New tender opportunities in Defence?

The Defence white paper released on 1st February 2012 has some important news for bid writers. Notably, it raises the possibility that the MOD will be procuring from a much wider range of sources than they had been previously. The paper states:

“Wherever possible, we will seek to fulfil the UK’s defence and security requirements through open competition in the domestic and global market, buying off-the-shelf where appropriate”

It is debatable how far this aim will be met. It will meet resistance from both vested interests in the defence industry and a number of powerful arguments about the practicalities of defending the nation using equipment sourced from outside. This makes it difficult for bid writers to predict exactly how MOD tenders will work in the future.

The MOD has made some more concrete initiatives of interest to bid writers. The threshold for advertising tendering opportunities has been reduced by 75% to £10,000 and they can now be found on Contracts Finder. Internal guidelines are being changed to ensure that PQQs produced by SMEs are not rejected on the basis of rigid turnover-to-contract value ratios without proper assessment of companies’ actual capacity and potential. This, along with the new Defence Suppliers Forum might present new tendering opportunities for bid writers in the future.

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