests on the following grounds:

  • Government’s apparent failure to conduct any lawful or sufficient inquiry or evaluation of the accuracy of the rapid antibody tests.
  • The award of these contracts seemingly without any advertisement or competition between bidders.

We have instructed Joseph Barrett of 11KBW Chambers and Rook Irwin Sweeney and will crowdfund the case. If you’re in a position to do so, you can donate here.

We cannot, and will not, stop in our efforts to hold this Government to account.

Thank you for your continued support,

Jolyon Maugham QC
Director of Good Law Project

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