Procurement at MOD

Doing business with defence: information for those looking to become a supplier or contractor.

Our brochure gives an overview on our business and how to become a supplier.

Coronavirus update

Who we are

The MOD is one of the biggest public procurement organisations in Europe, managing some of the most complex and technologically advanced requirements in the world.

Our customers include our armed forces and national security agencies, buying everything from military fighting vehicles to education services and all kinds of facilities management services.

Our aim

To ensure that our customers are provided with the best capabilities to enable them to protect the UK’s security and to advance the UK’s interests, both now and in the long term; and in doing so, to obtain the best possible value for money for the taxpayer.

What we do

We support our armed forces by providing world class solutions for delivering national defence and security for the UK whilst ensuring the best possible value for the taxpayer. Our procurement activity covers a very wide range of requirements including:

  • technology: cloud and digital, network services, software and technology products and services
  • equipment and support: ships, submarines, aircraft, vehicles, weapons, missiles, commodities and support (maintenance and repair)
  • infrastructure: construction, hard and soft facilities management, property consultancy

Why choose us

We believe that the variety of our procurement activity coupled with the size of our spend makes defence an attractive place to do business. However we recognise that the size of the department can be daunting for prospective suppliers, and especially smaller businesses working with us for the first time.

To address this we have launched a number of initiatives to make life easier for our suppliers.

We are:

  • making it easier for smaller businesses to find opportunities and compete for contracts using Defence Contracts Online (DCO), our refreshed supplier portal and our twitter channel @defenceproc. We have also introduced on DCO a new sub-contracting advertising capability where sub-contracting opportunities will also be visible
  • committed to continuously developing our commercial expertise and seeking innovative solutions for our customers in the armed forces
  • making our procurement simpler and more transparent; we’ve introduced two simplified plain English short contract forms for use in low value, less complex requirements.
  • advertising our requirements widely and using several channels to help suppliers access public sector contracts detailed below

How we procure

The European Union Procurement Regulations drive UK law for public sector procurements and alongside MOD procurement policy provide the main control framework for all procurements.

This means that, as a public sector organisation, we procure in a different way to industry competition as the default position, we set objective tender selection criteria, and we are fair and transparent and will be held accountable for procurement decisions in a way the private sector is not. We do not operate preferred supplier lists.

Our principles include non-discrimination (on grounds of nationality), equal treatment (of all suppliers), transparency (act in fair and non-discriminatory manner), mutual recognition (of equivalent documents and standards).

Our procurement activity is consistent with the Concept, Assessment, Demonstration, Manufacture, In-Service, and Dispose (CADMID) cycle.

Overview of a typical competition

This is a brief overview of a typical competition:

  1. requirement advertised
  2. pre-qualification questionnaire
  3. invited to tender
  4. independent assessment
  5. supplier selection
  6. contract award

As a requirements driven organisation, first, we identify what we need to buy and we advertise this. Suppliers then have the opportunity to express their interest and bid. We use an initial questionnaire to pre-qualify suppliers. Suppliers are then invited to tender. We assess bids using pre-agreed criteria and select suppliers using objective evaluation. This criteria is used to select a supplier and award the contract. A debrief is available for all suppliers.

Where to find contract opportunities

We advertise tender and contract opportunities valued over £10,000 in the Defence Contracts Online (DCO) portal. Access and registration to the MOD’s opportunities in the DCO portal is free of charge. For sub-contracting opportunities, we suggest you also engage with Defence Contractors websites.

We also advertise our tender and contract opportunities widely. We use the government’s Contracts Finder portal; here central government departments and other public bodies advertise tender and contract opportunities valued at £10,000 and above. Access to Contracts Finder is free of charge.

Our contract opportunities which fall within the scope of EU Public Procurement Regulation thresholds are additionally advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

Requirements below £10,000 are often one off projects bought in accordance with our internal policy for low value purchasing.

You can find more information in the PDF brochure

Want to know more?

The Doing Business with Defence team facilitates the entry of new, innovative and non-traditional businesses into the defence supply chain. The team provide advice and guidance to companies on how to become a defence supplier and access MOD tender and contract opportunities through a variety of channels. These include:

These include:

  • a helpdesk facility (email: dbscs-ecfinanceteam@mod.uk)
  • attendance at trade exhibitions across the UK where they will deliver presentations on request
  • hosting of webinars on how to access MOD opportunities
  • publication of various sources of useful information via the DCO supplier portal and Twitter channel @defenceproc

Contact details:

Doing Business with Defence team
Spruce 3B #1301 

MOD Abbey Wood 

Bristol
BS34 8JH

Telephone: 0151 242 2000 Email: dbscs-ecfinanceteam@mod.uk

Our supply base

The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) 2015 committed the UK to spending a minimum 2% of GDP on defence over the next decade. This commitment represents spending some £178 billion on Defence Equipment and Support over that period.

(SDSR) 2015 committed the UK to spending a minimum 2% of GDP on defence over the next decade. This commitment represents spending some £178 billion on defence equipment and support over that period.

