MOD publishes new SME Action Plan
On 29th March MOD published its Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Action Plan 2019-2022. Intended to improve access to business opportunities with MOD, the plan details how the department intends to increase its procurement spend with SMEs and means to work with its major suppliers to remove barriers to supply chain participation. This is the topic that NDI lobbies MOD hardest on, so the commitment to this at Ministerial level is particularly welcome. You can read NDI’s initial response to the plan here. There are four sub-sections to the plan which cover the strengthening of supplier engagement, improvement to procurement policy and process, making it easier to do business with defence and encouraging innovation. The action plan also details how MOD will work with its newly-appointed SME Champions in each of its 19 key suppliers. Nevertheless, it is regrettable that the ambitious target of 25% of MOD’s procurement budget ultimately going to SMEs by 2020 has been postponed until 2022. In other places the targets for measuring delivery look ill-defined. As members of the MOD’s SME Forum, NDI intends to press the department on delivery of the action plan as a priority.
MOD and industry leaders commit to closer collaboration
The Defence Suppliers Forum met on 3 April when a series of new commitments to promote more effective joint working between MOD and industry were announced. The joint document, named ‘Vision 2025’ includes new pledges from both parties to improve the productivity of the UK defence sector and ensure the armed forces obtain the capabilities they need in the future. The plan focuses on boosting defence exports, encouraging innovation within the defence industry and accelerating the inclusion of SMEs in the market, linked to the new Action Plan detailed above. Defence Procurement Minister Stuart Andrew said that ‘Vision 2025 represents a significant evolution in government-industry collaboration. By committing to work together more closely, we will ensure our armed forces continue to benefit from world-leading capabilities while driving up value-for-money for UK taxpayers.’
Mod Export Assessment: Asked what steps are being taken to ensure MOD makes an assessment of export potential when designing and developing UK military capabilities, Defence Procuremnt Minister, Stuary Andrew replied that “The Ministry of Defence considers exportability as part of its investment decisions and capability development process. We have developed an Exportability Policy internally and are working closely with industry to implement our approach. Recent examples of this approach include the Type 31e and the Combat Air Strategy. On 14 March 2019 we announced to Parliament a series of measures on Defence Prosperity including on growing exports and inward investment.”
European Procurement Law: Asked what steps the EU Commission has taken with regard to applying article 346 to the procurement of support ships by other member states, Mr Andrew replied that “The European Commission's evaluation report on the Defence Procurement Directive in 2016…found that some Member States may be interpreting exemptions such as Article 346 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union too broadly, resulting in an uneven application of the Directive. The report concluded that the Commission needed to take action to start infringement procedures where serious breaches of European Union law are identified. Consequently, the Commission sent infringement notices to a number of Member States in 2018 for not correctly applying the Directive. I am unable to comment further on these ongoing cases.”
Join NDI at National Composites Centre, Bristol on Tuesday 30th April for our first Meet the Buyer event of 2019. Focusing on buyers and opportunities in the land domain, this event will be a great opportunity to meet, connect with and present to decision makers across the defence industry working on Army programmes. Buyers confirmed so far include, BAE Systems, Qinetiq, MBDA, Raytheon UK, Rheinmetall Defence UK, Ultra Electronics and Pearson Engineering. Speakers will also include the Ministry of Defence, UK Export Finance and the UK Defence Solutions Centre.Book here to secure your place today!