Exclusive! MOD’s Alix Partners contract to cease ahead of schedule

Well, not soon enough unfortunately, but at least they have brought it to a close a few months before the scheduled end date, which was 30th April 2012.

To recap; we've been chasing MOD for months on their engagement of Alix Partners without proper competition and at great expense, ironically to help them re-negotiate other contracts!

We finally received a formal response a couple of weeks ago from MOD to our previous letters - they still claim that the opaque process they used to engage Alix Partners was justified by the "urgency" of the requirement, which we would dispute. We still believe they clearly broke EU procurement regulations by entering into a £12 million contract without proper competition.

And they said in the letter that "discussions with Whitehall colleagues concluded that few consultancies were considered to have the right capacity and the necessary turnaround and recovery experience". Deloittes, Ernst and Young and Alix were then interviewed.

We suspect KPMG, PWC, Accenture, McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group and others might have something to say about the above statement…

But anyway, moving on, we then received an email the other day from a Very Senior MOD Procurement Person (who we know, incidentally, wasn’t involved at all with letting this contract), saying this.

I can confirm that because the activities under the Alix contract have now successfully delivered, with the last piece of work just concluding, we have exercised the break clause in the contract and the contract will cease on 23rd December.

Take that how you will – “successfully delivered” suggests a natural end to the contract, but the fact remains it was due to run till April 2012.

So, perhaps a small and somewhat pyrrhic victory (given how much has already been spent) for the forces of value for money. It should never have happened in the first place though, and whoever was involved with both the process and, perhaps even more so, the agreement to pay rates of £5K a day should never be let anywhere near public money again.

Seriously - if John Collington, the Government CPO in Cabinet Office, wants a “licence to practice” to apply to public procurement people, can he start by taking it away from everyone involved with this project?

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