In our Assessment of European Procurement Around Covid report, we sought to determine the extent to which different countries relied on direct contract awards, those contracts that were let without any competitive process.
Research* has previously indicated that contracts that were let by direct awards are 10% more expensive than those let by competitive processes.
Direct awards are by nature uncompetitive. They prevent the broader market from having the chance to meet the needs of the buyer. There is also the risk that it may stifle innovation: if a contract is not to subjected to a competitive review, there is little incentive for suppliers to adapt, or develop new or more efficient processes.
Direct awards are justified in response to 'black swan' events or natural disasters such as floods or providing PPE to frontline workers during a pandemic.
Our analysis shows a broad range of changes, with some countries using fewer rather than more direct awards. You can read our Assessment of European Procurement Around Covid here.
If you'd like to discuss this project, or your own procurement data needs in more detail,get in touch.
*Fazekas, M., & Kocsis, G. (2017). Uncovering High-Level Corruption: Cross-NationalCorruption Proxies Using Government Contracting Data. British Journal of Political Science