A lot of work is going on behind the scenes at the moment to reform the Security and Resilience Growth Partnership and develop it into an organisation that truly delivers for the security sector. Co-chaired by Rob Crook of Raytheon and the Minister for Security, this Partnership aims to deliver prosperity and national security through a close working relationship between the security sector and Government. I thought it may be useful to let you know where the emphasis currently lies and what we are hoping will be in place in the New Year.
The Security and Resilience Growth Partnership, made up of academic and industry leaders across the security sector set its priorities at the SDSR. These were:
- Exports: To increase collaboration between Government and the security sector in the promotion of exports
- Supplier relationship with Government: To help develop and reform the supplier – customer relationship between Government and the security sector
- Permanent capability. To establish a joint Government / security sector centre to deliver SRGP priorities on a full-time basis
There is a significant amount of activity across Government which could aid the security sector in increasing exports. For example:
- The UKTI High Value Opportunity Programme supports UK companies bidding for contracts in areas such as Major Events, Airports and significant infrastructure projects around the world. The security elements of these programmes are often worth £bns.
- A new UK/EU joint funding unit has been set up to help the UK security industry to increase its success in pursuing EC contracts. The UK currently gets very little from the EC and we are significantly outpaced by the more organised approaches of the Germans, Italians, French and Spanish. However, early indications are that the EC is very keen to work more closely with the UK and this could be a very fruitful route to greater opportunities.
- HO’s Government to Government programmes, targeted to improve the security of partner nations, could generate significant opportunities for UK industry if the right partnership is established.
There are multiple further opportunities, including from collaboration with the defence sector and international partnerships. Our aspiration is to work across these programmes to identify key export opportunities, to communicate these more effectively to industry and, where appropriate, facilitate the development of UK bids for these opportunities.
Supplier relationship with Government
Work has already begun to develop the HO/security sector relationship with an emphasis on encouraging innovation and improving procurement processes. The work, which now involves a group of 30 individuals from academia and industry, aims to resolve some of the strategic blockers to the development of the key capabilities needed to ensure the security of the UK in the future. This is a long-term project but one which could have significant implications for the UK security sector as they supply into Government as well as for Government’s ability to quickly and efficiently generate the necessary capabilities to maintain national security.
Through the SDSR and CSR process, we applied for funding to establish a full time capability to deliver an effective, security sector led Security Innovation and Demonstration Centre. We will seek for a lead to be appointed from industry with the remainder of posts to be jointly populated by government and through secondees from the academia and industry. The centre will:
- Identify challenges and analyse the domestic and international markets. This function will be used to prioritise activities, concentrating efforts on addressing key strategic challenges and those opportunities which have greatest potential for exploitation.
- Provide innovative solutions. This function will ensure that the right security sector companies and institutions are engaged to undertake innovation activities and provide solutions to strategic challenges.
- Work to build the UK offer. This function will build the commercial offer, communicate opportunities to industry and, where appropriate, build consortia and develop the UK offer in key areas.
- Demonstrate and run events to showcase UK capabilities. This function will provide the facilities and capacity to demonstrate outstanding UK products to potential domestic and international customers and investors.
This structure will be led by the SIDC Leadership and Operations Team. This team will ensure that the centre is linked into all relevant initiatives and funds across Government. It will manage and drive the programme and measure the benefits of the projects, maximizing exploitation of the capabilities developed.
As Home Office try to unpick their budget agreement and cascade down the implications for individual programmes, we await final confirmation on whether these activities will be funded. However, we continue to work to deliver what we can with the resources we have and should be able to communicate in the New Year about where we are and how the UK security sector can get involved.