National Audit Office will reveal findings this winter

An investigation into the government’s handling of awarding contracts during the covid-19 pandemic is set to report back this winter.

The National Audit Office (NAO) is investigating the way in which the government procured services during the coronavirus case, including the construction of the Nightingale hospitals.

Nightingale outside sign

Among the firms who worked on the schemes were Vinci, Sir Robert McAlpine, Bam and Interserve and Tolent on a site at Sunderland (pictured)

It has not yet been revealed how much firms have been paid for their work on the emergency hospitals across England.

The temporary field hospitals to deal with covid-19 were built in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Exeter, Harrogate, Bristol and Sunderland and have been hailed for the speed with which they were put up.

Among the firms who worked on the schemes were Vinci, Sir Robert McAlpine, Bam and Interserve.

Confusion as cost of England's Nightingale hospitals remains under wraps

The NAO said: "In responding to the covid-19 pandemic, public sector bodies have had to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency. 

"The Cabinet Office, which oversees government’s buying policies, has changed some of the procurement rules for contracts relating to the government’s response to covid-19. Concerns have been raised about some of these procurements, including around a lack of transparency."

The public spending watchdog said in its previous report, Overview of the UK government’s response to the covid-19 pandemic, that it was planning to report on how government has managed risks created by its response to the crisis. 

This report will set out the scale of covid-19-related procurement, how procurement rules have changed and how the government is managing the risks associated with these changes. For a sample of contracts, it will consider who has bought what, from whom, and at what cost, during the pandemic. 

This work will sit alongside the watchdog's work on supplying the NHS and adult social care sector with personal protective equipment (PPE) and increasing the number of ventilators available to the NHS in response to covid-19