23 May 2011 | Lindsay Clark
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is engaging with suppliers early to innovate in
housing maintenance and management contracts to be awarded next year.
The defence procurement teams have been using supplier
events to explain how the new contracting process will work, as well as
gathering ideas for improvements.
Around 90 businesses that have expressed an interest
in managing, maintaining or supplying the UK’s 49,000 military homes through
the new National Housing Prime contract, which could be worth up to £1.5
billion, attended one such event which took place earlier this month.
The end-to-end contract could, for example, allow
suppliers to manage all repairs up to £1,000 for a fixed fee upfront, rather
than billing for individual jobs, project manager Colonel Bill Morris told SM.
“The more the MoD get in the way of what the
contractor should do for the customer, the more we add cost and delay into it,”
he said. “What we want to do is get the contractor to do the majority of the
work in a more automatic manner, [so] we don’t have to interfere with them. For
that, we need to make sure the work is divided up and specified correctly and
we can delegate the risk, where it’s appropriate, to the contractor.
“If we contract out little bits individually … you can
see that process is mucky and open to having our bureaucratic footprint on it,”
It would be up to the contractor to run a helpdesk and
determine whether the repair job was worth doing, based on agreed criteria. The
MoD would then check that assurance programme “rather than checking all the
jobs individually”, Morris said.
By inviting suppliers to provide input, the MoD hoped
“to get a better contract and a better content for the contract”.
The event also allowed potential prime contractors to
talk to small and medium-sized businesses that could form part of the
subcontracting supply chain, he said.
The National Housing Prime contract will be awarded in
late 2012, and will run from April 2013 for five years initially, with the
option to extend it by a further five years. It is estimated to be worth up to
£1.5 billion over 10 years, depending on which services are included and on
whether the contract is extended.