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Defence: Procurement

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN 110528, tabled on 31 October 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what weight he attached to the marking criteria for National Security Objective 3 in developing each of his Department's contracts whose value is £100 million or above for which that objective was taken into account.

Answered on

8 November 2017

Between publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) in November 2015 and 31 March 2017, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) awarded nearly 150 contracts with a value of more than £10 million. Around 20 of these are worth more than £100 million, with none over £1 billion. These figures do not include extensions to existing contracts, for example the Type 26 manufacture contract or the revised UK Military Flying Training System agreements. Information about contracts awarded during the 2017-18 financial year is still being validated, so a full picture of new contracts awarded since 1 April 2017 is not yet available.

Records are not held centrally for all of these contracts and therefore comprehensive information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, available records show that none of the contracts over £100 million awarded during that period included specific criteria relating to National Security Objective 3. For some contracts, the issues outlined in the objective had been considered but not explicitly rendered into the award criteria. Others were awarded on a single-source basis and, for some, contract award criteria had been set prior to publication of the SDSR.

National Security Objective 3 covers an extensive range of subjects in relation to promoting UK prosperity: strengthening relationships with international partners, creating a more open, innovative defence sector, enhancing support to exports, and investing in skills and capabilities. The wide-ranging nature of the objective therefore means it is difficult to condense into a set of contract award criteria with relevant weightings. Instead, officials responsible for procuring defence capabilities are expected to consider these issues throughout the procurement process, from setting requirements through to awarding a contract and beyond.

The steps we are taking to help further promote UK prosperity will be outlined in more detail in our forthcoming refreshed defence industrial policy. This will include information on how our approach to defence procurement is designed to help the UK's defence and security industries grow and compete successfully.