COVID-19 – Requests for MOD Supplier Relief

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact across all sectors of the UK economy. The Government has made available extensive support to UK firms and their employees to mitigate the worst effects. These, combined with the other consequences of the economic downturn, have put significant pressure on the public finances. Whilst the Ministry of Defence (MOD) recognises that Defence suppliers have not been immune to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no further public money available to alleviate the pressure it has caused. This means that any impact on performance, cost or time on Defence contracts will have potential adverse consequences on delivery of the Defence Programme.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, MOD has received requests for relief from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on performance, cost and time of MOD contracts. MOD is engaged in discussions with some suppliers regarding their requests for relief.

If suppliers have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and they believe they may be entitled to relief in terms of performance, cost or time from MOD, they are requested to submit to the central team DefComrcl-COVID-19@mod.gov.uk details of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of performance, cost or time.

Attached to this notice here is a set of evidential criteria against which evidence must be provided this includes: agreement to act on an open book basis; a description of mitigations taken (or an explanation of why alternative sources of relief etc. were not taken); and on what basis you believe MOD should be agreeing to bear any part of the COVID-19 impact in terms of performance, cost or time. MOD accepts no liability to provide any relief in respect of performance, cost or time in respect of any such submission and it will be received and considered by MOD without any commitment on its part.

The central team will need to be provided with full details and relevant supporting evidence in respect of any relief relating to the impact of COVID-19 for the period up to 31 December 2020, ideally by Friday 22 January 2021 and no later than Friday 29 January 2021. In respect of any relief from the impact of the COVID-19 from 1 January 2021 submission should be made within 21 days of first becoming aware of the impact.

The central team will work with you to ensure that they understand any information submitted to MOD. They will then conduct subsequent discussions with you about what relief could be reasonable in the circumstances. All discussions will be without commitment.  The request for relief will then be considered through the normal approval.

Evidence Requirements

Changes to MOD Procurement after the end of the Transition Period

With the end of the transition period now less than two weeks away, it is very important that your business is ready for our new relationship with the EU.

If you haven’t done so already, use the simple tool on GOV.UK/transition now to understand the comprehensive changes for your business, and for a personalised summary of the actions you need to take.

The way that opportunities to supply the UK public sector are advertised is about to change. From 23:00 on 31 December 2020, we will publish information on public sector contract opportunities in the UK, on the new Find a Tender Service (FTS)

FTS is free to use and replaces the role of Tenders Electronic Daily, the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU/TED) for procurements in the UK.

FTS will work alongside MOD Defence Contracts Online (DCO), until it is replaced with the Defence Sourcing Portal (DSP) next year. All legal and policy requirements to advertise opportunities on the DCO, and on the DSP once it has been delivered will not be affected by these changes.

FTS will also work alongside existing procurement portals such as Contracts Finder, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI which can be used to access a wide range of opportunities to supply the public sector.

Existing Contracts Finder account holders will be able to use the same login credentials for Find a Tender. You can register now in preparation for its launch on 31 December.

If you wish to access public sector contract opportunities in the EU, you may continue to do so via OJEU/TED. Information about procurements launched by UK contracting authorities before 23:00 on 31 December 2020 will be available via OJEU/TED or the existing portals mentioned above. Further guidance is available here.

Wireless Communications, Networking & Information Theory for Defence Symposium

Dstl will host the first Wireless Communications, Networking & Information Theory for Defence Symposium on the 12th January 2021 in collaboration with IEEE and wider MOD/UK Gov.

We will be hosting the event online and it will commence with a keynote speech from Brig Adam Corkery, Head of Information Services at Army HQ.

The symposium is intended to create a forum to drive research and innovation in wireless communications – both as a critical enabler for future defence capability and to develop and promote UK academic and industrial capability.

The event is open to all.

Full details are in the attached agenda and you can register your interest at; wirelesscommssymposium@dstl.gov.uk

Also hosted on the IEEE website at the following address;

https://www.ieee-ukandireland.org/event/wireless-communications-networking-information-theory-for-defence-symposium/.

I encourage you all to register your interest and to pass onto colleagues to register their interest (and research associates/PhD students) as far and wide as possible as it should be a very interesting technical day, with very engaging presenters (some of which are on this distribution).

For information, once we have received an e-mail to the above address, your registration will be logged (all we need is the e-mail, name and organisation) and a Webex meeting request along with the password will be sent to you in the first working week of January.

Click here for more information about the event – including timings and agenda.

Delivering Social Value in Defence

Delivering Social Value in Defence Contracts 

The Cabinet Office have published Procurement Policy Note PPN 06/20 ‘Taking Account of Social Value in the award of Central Government contracts’ and supporting guidance which requires Social Value to be explicitly evaluated in all central government procurements, where this is relevant and proportionate to the subject-matter of the contract. From 1st January 2021, Central Government Departments will take account of Social Value when awarding contracts subject to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, with a phased implementation period for procurements subject to the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011, to ensure the Social Value model is fully embedded by 1st June 2021.

