The event was held in the Defence Capability Centre at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham, and focused on three new regional prime contracts for facilities management.
These are: the Regional Prime Central (North of England, Wales, the Midlands and East Anglia); the Regional Prime South West (South West England); the Regional Prime South East (South East England).
The contracts have an estimated combined value of up to £4.35 billion over a minimum of five years and a maximum of 10 years. Individual contract values range between £500 million and £1.8 billion, depending on potential contract extensions.
The industry day was designed to provide potential bidders with a common understanding of the procurement process, and enable smaller supply chain businesses to network with those pursuing prime contracting roles.
Around 70 supply chain businesses were represented, including nine from Greater London, seven from the West Midlands, six from Bristol, and three from each of West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Essex, Hampshire and Wiltshire.
Military representatives also attended from the estate user community, namely the Royal Navy, Army, RAF and Joint Force Headquarters.
Delegates received an overview of frontline Defence activities such as the current operations in Afghanistan, the wider Defence transformation agenda as it affects the estate, and more specifically the DIO corporate transformation programme.
DIO’s Next Generation Estate Contracts (NGEC) Programme is developing a new suite of contracts for the UK Defence estate. Key NGEC issues covered at the event included the role of future prime contractors in managing estate energy usage, and the provision of asset condition data and other management information.
Brigadier John Wootton, the Director of Land Forces Infrastructure, said:
A modern, fit-for-purpose Defence estate and supporting services are fundamental to the generation of trained and motivated forces for operations and for success once deployed. Future MOD contractors and suppliers will play a key part in this, and it is important that all those in the commercial supply chains understand the underpinning importance of their role to Defence.
Gill Hodson, senior NGEC project manager, said:
During this period of fundamental change for UK Defence we are determined that businesses with an interest in these three major contracts have a coherent understanding of the challenges and issues for our future industry partners. I am delighted that such a wide range of businesses were able to attend and engage in the networking session.
This is the outset of procurement for these significant regional arrangements, and we would now urge other smaller businesses with estate solutions - from low carbon technology and roads maintenance to plumbing, roofing and pest control - to consider where they might contribute and then to make contact with those seeking prime contracting roles.
DIO has now published online Potential Bidders Directories for each of the three contracts, to enable supply chain businesses to engage with organisations with a formal interest in prime contractor positions. It is expected that the three Regional Prime contracts will be awarded in 2014.