Saturday, September 05, 2020

Giving our money away.

A lobbying and PR firm confounded by an ally of Dominic Cummings has been given two government contracts withoutcompetitive tenders during thepandemic. 

The Cabinet Office and Treasury contracts were awarded to Hanbury Strategy, co-founded by Paul Stephenson, who worked alongside Cummings as the director of communications for the 2016 Vote Leave campaign. The other Hanbury founder, Ameet Gill, was David Cameron's director ofstrategy in Downing Street. 

Hanbury is the fourth Tory-linked firm to have been awarded work since the start of the pandemic under emergency rules that allow public bodies to bypass the standard procurement rules requiring an open competitive tenderingprocess. The Cabinet Office failed to publicise the existence of its contract with Hanbury, despite official guidelines that they should be made public within 30 days. 

However, a freedom of information request by the Guardian disclosed that the Cabinet Office awarded Hanbury a contract potentially worth £900,000 over seven months to research public attitudes and behaviours in relation to the pandemic.