Jim Armitage: MoD should beat a retreat on this sell off
Jim Armitage is the City editor of The Independent and London Evening Standard group of newspapers. He has been a reporter and editor for more than 20 years and was recently shortlisted for the Press Gazette financial journalist of the year and The Society of Editors financial journalist of the year awards. He contributes news, investigative reports and comment to the Independent titles plus a daily column in the Evening Standard.
Friday 13 September 2013
Outlook The Ministry of Defence's privatisation of the Defence Equipment and Support organisation really should be stood at ease while the Government rethinks.
It seemed a good idea at first: contract out to an expert private company the buying of military kit and services, rather than see the generals continually fleeced by the arms and support industries.
Tendering for this new role has begun, but the bidding has been far from enthusiastic. The trouble is, these are often complicated procurements with a high chance of going wrong for the contractor doing the buying – both in terms of profitability and bad publicity.
Profit-wise, it's hard to stack up because the military will retain the final power to specify the precise kit it wants. So shaving costs by doing away with the military's demands for unnecessary bells and whistles will be difficult.
As for the risk of bad PR, decent potential bidders have often already got other, more lucrative, MoD jobs on. They don't want to jeopardise those with the potential failure of this risky new one.
Such are the risks that bidders have decided to hold hands in consortia rather than go it alone.
But those groupings seem fairly unstable too. The US engineer KBR and Britain's Qinetiq pulled out of early-stage teams, while engineers CH2M Hill and WS Atkins are both trying to encourage their partner Serco to drop out of their consortium because they don't want to be tainted by the ankle-tagging scandal.
Let's beat a retreat on this privatisation before it resembles the charge of the Light Brigade.
- 1 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
- 5 We have six months to save the world, says leading economist
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Sepp Blatter resigns: FBI are investigating outgoing Fifa president, claims report
Alton Towers crash: Four seriously injured and 16 guests trapped as Smiler ride carriages collide
Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...
£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...
£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...