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Warships: Procurement

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on competitive tendering for (a) warship and (b) Royal Fleet Auxiliary refits; and for what reason only one bidder is being allowed to enter the reverse auction for the refit of HMS Scott. (203199)

[holding answer 1 May 2008]: Competition policy for refits and docking periods (upkeeps) for legacy complex warships was suspended in 2006. Since then, the Surface Ship Support Project has been exploring a wide range of support options to deliver sustainable, efficient and affordable support for these vessels.

For Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships, one-off competed contracts are currently placed for upkeep work. However, in order to achieve greater value for money, a Through Life Support Strategy has been developed that will result in contracts being placed based on a five-year maintenance cycle. These contracts are being competed and are due to be placed by late summer 2008.

For HMS Scott’s next docking period, a competition was initiated with the expectation that the tendering process would culminate in a reverse auction. Four companies were invited to tender in late 2007, but two subsequently withdrew. Following a full evaluation of the two remaining tenders, only one was compliant. Since at least two compliant tenders are required to proceed with a reverse auction, it is intended to complete the competition process with the remaining tenderer alone.