Doing Business with Defence - Opportunities and Innovation in the Defence Supply Chain

Doing business with defence

Helpful advice and information about supplying to the MOD can be found in this brochure, including information about MOD organisations, what we procure, and where to find contracting opportunities.

It is a great source of information for suppliers looking to do business with the MOD. You can access the brochure here.

Procurement at the MOD

Who we are

The MOD is one of the biggest public procurement organisations in Europe, managing some of the most complex and technologically advanced requirements in the world. Our customers include our Armed forces and national security agencies, buying everything from military fighting vehicles to education services and all kinds of facilities management services.

Our aim

To ensure that our customers are provided with the best capabilities to enable them to protect the UK’s security and to advance the UK’s interests, both now and in the long term; and in doing so, to obtain the best possible value for money for the taxpayer.

What we do

We support our Armed Forces by providing world-class solutions for delivering national defence and security for the UK whilst ensuring the best possible value for the taxpayer.

Our procurement activity covers a very wide range of requirements, including:

  • Technology: cloud and digital, network services, software and technology products and services
  • Equipment and Support: ships, submarines, aircraft, vehicles, weapons, missiles, commodities and support (maintenance and repair)
  • Infrastructure: construction, hard and soft facilities management, property consultancy.

Why choose us

We believe that the variety of our procurement activity coupled with the size of our spend makes defence an attractive place to do business.  However, we recognise that the size of the department can be daunting for prospective suppliers, and especially smaller businesses working with us for the first time.  To address this, we have launched a number of initiatives to make life easier for our suppliers:

  • We’re making it easier for smaller businesses to find opportunities and compete for contracts using Defence Contracts Online, our refreshed supplier portal and our twitter channel @defenceproc
  • We’re committed to continuously developing our commercial expertise and seeking innovative solutions for our customers in the armed forces.
  • We’re making our procurement simpler and more transparent, we’ve introduced two simplified plain English short contract forms for use in low value, less complex procurements.
  • We advertise our requirements widely and use several channels to help suppliers access public sector contracts detailed below.

Spending more with SMEs

We recognise SMEs have a great deal to offer in promoting economic growth.  We are working to help SMEs, including social enterprises and charities, gain a greater share of defence related business.

We are improving access to our market for new, innovative suppliers and particularly smaller businesses. We want at least 25% of our procurement spend to go to SMEs both directly and indirectly by 2022.

The MOD’s SME Action Plan explains the measures which we will take to improve our procurement spend with SMEs by working with our major suppliers to remove barriers and improve access to opportunities for doing business with defence.

MOD SME Action Plan

Government SME Guide

You may wish to read this guide for small and medium-sized enterprises by Emma Jones, Small Business Crown Representative and the Crown Commercial Service. This contains useful guidance on what to expect when selling to Government and top tips on how to bid for and win Government contracts.

Please noteThis guide is intended for Government-wide suppliers and therefore does not include the following Defence-specific points:

  1. The single online portal for Defence Contracts is Defence Contracts Online
  2. Pre-Qualification Questionnaires (PQQs) are still employed for Defence Contracts under the £100,000 threshold in certain circumstances.

Prompt Payment Policy – are you ready?

Read our latest announcement here to find out more

How we procure

Overview of a typical competition


The European Union Procurement Regulations drive UK law for public sector procurements and alongside MOD procurement policy provide the overarching control framework for all procurements.

This means that, as a public sector organisation, we procure in a different way to industry, and we do not operate preferred supplier lists.  We use competition as the default position, we set objective tender selection criteria, we are fair and transparent and will be held accountable for procurement decisions in a way the private sector is not.  Our principles include non-discrimination (on grounds of nationality), equal treatment (of all suppliers), transparency (act in fair and non-discriminatory manner), mutual recognition (of equivalent documents and standards).

Our procurement activity is consistent with the CADMID (Concept, Assessment, Demonstration, Manufacture, In-Service, and Dispose) cycle.

Where to find contract opportunities

We advertise tender and contract opportunities valued over £10,000 in the Defence Contracts Online (DCO) portal. Access and registration to the MOD’s opportunities in the DCO portal is free of charge. We are also encouraging our key suppliers to advertise sub-contracting opportunities here, but suggest you also engage with cefence contractors’ websites to seek sub-contracting opportunities.

We also advertise our tender and contract opportunities widely. We use the government’s ’Contracts Finder’ portal; here central government departments and other public bodies advertise tender and contract opportunities valued at £10,000 and above. Access to Contracts Finder is free of charge; the best way to access this is through DCO.

Our contract opportunities which fall within the scope of EU Public Procurement Regulation thresholds are additionally advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

Requirements with a value of less than £10K are not normally advertised; MOD procurement teams undertake a market survey and select suppliers based on the best value for money.  We are taking steps to encourage major suppliers to advertise more sub-contracting opportunities on the DCO going forward, and you will also be able to access those opportunities.

Want to know more?

The Doing Business with Defence team facilitates the entry of new, innovative and non-traditional businesses into the defence supply chain. The team provide advice and guidance to companies on how to become a defence supplier and access MOD tender and contract opportunities through a variety of channels.  These include:

  • A Helpdesk facility (email:
  • Attendance at trade exhibitions across the UK where they will deliver presentations on request,
  • Hosting of webinars on how to access MOD opportunities
  • Publication of various sources of useful information via the DCO supplier portal and Twitter channel @defenceproc.

Contact details:

Doing Business with Defence

Spruce 3B, #1301

MOD Abbey Wood


BS34 8JH

Telephone: 0151 242 2000

Supplier Code of Conduct

The Supplier Code of Conduct outlines the standards and behaviours that the government expects of all its suppliers.

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