Yesterday, ADS hosted a members’ roundtable event with Conrad Bailey, Director for Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) and Defence at the Cabinet Office, providing industry with a valuable opportunity to present its priorities for the review’s implementation in the months ahead.
INDUSTRY REACTION TO THE SDSR
ADS welcomed the SDSR as ‘a well-conceived and pragmatic response to the new and challenging threats to our national security’. The Government’s focus on innovation, support for exports, SMEs and refreshing the 2012 industrial policy has been well received by the UK defence and security industries. So too has the commitment to recognise the contribution industry makes to the country’s economic and national security.
Both of these sectors make a significant contribution to the UK economy, delivering high-skill jobs and high-tech exports. In 2014 the UK Defence and Security sectors combined generated a turnover of £30bn, including £12bn from exports, and directly employed 215,000 people.
Overall, the 2015 SDSR was comprehensive and ambitious. As with all strategies, however, the proof in the pudding will be the implementation.
KEY INDUSTRY PRIORITIES FOR IMPLEMENTING THE SDSR
Industry have identified the following themes and priorities for the SDSR’s implementation:
- Shaping industrial policy and sector strategies – this will include shaping the recalibration of the existing defence industrial policy and counter terrorism strategy, as well as helping to develop the new innovation and ship-building strategies.
- Enhancing support for exports – supporting the new Government-to-Government unit established within DSO and wider departmental relationships, and working with departments to determine how exportability can be incorporated into procurement decisions.
- Understanding and helping to shape the new innovation landscape – ensuring that the new innovation initiatives (including the Defence and Cyber Innovation Fund, the Emerging Technology and Innovation Analysis Cell, the defence and security accelerator and the two new cyber centres) complement the work of existing mechanisms, such as the UK Defence Solutions Centre (part of the Defence Growth Partnership) and the Security Innovation and Demonstration Centre (part of the Security and Resilience Growth Partnership).
- Promoting and supporting SME access and engagement – contributing to the Red Tape Challenge, engaging with the Supply Chain Champion in the MOD, using Growth Partnerships to make it easier for SMEs to bid for defence and security contracts, and helping to ensure the transparency of future requirements and the simplification of procurement processes.
- Identifying opportunities from additional funding – determining how additional funding outlined in the SDSR will impact industry, and how industry can engage with government to ensure new funding provides the best opportunities and incentives, which in turn will ensure that government gets the maximum value from investment.
Building upon the constructive engagement in the run-up to the SDSR, industry hopes to work with the Government in the coming months to help inform and successfully deliver the commitments outlined in the review.