MOD must become ‘intelligent customer’

MOD must become ‘intelligent customer’

Prospect, the union representing 15,000 civilian specialists in the Ministry of Defence has welcomed the department‘s Green Paper setting out the issues to be addressed by the Strategic Defence Review following the general election.

Prospect National Secretary Steve Jary said: “The Green Paper sets out the challenges that are likely to face the UK in the future and how they can be met. The question is whether MOD can change in order to meet its new objectives.

“Although we welcome MOD’s commitment to the role of civilians in defence, the department must carry through their words with deeds and take on board the concerns over outsourcing identified by Prospect and other experts. These include the Gray Report, with its proposed reforms to the defence acquisition process and the recommendations of the Haddon-Cave report into the Nimrod disaster, which identified outsourcing of MOD activities as a significant contributor.

“It is our belief that MOD must refocus its procurement processes in order to reinvigorate its role as an intelligent customer. Continued cuts to the civilian workforce will hinder attempts to achieve this and will have a detrimental effect on front line capability,” said Jary.

Prospect says the Prime Minister may pledge to protect big ticket projects, like the two new aircraft carriers and the Joint Strike Fighter, by ring-fencing them. “Although this will bring some comfort to the UK defence industry it will create even greater pressure on the department to find savings elsewhere,” said Jary.

He added: “The department must tackle the inter-service rivalry which has been held partly responsible for problems over huge cost overruns and delays to parts of the defence equipment programme. Equally it must look carefully at the scope for the civilianisation of posts occupied by military staff within the department – and at twice the cost of civilians.

“Lessons must be learned and quickly if MOD wants to face the military challenges of the 21st century and be in the right place with the right equipment and people so that it can meet those challenges.”