What’s happening in MOD procurement (part 238..)?

The Sunday Times reported this week (behind their paywall) that the UK's Minister of Defence,

“has invited about 15 companies — including arms manufacturers, accountants and outsourcers — to take part in a consultation that is expected to lead to a radical shake-up. Hammond will canvass opinion over the next couple of months on the three options he is considering to restructure the Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) arm”.

A couple of points, apart from pointing out that we were the first to write about the three potential “outsourcing”options (long before the Times or Supply Management) back here on October 27th last year.

Firstly, the real mystery is what on earth has happened to Bernard Gray's Defence Equipment and Support strategy document? It was going to be published back before Christmas. Then, we suspect, it got caught up in the Liam Fox / Philip Hammond Ministerial change. But even given that understandable delay for the new guy to get his head around the proposals, it has dragged on now. We then heard it was going to be late February, and a good source told me with great confidence not long ago it would be first week of March! Come on, let's have a look at it, guys...

Secondly, I hope the Sunday Times have got their facts at least a little wrong here. Because if the Minister is having cosy chats with selected firms, then I look forward to a bit of income as an “expert witness” when an unhappy bidder, not one of these 14 of course, challenges the ultimate decision in court on the basis that “this procurement was never a level playing field”. A strong case, m'lud...

However, I find it hard to believe that Les Mosco et al (the sensible folk in MOD procurement) would let this happen – so expect to see some sort of open invitation for consultation at some stage. I hope.

On a further MOD note, they're apparently reviewing the strategy and procurement of Aircraft Carrier and supporting planes again. Here's the Guardian writing about this mess - words fail me. But I'm going to try and persuade someone who knows a LOT more than me about this issue to write something for us...


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