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.

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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