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United Kingdom-London: Garments for biological or chemical protection
Contract award notice
Results of the procurement procedure
Section I: Contracting authority
Section II: Object
Supply of Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Workers for the Care of Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19)
The Department of Health and Social Care (the ‘Authority’) has awarded a contract to Crisp Websites Ltd for the supply of personal protective equipment (isolation suits) to protect health and care workers for contracting the Covid-19 disease.
Section IV: Procedure
1) The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is a serious infectious respiratory disease and its consequences pose a risk to life. The Covid-19 outbreak is a public health emergency of international concerns as declared by the World Health Organisation on 30 January 2020. The WHO Director General characterised Covid-19 as a pandemic on 11 March 2020, by this stage Europe was the centre of the pandemic.
2) The use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is critical, in safeguarding the health and lives of the care professionals treating patients with Covid-19. Delays in procuring the PPE, in this case, isolation suits, pose a risk to life of those on the front line and the likelihood of significantly increased death toll.
3) In March the NHS experienced severe shortages of PPE, modelling based on the trajectory of other European countries forecast the need for significant and extremely rapid increase in the UK PPE capacity. Similar shortfalls in PPE stocks were identified globally. There was immense demand for PPE, requiring the UK government to actively seek and create new supply chains rapidly to meet that demand. Additionally, there were many buyers competing for the same supplies. It is imperative that security of supply is maintained to save lives. Demand for equipment was high with little or no incentive for suppliers to participate in competitive procurement procedures. In these circumstances, a procurement following the usual timescales under the PCR 2015, including accelerated options, was impossible. PPE manufacturers and supply chains were under immediate and unprecedented global pressure to provide products. A delay in engaging with the market by running a usual procurement process was bound to fail as the usual timescales for negotiations during this period was a matter of hours. Failure to acquire the necessary stock of PPE equipment and presented a significant risk to life.
4) The Department for Health and Social Care (‘DHSC’) is satisfied the tests permitting use of the negotiated procedure without prior publication (Regulation 32(2)(c)) were met:
A. As far as is strictly necessary:
PPE in mass volumes was identified as strictly necessary to meet anticipated demand on the NHS during the first wave of cases in the UK.
B. There are genuine reasons for extreme urgency:
DHSC are responding to Covid-19 immediately because of public health risks presenting a genuine emergency.
C. The events that have led to the need for extreme urgency were unforeseeable:
As the Commission itself confirmed: ‘the current coronavirus crisis presents an extreme and unforeseeable urgency – precisely for such a situation our European rules enable public buyers to buy within a matter of days, even hours, if necessary.‘ (Commissioner Breton, Internal Market, 1 April 2020).
D. It was impossible to comply with the usual timescales in the PCR:
Due to the urgency of the situation there was no time to run an accelerated procurement under the open, restricted or competitive
Procedures with negotiation that would allow DHSC to secure delivery of products, particularly in light of the corresponding delays to timelines associated with securing supply of the PPE equipment in the unique market circumstances in which they were obtained.
E. The situation is not attributable to the contracting authority:
DHSC has not caused or contributed to the coronavirus crisis, which justifies the need for extreme urgency.
Section V: Award of contract
Supply of Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Workers for the Care of Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Novel Coronavirus (Covid- 19)
Section VI: Complementary information
This contract award notice amends the contract award notice published on 18 May 2020 (2020/S 096-230683).
That notice reflected the scope of an earlier draft of the contract under negotiation which included additional categories of PPE and was published as a result of an administrative error. Ultimately the authority decided to proceed with a contract whose scope was limited to isolation suits only, as reflected in the terms of this amended contract award notice.