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Defence: Procurement

Defence written question – answered on 14th December 2011.

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Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) how many sole-sourced procurement contracts have been awarded in the last 10 years; which companies were invited to tender; where those companies are based; and what the value of the contract was;

(2) how many sole-sourced procurement contracts went over budget in each of the last 10 years; and by how much each such contract went over budget;

(3) what the cost to the public purse was of sole- sourced contracts that went over budget in each of the last 10 years shown as a proportion of his Department’s (a) procurement budget and (b) budget.

Photo of Peter Luff Peter Luff The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

An estimated 59,700 new sole-source contracts were awarded between financial years 2001-02 and 2011-12, with a total estimated value of £53.6 billion. The other information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The detailed regulations governing the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) sole-source procurement arrangements are currently being reviewed by the MOD, and the noble Lord Currie of Marylebone has recently published his independent review of these arrangements. The conclusions, which are currently under consideration, include as a key requirement improved collection and analysis of data and financial information on all our sole-source contracts. This will ensure that the MOD is better placed to respond to such requests in the future.

The National Audit Office (NAO) undertakes an annual review of major Defence equipment projects, a proportion of which are sole-source. As an example, the NAO’s 2010 Major Projects Report included analysis of a number of sole-source contracts—Type 45 destroyer, Queen Elizabeth Class carrier and Lynx Wildcat helicopter. The NAO reports are available on its external website at:

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