14 May 2009 | Martha McKenzie-Minifie
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) supply chain is still struggling to get equipment to frontline troops on time, according to the latest report by the National Audit Office (NAO).
On average just 57 per cent of the MoD's deliveries to Afghanistan and 71 per cent to Iraq have met supply chain deadlines since July 2007, the study, Support to High Intensity Operations, found.
Overall supply chain performance was improving, with the amount of time a unit waits for items to be delivered reducing by about a half in Afghanistan and a third in Iraq, but there were still "real improvements" the MoD could make said NAO chief Tim Burr.
It recommended the MoD alleviate pressure on the supply chain by integrating its logistics information systems - including consignment and asset tracking - so users on operations could see what stock was already available at different locations and track progress of deliveries and stock availability in the UK.
The report also examined accommodation, medical, welfare and other services. The MoD approved £4.2 billion to upgrade or buy new equipment to meet urgent requirements in Afghanistan and Iraq and the availability "generally met or exceeded targets".
Burr said the department had had a number of successes, "particularly in providing life-saving medical treatment".
Armed Forces Minister, Bob Ainsworth MP, said the report was positive and provided clear indications of "where we are performing well and where we could improve".
He said: "It is clear about the challenges and pressures faced by the MoD and the balances that need to be struck between prioritising our forces serving on the frontline and providing the best possible equipment for training purposes."
A separate study by the Public Accounts Committee, the MoD Major Projects Report 2008, is due to be released tomorrow.