Defence Reform Bill

This bill will enable MOD to make significant savings whilst also ensuring it continues to have a potent fighting force.


Keeping the United Kingdom secure and dealing with threats to our national interests is a priority for this government. We are working hard to transform defence in order to deliver battle-winning armed forces and a smaller, more professional Ministry of Defence (MOD), whilst getting value for money for the taxpayer. The Defence Reform Bill will enable the MOD to make significant changes to the way we deliver defence without impacting on its effectiveness.

The Defence Reform Bill, published on 4 July 2013, includes legislation on:

  1. the reform of defence equipment procurement and support services
  2. the reform of Reserve Forces

The main provisions of the bill are:

Part 1: Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S)

Reform of the DE&S organisation, which is responsible for the procurement and support of defence equipment and the supply of logistics to the armed forces, is a main element of Defence Transformation. This part of the bill relates to arrangements which the Secretary of State may make for a commercial organisation to provide defence procurement services under contract with a Government Owned and Contractor Operated (GOCO) company in future should ministers decide the model offers the best value for money.

Part 2: Single Source Procurement (SSP)

The bill creates a new statutory framework governing SSP and a small Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB), the Single Source Regulations Office, to oversee the framework, replacing an existing NDPB set up in 1968. It also makes provision for a civil compliance regime and creates a criminal offence for wrongfully disclosing commercially sensitive information obtained under part 2.

Part 3: Reserve Forces

The bill extends the current powers to call out reservists; allows the Secretary of State to make payments to reservists employers’ to incentivise them to employ reservists; provides greater employment protection for reservists by allowing a right of access, without a qualifying employment period, to the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal from their civilian employment if the dismissal relates to their reserve service. The bill will also change the name of the British Army’s volunteer reserve force from the ‘Territorial Army’ to the ‘Army Reserve’ and change the name of the British Army’s ex-regular reserve force from the ‘Army Reserve’ to the ‘Regular Reserve’.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Phillip Dunne said:

The Defence Reform Bill makes important changes to defence acquisition and the Reserve Forces. These will enable us to drive forward the transformation of defence and ensure our armed forces continue to get the capabilities they need as efficiently as possible.

The bill will enable the MOD to make some of the changes recommended in Bernard Gray’s independent Review of Acquisition, the Defence Reform Report by Lord Levene, Lord Currie’s review of single source procurement and the Independent Commission’s review of the UK’s Reserve Forces. The links to these documents can be found below.

You can also view information on the parliamentary process following the introduction and publication of the Defence Reform Bill and the accompanying impact assessment.

Related information:

Published 4 July 2013