MOD Award Single Tender Contract to McKinsey Because of “Significant IPR”

The reduction in defence expenditure that looks likely in the UK is a concern when you look at the threats in the world today, which certainly don’t seem to be any less than they were a few years ago. But then you wonder whether there isn’t still a certain amount of money in the system that could be spent better, particularly when you see things like this  MOD award notice.

It is a formal contract notice telling us about an “award of a contract without prior publication of a contract notice” – that is, there was no open competition for the work. It tells us that the MOD are spending £1 million (OK, £975,000 to be precise) with top consulting firm McKinsey, without any competitive process , and the reason given is this;

The works/goods/services can be provided only by a particular tenderer for reasons that are: technical, connected with the protection of exclusive rights.

The contractor being appointed has significant IPR in documents required to deliver this requirement”.

The work itself is described as “Technical support services. Provision of Specialist Technical Support to DII Reset and other changes within ISS”.

DII is the Defence Information Infrastructure and ISS is Information Systems and Services. So what exactly is this “significant IPR” that McKinsey own that means they are the only firm who can do this work? You sometime see this justification when organisations are buying, say, an Oracle upgrade – clearly, you can only buy that from Oracle. but it is unusual to see that reason given for consulting type spend. And why on earth anyway has MOD allowed itself to get into the position where it is so dependent on any consulting firm – is the organisation locked into McKinsey in some sense for life now?

Or really, is there more about a quick and convenient excuse for using the firm they want to use, without any real IPR lock-in? That would be my suspicion to be honest.  The other slightly amusing point is that the “Award Criteria” given is “lowest price”. That’s unusual for McKinsey, you might think. but hang on, if they are the only bidder!

Is it worth a Freedom of Information request, I wonder – will they tell us anything? Anyway, it does not fill one with confidence that MOD is really looking to get the best value from every penny of their stretched budget.

First Voice

  1. Dan:

    It probably went through the same approval process* as the contract with Alix Partners.

    *there probably wasn’t any process involved

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