As the final instalment of the Defence Equipment & Support Oral evidence session takes place in the House of Commons, our CEO Kevin Craven writes on the importance of enhancing the current system to secure the UK’s advantage at home and abroad….
Improvements to the MoD’s Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) have been welcomed by industry. Structured professional interfaces (including the Defence Growth Partnership, Defence Suppliers Forum and the Strategic Suppliers Program) and engagements like the Ukraine Study Days work well, while early market engagement has been welcomed alongside greater transparency and increased clarity of requirements.
While many of our 1,200 members report on a positive experience with how the MoD deals with industry, there are still opportunities for improvement that would be strongly welcomed. These include…
- A closer strategic partnership to strengthen performance and embed a cultural change in industry-government collaboration. Where existing collaboration opportunities have been leveraged already, the benefits have been hugely apparent.
- Increased long-term certainty on capability requirements and funding to allow for effective industrial production and planning – it goes without saying that financial stability goes hand in hand with an understanding of the government’s future requirements to be an important feature of a successful operating environment.
- Consistent application of social value considerations. Inconsistent application undermines the principle and makes the concept less effective.
The UK’s defence industry is generally highly innovative, agile and responsive to ongoing requirements. Indeed, the UK’s defence industry provided £9.8 billion of value add to the UK economy last year.
For both industry and government to thrive in an increasingly competitive international environment for exports and secure the UK’s advantage by developing the technologies of tomorrow, the operating and financial environment must be based on long-term planning and collaboration.