The Labour Party Shadow Defence team commissioned an independent Review Team to study issues relating to UK defence procurement. This report is the conclusion of their work and will be submitted to the Labour Party policy review for consideration. The recommendations will be studied by the Shadow Defence Team and will inform their contribution to the policy review, led by Liam Byrne and reporting Ed Miliband in 2012.
The Review Team consulted over 30 organisations, as well as figures from academia, former and current senior military personnel from our allies overseas, international business figures, politicians and the general public. Meetings were also held overseas to collate evidence with our international allies.
The report’s recommendations are ideas for the future intended for further examination and debate.
At the launch of the document Jim Murphy MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, said:
“This review has sought to learn from the experiences at home and abroad. It is clear in its assessment about how things could change and addresses the problematic issues with procurement, some of which have existed over decades and different governments’ terms in office. It is a mark of the report’s success that it explores systemic and widespread issues in forensic detail.
“The starting point of this exercise was simple: defence is vital for our nation and effective procurement is essential for our defence. British Forces, British industry and British jobs depend on defence procurement.
“This exercise shows that even in Opposition Labour can be the party of the centre with fresh ideas and real energy, which is essential for us to be the party of government again.”
The report’s recommendations aim to:
- Balance the defence equipment budget by extending the planning horizon, taking politics out of procurement and giving certainty to industry and the Services;
- Prevent waste and slippage in cost and time estimates by setting clearer targets for delivery, for both industry and the MoD, and being prepared to cancel contracts which over-run;
- Develop a defence industrial strategy, in particular supporting UK industry to ensure it retains key sovereign capabilities;
- Set world class standards in the design process, making exportability as new test of value;
- Prioritise delivery of fit for purpose equipment on time to the frontline, ensuring the exquisite is not the enemy of excellence;
- Professionalise procurement by providing better training and career paths, giving real power to the experts;
- Establish a culture of consequences and improve project management by making DE&S a Non Departmental Public Body;
Consultation on this document is being led by Alison Seabeck MP, Shadow Minister for Defence Equipment and Procurement. Alison would be grateful to hear any thoughts you may have on the findings and ideas in this document.
Alison can be contacted at: Alison.firstname.lastname@example.org