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Defence Sub-Committee launches inquiry into MOD equipment procurement process

26 January 2023

The Defence Sub-Committee launches an inquiry into Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S)

DE&S is an arm’s length body of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), which manages a range of defence equipment and service purchases for the UK’s armed forces. This inquiry will examine the strengths and weaknesses of DE&S, as well as its effectiveness and efficiency. It will also ask what can be learned from the UK’s history of defence procurement and our current international comparators.

The deadline for written evidence is Friday 31 March 2023.

Chair of the Sub-Committee on Defence Equipment and Support, Mark Francois MP, said:

“From ships and armoured vehicles, to aircraft and weaponry, DE&S holds responsibility for major defence procurement programmes. This is a role fundamental to our defensive posture and capabilities.

“The Defence Committee has repeatedly questioned the Ministry of Defence’s woeful track record when it comes to procurement and the department’s equipment and services programme was labelled ‘broken’ by the Public Accounts Committee.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should serve a warning to the UK. With war raging in Europe, our Armed Forces are potentially left vulnerable without the right equipment.

“This inquiry will place DE&S under the microscope, examining the agency’s strengths and weaknesses. It will ask how effective our current approach to procurement is and whether we have the necessary skills and incentives. We’ll also look to lessons from the past and overseas to establish what more we can do to improve the DE&S’ performance.”

The Committee welcomes written evidence on one or more of the following points:

  • What are the strengths and failings of DE&S’ current approach to defence procurement? Does it deliver value for money to the taxpayer?
  • How effective and efficient is DE&S? What can be done to improve DE&S’ overall performance?
  • What has been the impact of DE&S on the effectiveness of defence operations?
  • What lessons can be learned from the UK’s recent history of defence procurement?
  • What can the UK learn about defence procurement from international comparators? Which countries have a particularly strong model and track record and what can the UK learn from them?
  • Does DE&S have the right set of skills and incentives to succeed in its tasks?

The Sub-Committee welcomes written submissions from all interested parties. However, the Sub-Committee would be particularly grateful to receive submissions from those with direct experience of working with DE&S itself, whether within MOD and the Armed Forces or the defence supply chain. The Committee normally publishes written evidence that meets parliamentary rules. Please state in your submission if you wish for the Committee to keep it confidential or to anonymise it before publication.

Form of written evidence:

Submissions should be no longer than 3,000 words. The main body of any submission should use numbered paragraphs. Each submission should contain:

  • a short summary, perhaps in bullet point form;
  • a brief introduction about the person or organisation submitting evidence, for example explaining their area of expertise or experience;
  • any factual information from which the Committee might be able to draw conclusions, or which could be put to other witnesses;
  • any recommendations for action by the Government or others which the submitter would like the Committee to consider for inclusion in its report to the House.

Submissions should be in malleable format such as MS Word (not PDFs) with no use of colour or logos.

Guidance on submitting written evidence and data protection information is available here: Guidance on submitting written evidence.

Deadline for submissions

The Committee is asking for initial written evidence to be submitted through the Committee’s web portal by 31 March 2023.

Further information

Image: MoD/Crown copyright