Procurement at MOD

Ministry of Defence purchasing arrangements and information for those looking to become a supplier or contractor.

Introduction

MOD buys a wide variety of products and services ranging from clothing to satellite communication systems and from construction of buildings to provision of staff.

We are British industry’s largest single customer, spending approximately £19.5 billion in financial year 2013 to 2014 with third parties. This amounts to between 40% and 45% of total government spend with third parties.

Revelant procurement information for our suppliers, both existing and new, is continually being updated, to reflect how we do business and provide links to where you can find out more about working with MOD and commercial opportunities.

Our approach

We are committed to achieving our requirements, on behalf of the UK government, by developing an invigorated, innovative and cost effective global supply chain. Our aim is to acquire goods and services at best value, ensuring a fair and reasonable involvement of stakeholders and the supply chain.

We aim to continually develop our supply chain. In line with our white paper National security through technology, wherever possible, we will seek to fulfill the UK’s defence and security requirements through open competition in the domestic and global market, buying off-the-shelf where appropriate.

We take action to protect the UK’s operational advantages and freedom of action, but only where this is essential for our national security. We provide increased opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, by making our procurement processes more transparent, simpler and faster.

Our procurement activity falls under the requirements of the EU public procurement rules. Under these laws the MOD does not operate a preferred suppliers list of companies and uses competition, where appropriate, and evaluation to provide the best value for money to Her Majesty’s government.

MOD staff engaged in procurement have a duty to act in a professional and impartial manner and to be mindful of the Bribery Act 2010. We also expect our suppliers to act fully in accordance with the act.

The Ministry of Justice has published extensive guidance on the act. Transparency International has also published guidance for business on how to resist demands for bribes.

How we do business

The MOD run open competitions for the vast majority of contracts that we place to meet defence requirements and departmental needs for goods and services. This means that any supplier, of any size, who meets the stated requirements and criteria of a tender opportunity, can tender if they so wish.

Where requirements arise on a regular basis, MOD ‘bundles’ requirements and lets framework agreements. These provide an efficient and effective means of combining the benefits of reduced process costs and enhanced buying power.

As part of the Central Government Reform programme, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has been established as an executive agency and trading fund of the Cabinet Office (CO) to procure common goods and services (CGS) for government departments and other public sector bodies. CGS includes for example communications, energy, vehicle hire, lease and purchase, eLearning and classroom training solutions, office solutions, print and print management, professional services and travel.

MOD informs the development of many of the pan-government framework arrangements placed by CCS and utilises these and others to source requirements. And, for certain categories of CGS, MOD has established a Managed Service with CCS whereby CCS undertakes all the procurement activity on MOD’s behalf.

If you would like to find out more about CCS, please contact the CCS Supplier Support team on 0345 0103503.

How to sell to defence

The MOD currently advertises all its publishable tender and contract opportunities valued over £10,000 in the Defence Contracts Online (DCO) portal. Access and registration to the MOD opportunities in the DCO portal is free of charge. There is also a facility for email alerts for opportunities containing pre-defined words.

Access to other UK, European and global opportunities relating to defence, security, emergency services, humanitarian aid, counter terrorism and homeland security markets are available through optional value added subscription based services via the MOD DCO portal. BiP Solutions Ltd, the publisher, entirely independently of MOD, provides this information.

The fortnightly MOD Defence Contracts Bulletin (MOD DCB) publication is also available on subscription.

Contracts Finder Portal

The Contracts Finder portal is free to use and advertises all UK government tender and contract opportunities valued at £10,000 and above in one place. The MOD is making use of the portal which was introduced with the specific intention of making it much easier for companies, especially SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), to be able to access UK public procurement opportunities.

MOD requirements are advertised on Contracts Finder where teams are carrying out a competitive procurement valued from £10,000 to £106,047. Where requirements are valued above this and are:

  1. exempt under treaty exemptions and/or a general exclusion or
  2. within the scope of DSPCR 2011 but below its financial threshold of £328,352

Then MOD requirements are advertised solely on DCO Portal.

Procurements that are subject to PCR 2015 or DSPCR 2011 are advertised on DCO and in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

Other sources of information

Innovative proposals and The Centre for Defence Enterprise

The MOD is committed to encouraging more innovation to our business. We recognise that the supply chain has vast experience across many industry sectors and can help us provide our business in an increasingly efficient and effective way. Innovation can take many forms, from novel application of existing technologies, or development of new technologies through to changes to working practices or procedures. Whatever the idea, we recognise that our suppliers will want to protect them, and we can do this through confidentiality agreements as necessary. We will actively manage the process of introducing innovative ideas to the business.

The Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE), part of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), funds novel, high risk, high potential benefit research to develop capabilities for the UK armed forces and national security. You can submit a CDE proposal for a research contract either at any time to their enduring challenge competition, or in response to the technical challenges in a specific themed competition.

Contact details:

Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE)
Building R103
Fermi avenue
Harwell
Oxford
Oxfordshire
OX11 0QX

Telephone: 030-677-04236

Email: cde@dstl.gov.uk

Contracting, Purchasing and Finance (CPF) system

MOD is currently developing a replacement system for its existing procurement tools. The new system will provide a single end to end capability which will enable significant change opportunities for both the MOD and suppliers in terms of improved contract visibility, more efficient and effective processes and reliable, timely management information. It will deliver a significant step towards the government direction to ensure all procurement action is electronically conducted by 2017. All existing paper processes will be replaced.

The MOD will work with suppliers to ensure any disruption to business operations is kept to an absolute minimum.

Find out more about the new system and how it will be implemented during 2016 here.

Further resources

Advocacy and outreach (Defence Supplier Service)

The MOD’s advocacy and outreach work streams are responsible for a number of supply chain development and engagement activities.

The advocacy role is managed in an open, transparent and equitable manner, making recommendations for improvement where necessary. It also acts as interface between the MOD, various local and UK business support agencies and main stakeholders including regional and UK SME steering groups.

The vast majority of the MOD’s procurements proceed without complaint. However, things do sometimes go wrong and the advocacy provides a confidential and unbiased route for the supply chain to raise issues relating to procurement at the department.

The intent is to have a number of advocates across defence who will:

  • support commercial senior civil servants in identifying and challenging instances of non-competitive contract renewal and unnecessary single-source procurements
  • act as part of a network of supply chain advocates, co-ordinated by the B2 Supply Chain Advocate in the Supplier Relations team (SRT), to share intelligence and good practice across the business
  • act as the first point of contact within the business area for prospective suppliers, helping to match suppliers with appropriate opportunities
  • support respective business areas in early engagement between commands, delivery agents and the supply chain to understand the capability and capacity that exists to meet our pipeline of requirement and help develop our needs
  • provide a confidential and unbiased route for the supply chain to raise issues pertaining to procurement within the business area, which will be managed in an open, transparent and equitable manner, making recommendations for improvement where necessary.

The SRT advocate can be contacted at the following address:

Supply Chain Advocate
Ministry of Defence
Poplar 1, #2119
MOD Abbey Wood
Bristol
BS34 8JH

Telephone: 030 679 88595

Email: DefComrclSRT-SCD@mod.uk

Where attempts at resolving issues with the MOD or a first tier supplier have failed, or where the supplier prefers, suppliers can use the CO’s ‘mystery shopper’ scheme.

The CO’s mystery shopper scheme provides a route for suppliers to raise concerns about public procurement practice. The scheme provides a clear, structured and direct route for suppliers to raise concerns about public procurement practice (even when attempts at resolving issues with a contracting authority or a first-tier supplier have failed) and provides feedback to enquirers on their concerns. The scheme takes a proactive approach through spot checks on procurement documents.

Need more information about doing business with the MOD?

The Defence Suppliers’ Service (DSS), part of the Strategic Supplier Management team (SSMT), is the MOD focal point for the provision of advice and guidance to companies interested in becoming suppliers to defence. DSS staff can:

  • explain how to become a defence supplier
  • how to access MOD tender and contract opportunities online and free of charge
  • explain some of the procedures and processes that MOD uses to buy a wide variety of goods and services
  • as part of its ‘outreach’ service, DSS staff attend around 50 exhibitions, seminars and ‘meet the buyer’ events each year at various locations across the UK; at these events DSS staff are able to provide advice and guidance to companies wishing to sell to MOD and give ‘Selling to the MOD’ presentations, where appropriate.

Contact details:

Defence Suppliers’ Service
Strategic Supplier Management team
Poplar 1 #2119
MOD Abbey Wood
Bristol BS34 8JH

Telephone: 030 679 32844

Email: defcomrclsrt-dsshelpdesk@mod.uk

The ‘Selling to the MOD’ brochure can be accessed through the DCO Portal. A hard copy version is available from the Defence Suppliers’ Service.

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

You can telephone UKTI DSO Small Business Unit on 0207 215 8204 Email: howard.gibbs@ukti.gsi.gov.uk

Invoicing and payment information

Defence Business Services (DBS) payment performance, invoice processing and MOD contract payments information is available here.