MOD dodgy consultancy procurement – we haven’t given up!

I was horrified when a couple of regular readers told me the other day that they thought we’d bottled out of the MOD Alix Partner’s consultancy story – that we’d accepted it was all really OK and given up.

(For new readers – MOD have awarded a contract to Alix Partners without proper advertising or competition, with a value of £12M, and, we believe, a rate of £3-5,000 per consultant-day, plus bonus!)

We’ve been pursuing matters on two fronts, although I have to say without as much progress as I would have liked.  We got the contract through an FOI request as we reported here in our previous post, but the day rate was ‘redacted’ (i.e. crossed out). So we’re challenging that decision and arguing we should be provided with those numbers. Unfortunately our challenge went missing (!), so we’ve had to re-start the process on that.

We also asked the Shareholder Executive (part of the Business Department) to tell us more about their involvement. Compare the MOD view of what happened with the Shareholder Executive’s. MOD say:

“Three consultancies were approached by the Shareholder Executive and interviewed by them and the MOD”.

But according to the SE:

The Shareholder Executive did not take part in the formal procurement process in relation to the contract that was awarded to Alix Partners. The Shareholder Executive recommended that MOD consider Alix Partners as a potential contractor (together with the major accounting firms) and introduced these firms to MOD.

So the SE are backing off as fast as they can...  but obviously someone at SE knew someone at Alix, or had worked with them, and told MOD they were jolly good chaps. A quick interview...  and that’s how you win £12M of business at amazing margin. Frankly, it still stinks.

Anyway, we were genuinely surprised that this contract didn’t get pulled as soon as we reported on it, and of course it is continuing with these ridiculous day rates being paid. Basically, MOD awarded it in breach of EU regulations and is paying through the nose to a firm who didn’t have to compete properly to win it (or to determine a fair price). So I’ve written formally today to the Permanent Secretary at MOD, Ursula Brennan, to point this out, and asked her to terminate the contract. If she won’t, we’ll have to think about next steps.

I’ll let you know what she says...

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