DN - Defence Notes

DSEI 2017: MoD puts innovation and exportability at centre of procurement

15th September 2017 - 09:09 GMT | by Alice Budge in London

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Innovation and exportability will be placed at the forefront of UK procurement policy as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) looks to simplify its procurement process.

In an effort to facilitate more effective cooperation between government and industry, Harriett Baldwin, minister for defence procurement, announced at DSEI a number of new measures.

With the aim of making the procurement process more accessible to UK based SMEs, Baldwin announced the launch of the defence suppliers portal designed to ‘make doing business with defence much more straight forward’.

‘We are making life easier for innovative companies inside and outside defence. We want it to be easy to do business with us,’ Baldwin said.

This follows on from a number of other simplifications to the process that have already been enacted, including the removal of the pre-qualification questionnaires and the adoption of a standard contract template.

She also drew attention to the upcoming defence industrial policy refresh, which will outline further steps the MoD will make to ensure the procurement process is easier for companies to engage with from the outset.

Baldwin also emphasised government efforts to encourage defence companies ‘to consider whether their advances can have wider commercial applications’ and to prioritise the exportability of UK innovations.

‘The approach we are taking here is to build exportability into our thinking, considering the needs of other potential buyers right at the very outset must become the rule rather than the exception.’

Baldwin used the design requirements for the Type 31e frigate as an example of the changing approach towards procurement incorporated in the National Shipbuilding Strategy, which challenged ‘industry to build a new lighter, exportable general purpose frigate’.

‘The approach we’re taking here, to build exportability into our thinking. Considering the needs of other potential buyers right at the very outset must become the rule rather than the exception,’ she explained.

Baldwin went on to state that while the government has shifted the onus onto exportability, ‘it isn’t just for the UK’s bottom line or to increase allied interoperability; it’s something that spurs even greater creativity’.

In order to maximise the export potential of the UK defence industry, the minister spoke of the transformation of the Disposal Services Authority into the Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA) which is ‘a modern and efficient sales arm for the MoD… to manage our relationships with potential customers across he world, tailoring solutions to their needs and opening up new opportunities’.

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