On 3 March 2020, the Cabinet Office shook hands with Public First, a small privately held polling company. There was no formal contract, prior advertisement, or competitive tender process. It just made what procurement lawyers call a 'direct award'. It formalised it retrospectively on 5 June 2020 and publicised it a week later. The total contract value is £840,000.Public First are owned by Ms Rachel Wolf & Mr James Frayne. They have close connections with both the Minister for the Cabinet Office (the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP) and his long time colleague and Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister who works in the Cabinet Office (Mr Dominic Cummings).
Money for your mates, on a handshake, formalised later, is unlawful. This is why Good Law Project has instructed Rook Irwin Sweeney and leading procurement lawyers Jason Coppel QC and Patrick Halliday. You can read GL formal pre action protocol letter to Mr Gove and Mr Cummings here and the proceedings here.