In 2017/18 MOD spent nearly £20 billion with industry, accounting for over 40% of all UK government procurement spend and representing the fifth biggest defence budget in the world.

The size and complexity of many of our projects means that we need to work closely with our suppliers to ensure delivery of the defence programme. These are currently Boeing, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Thales, QinetiQ, Leonardo, MBDA, Babcock, Serco, Capita, AWE, HP, Leidos, COBHAM, DXC, GD (General Dynamics), Raytheon, Ultra Electronics, and KBR.

We advocate the use of competition wherever appropriate both in our direct contract opportunities and throughout the supply chain.

Opportunities therefore exist for suppliers of all sizes, from large established defence contractors through to innovative smaller businesses, to get involved in our procurement activity both as a prime supplier and as a sub-contractor.

The programmes we support are detailed in the Defence Equipment Plan

Spending more with SMEs

We recognise SMEs have a great deal to offer in promoting economic growth. We are working to help SMEs, including social enterprises and charities, gain a greater share of defence related business.

We are improving access to our market for new, innovative suppliers and particularly smaller businesses. We want at least 25% of our procurement spend to go to SMEs both directly and indirectly by 2022.

You may wish to read this guide for small and medium-sized enterprises by Emma Jones, Small Business Crown Representative and the Crown Commercial Service. This contains useful guidance on what to expect when selling to Government and top tips on how to bid for and win government contracts.

Please note: This guide is intended for government-wide suppliers and therefore does not include the following defence specific points:

  1. The single online portal for Defence Contracts is Defence Contracts Online
  2. Pre-Qualification Questionnaires (PQQs) are still employed for Defence Contracts under the £100,000 threshold in certain circumstances.

Innovation in the Defence Supply Chain

We want to encourage innovation in our business and attract new and non-traditional suppliers in to all levels of the defence supply chain. Our military customers have put innovation high on their agenda and we expect this to be reflected in their future requirements.

SDSR 2015 identified innovation as a central theme reflecting the changing global security and technology landscape. Technology is creating both threats to and opportunities for the UK’s security and prosperity and innovation is vital to maintaining our military advantage.

We have set up a new Innovation Fund (£800M over 10 years) to encourage better collaboration with industry, academia and allies, and target new providers to boost the competitive advantage of UK defence and find answers to our most pressing national security questions from across sectors at pace.

The Defence and Security Accelerator

The Defence and Security Accelerator which forms part of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), focuses on innovations which can provide advantage to defence and national security to protect the UK from its adversaries.

It funds the development of suppliers’ innovative ideas and provides support through to potential application. The Accelerator will also fund innovations for defence and security which support economic growth and prosperity in the UK.

The Defence Growth Partnership

The Defence Growth Partnership is a unique collaboration between UK government and leading companies from the UK defence industry. It has been formed to meet the challenges of increased international competition for defence business, and has created a collaborative environment to enable the UK to offer the very best solutions to defence customers, tailored to meet global customer needs, including the MOD.

UK Defence Solutions Centre

The UK Defence Solutions Centre (UKDSC) was established as an independent entity in 2015 and works to make the UK defence industry more successful in exports through:

  • better alignment with UK government
  • better collaboration within the UK value chain
  • stimulating innovation and investment from a broad range of sources

Created as part of the implementation plan for the Defence Growth Partnership (DGP) and jointly funded by government and industry, the UKDSC works closely with the Department for International Trade’s Defence & Security Organisation (DIT DSO), the UK government, and the best of the defence industry, academia and research and development.

Innovate UK

Innovate UK is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

They work with companies to de-risk, enable and support innovation and run competitions for funding in different industry sectors, including the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), and an open competition for applications from any sector. They also provide ‘connecting services’ including business advice for SMEs.

The defence sector and preparing for the 1 January 2021

As of the 31 January 2020, we are now in the transition period until the end of 2020, while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements. In most cases the current rules will continue to apply during the transition period.

Read more about the transition period.

The Department for International Trade Defence & Security Organisation (DIT DSO) Small Business Unit provides dedicated support for UK SME companies that are looking to win defence and security business overseas.

You can contact the DIT DSO Small Business Unit by emailing ditdso.smeenquiry@trade.gov.uk

European Defence Procurement

The MOD is a member of the European Defence Agency (EDA), an intergovernmental Agency of the European Council.

The EDA supports the member states and the council in their effort to improve European defence capabilities. Work is ongoing and focused on:

  • access to markets
  • information and funding
  • defence research and technology
  • ‘cluster building’
  • business innovation

The EDA’s Defence Procurement Gateway provides defence related business opportunities and information at the EU and national level.

Contracting, Purchasing and Finance (CP&F) tool

The CP&F programme is about the provision of an end to end eProcurement system and associated business processes which span the commercial, purchasing and financial accounting functions for the department. As an extension to this it includes the provision of more complete, reliable and accurate management information.

MOD supplier invoicing and payment information

Mystery Shopper Scheme

The Crown Commercial Service’s Mystery Shopper Scheme provides a route for suppliers and potential suppliers, especially SMEs, to raise concerns about public procurement practice. Email: mysteryshopper@crowncommercial.gov.uk