MoD Commercial Staff

An interesting written question and answer from the House of Lords

Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what specific training is received by Ministry of Defence officials in negotiating equipment and services procurement contract terms and conditions effectively and in guaranteeing best value for money.

Lord Astor of Hever (Conservative)

Ministry of Defence (MoD) procurement activity ranges from the purchase of low-value consumable items through to complex equipment acquisition, support and services. These activities involve multi-disciplinary teams, including engineering, technical, finance, project management and procurement staff. There is clear separation of responsibilities between those authorising the initial requirement, those giving financial authority and those empowered to place contracts.

The MoD currently has around 1,700 civilian staff in the commercial function of which 1,200 are in active commercial roles and are authorised to sign contracts with suppliers.

Commercial staff must demonstrate the necessary levels of functional competence and experience to be licensed and receive a formal commercial delegation. Some 60% of commercial staff currently hold, or are working towards, qualifications in the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS). This is expected to rise to around 75% in 2015. The MoD is also developing an advanced commercial skills programme to provide additional training relevant to the MoD complex acquisition process, which goes beyond standard CIPS training.

I think it would be interesting to see how that number breaks down

With this in mind, this from Reuters adds another twist.

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Having failed to outsource DE&S the MoD is now going to do it pieces that will inevitably create a fragmented bureaucratic nightmare, especially if the component contracts are won by different bidders.

I wonder how the MoD will enforce a whole organisation approach to standardisation





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April 12, 2014 6:57 pm

The most catastrophic mistake the MoD ever made was not setting up a dedicated procurement corps. It is where a large part of the budget goes and is increasingly key in generating capability yet too much of it has historically been left to officers with little or no experience who are in post insufficiently long to carry any real responsibility or accountability- with inevitable results.

The current steps are certainly progress, but the real determining factor will be what eventually happens to DE&S.

April 13, 2014 6:52 am

The current lot obviously know their stuff so well that they don’t even bother to respond to letters… unlike the Main Building occupants.

April 13, 2014 5:48 pm

“Entry requirements:-
There are 3 possible starting points for CIPS qualifications and these are:
1 Certificate in procurement and supply operations
2 Advanced certificate in procurement and supply operations
3 Diploma in procurement and supply

The first 2 entry points are building block qualifications designed for people who are new to the profession or who do not meet the minimum entry requirements for the Diploma qualification.

If you wish to start at Diploma level, you should either have at least two A-levels (or international equivalent), a CIPS Advanced Certificate qualification or 2 years experience in a business environment”
I have a few questions:-
Why aren’t all staff all ready qualified?
ONLY 2 A levels to start qualifying for the a present highest qualification a diploma,WTF?
Are all new recruits mandatorily required to have at least the diploma?

April 13, 2014 6:04 pm

‘Why aren’t all staff all ready qualified?’

What qualifying those in procurement, in procurement?

Have you gone mad?! ;)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
April 13, 2014 6:13 pm

An observation. Industry pays C2 level commercial people at B1 rates. It is easy to headhunt commercial people from Abbey Wood. You don’t headhunt them for their negotiation skills, you buy them in for what they know of policy and MoD thinking.

Notwithstanding the above, my last several negotiations with ABW have been progressively easier. It is like negotiating with a child.