Suppliers should expect to see a requirement within tender documentation to include Social Value in procurements subject to both PCR15 and DSPCR11 from 1st January onwards. Where applicable, a minimum of 10% of the overall tender evaluation weighting must be allocated to social value criteria.

ADS Supplier Training

ADS will be hosting a webinar to provide information to members on the new Social Value requirements.  There will a representative from the Cabinet Office and MOD Commercial Policy who will provide an overview of Social Value and the impact of this new policy.  The session is on the 14th December 2020 between 11:00 and12:30 For further information please click here.

 

National Security and Investment Bill

NATIONAL SECURITY AND INVESTMENT BILL

 

  1. On 11 November, the Business Secretary introduced the National Security and Investment (NSI) Bill to Parliament, which will provide the government with new powers to screen investments. The Bill will enhance our national security and reduce the UK’s current vulnerability to hostile foreign investment. It will also give businesses and investors a clear and predictable process, so that they can continue to do business in the UK with confidence.

 

  1. The Bill marks the culmination of the process that began with the 2017 Green Paper on the National Security and Investment Review. It will replace the national security elements of the Enterprise Act 2002 by creating a stand-alone national security investment screening regime. The Bill will:

 

  • establish a requirement for companies and other entities operating in sensitive sectors of the economy to seek authorisation for specific types of transactions;
  • create a voluntary notification system to encourage notifications from parties who consider that their transaction or other acquisition may raise national security concerns (where the business in question is not one of those automatically required to notify);
  • enable the Secretary of State to ‘call in’ statutorily defined transactions or other events to undertake a national security assessment (whether or not they have been notified to the government); and
  • have the power to apply remedies to address risks to national security, sanctions for non-compliance with the regime and the mechanism for legal challenge.

 

  1. Following Bill introduction, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published related material which is included in the links below. The links include a consultation on the 17 sectors identified as sensitive, which include the ‘Defence’; and ‘Military and Dual-Use’ Sectors.

 

  1. In advance of the NSI legislation being implemented, the Government welcomes informal representations from businesses about transactions which may be in scope of the NSI regime. By contacting investment.screening@beis.gov.uk, businesses may get advice on what to expect from the regime to assist in business planning.

 

NSI Bill Links

 

The Bill and overview/explanatory notes: https://services.parliament.uk/Bills/2019-21/nationalsecurityandinvestment.html

Bill documents, factsheets and consultations: NSI Bill Landing page

Bill documents, statement of policy intent and Impact assessment: NSI Bill overarching docs

Bill factsheets – Process for Businesses: NSI Factsheets

Government response to its consultation on proposed legislative reforms:    Gov response to White Paper

Consultation on proposed mandatory sectors and definitions: Sector consultation page

Check Change Go – Is your business ready for the 1st of January?

End of transition period: Check Change Go

The transition period is ending on 31 December and there will be no extension. Time is running out; Defence suppliers act now to prepare for our new relationship with the EU.

You can find out what actions you may need to take by visiting gov.uk/transition and using the checker tool. If you do not take action, there is a risk your business operations will be interrupted.

To support business preparations, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is hosting free webinars to help you check the new rules and understand the actions to take. All previously recorded webinars are available on demand now.

For the latest transition information direct to your inbox, sign up to the Transition Readiness Business Bulletin here.

Trader Support Service

The Northern Ireland Protocol comes into force on 1 January 2021.

There will be changes to the way goods move between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

If you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland the Trader Support Service will guide you through any changes due to the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Sign up: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/trader-support-service

The way you hire from the EU is changing

From 1 January 2021, the UK will introduce a points-based immigration system that will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and transform the way in which employers recruit internationally.

Regardless of the nature of our future trading relationship with the EU, from 1 January there will be guaranteed changes for businesses:

You will need to be a licensed sponsor to hire eligible workers from outside the UK. This normally takes 8 weeks and fees apply. Check your business is eligible.

New job, salary and language requirements will apply to anyone that you want to hire from outside the UK. Check that the people you want to hire will meet the requirements for coming to the UK for work.

The new system will not apply to hiring Irish citizens, or EU citizens already living and working in the UK who are eligible under the EU Settlement Scheme.

MOD Team Hersa competition

Team Hersa, the MOD Centre of Excellence for Laser and RF Directed Energy Weapons (DEW), are looking to better understand the environmental impact of directed energy weapons.  To that end they will shortly be running a competition for a Carbon Footprint Study which will conduct an initial appraisal of the carbon footprint that DEW have the potential to generate through life.  This will be released through the Weapons Sector Research Framework (WSRF).  Those companies interested in participation who are not signed up to WSRF should contact WSRFdelivery@qinetiq.com immediately for further information on the process.