DEFENCE – REFORM OF DEFENCE PROCUREMENT – 10 December 2013
Dr Julian Lewis: This is a sensible decision, but one of the perennial problems with defence procurement under successive Governments has always been the way in which specifications for what is to be procured are changed by Ministers and especially by the military along the journey. Will the new model be any more capable of coping with that perennial problem than any of the previous iterations?
[The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Philip Hammond): Yes. I hope we have already made good progress on this issue by introducing a much more disciplined boundary between DE&S and the customers, but the intention of setting up the body as a central Government trading entity is that there will be a hard boundary between it and its customers. We will be able to move – much more quickly, in fact, than we would with a GoCo – to a hard-charging regime, where the customer pays for the cost of the changes he is imposing. In my judgment, when front-line commands hold their own budgets and have to pay the cost of making a change, there is nothing more likely to cause them to think twice about making such changes.]