UK MoD prepares for major procurement reforms

Neil Waghorn

In the week that the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Peter Wall, added his voice to the debate over the state of the MoD procurement procedure, the Government announced the development of a new Defence Materiel Strategy. This new strategy will reportedly achieve three outcomes: the ‘MOD gets [the] best value in Defence Materiel; a balanced equipment and support programme; a DE&S with engaged and motivated staff and the behaviours, accountabilities, skills and processes required to do the job.’

The Government announcement comes on the back of a critical report on MoD procurement of armoured vehicles by the National Audit Office last month. While it commended the ministry’s rapid procurement procedure, the NAO report highlighted deeply ingrained flaws in long term strategic procurement. The NAO comments were further reinforced by Sir Peter Wall when he stated in front of the Royal United Services Institute that "the Army has an excellent suite of equipment at the moment but it is specific to the Afghan challenge. If we look at our core equipment programme it’s rather a different story."
The announcement of development of the new materiel strategy is just one branch of a set of reforms designed to change the procurement procedure. Next month, the Defence Reform Unit, tasked with ‘fundamentally [re-evaluating] the way the Ministry of Defence is structured and managed’, will deliver its final report and recommendations for the reform of procurement. Defence Minister Peter Luff acknowledges the need for reform but stressed that these will take time.