Defence Secretary commits to working with small and medium-sized businesses

gavin williamson boosts SME investment


In December 2017, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson unveiled his three-pronged strategy that will refresh defence’s Industrial Policy.

During his speech at the UK Defence Solutions Centre in Farnborough, Mr Williamson said that the defence sector is “industry’s biggest customer” and that the Government is “committed to exporters and small and medium-sized businesses to ensure they and our military remain the envy of the world”.

New year, new strategy

Although the MOD is making great progress with previous objectives, Gavin Williamson has revealed that plans have been enhanced. The Defence Secretary, who took the position in autumn last year, has three main focuses:


  • The first focus is to improve how defence delivers wider economic and international value, as well as national security objectives. The Government plans to introduce a pilot, which will try an innovative approach to delivering these benefits.


  • Secondly, the MOD wants to continue to build international relationships after many valuable agreements. Last year the Defence Secretary had success in Qatar signing a £6bn export deal for 24 Typhoon aircraft.


  • Lastly, the defence sector will stand by SMEs, opening up the market and making it easier for companies to do business with defence.


SMEs reach government spend

The purpose of this refresh is to adjust the industry conditions so that the market can be “internationally competitive, innovative and secure”. This will allow more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to do business with defence.

Defence contracts promote SME interests, helping many businesses to grow and expand their employee numbers. In total, £18.7bn was spent with British companies in 2017, which supported over 121,000 jobs in the UK.

As mentioned, the Government is already succeeding in opening up the defence sector to small businesses: the MOD has increased spend with SMEs by 10% in 2017 compared with 2016, and the department aspires to place 25% of direct and indirect defence procurement with SMEs by 2020, rising from 18.1% in 2015/16.


Gavin Williamson appointed new Defence Secretary – MOD-DCO

Prime Minister Theresa May has named Gavin Williamson as the new Defence Secretary following Sir Michael Fallon’s resignation. Mr Williamson is the MP for South Staffordshire, having served the constituency since the 2010 election. Prime Minister Theresa May appointed him Chief Whip following her victory in the Conservative leadership election.

It is estimated that over 700 SMEs throughout the UK supported the build of the latest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.

These opportunities are promoted both via the MOD DCO portal and the @defenceproc Twitter account. Both platforms provide a range of useful information for new and prospective suppliers.


Find International Defence Contracts

After recognising the vital role that UK businesses play within defence procurement, the Defence Secretary hinted that the defence sector will continue to expand. He said that:

“As Britan faces intensifying threats, it is crucial that our brave Armed Forces personnel have the warships, jets and missiles they need to defend the country”.

This means that now is an excellent time to sign up to Defence Contracts Online as our platform is designed to connect public sector suppliers and buyers.

If you are already a MOD DCO customer and are looking for international defence contracts, you can find out more about DCI (Defence Contracts International).


Doing business with the MOD

There are many benefits to doing business with the MOD. The shift to online portals has meant that many businesses are discovering contracts relevant to their business that they would never previously have had the chance of accessing.

The Government procures everything from military fighting vehicles to education services, which means there are opportunities for almost all types of businesses in the UK.

If you would like to learn more about doing business with the MOD, you can attend industry days that help to connect defence buyers and suppliers. Networking may also open potential for sub-contracting opportunities.

Would you like to register as a supplier? Find out how DCO can help your business.


Boosting UK-US Defence Exports: Stuart Baird [video]

UKTI DSO is the organisation that helps UK defence and security industries export their products to countries worldwide.

Working in UKTI, UK Vice Consul for Trade and Investment, Homeland Security Stuart Baird focuses on the American market. Here Mr Baird talks to the then Defence Contracts Bulletin Magazine Editor Paul Elliott about the opportunities for UK defence exporters in the USA.




As defence is one of the world’s largest markets, organisations of any size can and already do successfully win new business and form strong partnerships with some of the world’s leading public and private companies.

To gain a share of this spend, you need to ensure you have access to the right intelligence to understand the market, exactly what you will receive with DCO.

Register for DCO now.

Advising UK Defence Exports: Richard Freeman [video]

UKTI DSO is the organisation that helps UK defence and security industries export their products. It works to maintain relationships with overseas governments to promote British defence and security products, as well as collaborating with MOD and industry to ensure defence and security products have export potential.

Here the then Defence Contracts Bulletin Magazine Editor Paul Elliott speaks to UKTI DSO’s Senior Police and Security Advisor, Richard Freeman, about how DSO helps UK firms export defence solutions.




As defence is one of the world’s largest markets, organisations of any size can and already do successfully win new business and form strong partnerships with some of the world’s leading public and private companies.

To gain a share of this spend, you need to ensure you have access to the right intelligence to understand the market, exactly what you will receive with DCO.

Register for DCO now.

Cyber Essentials Explained: Ian Kerr [video]

Ian Kerr On 1 October 2014, Cyber Essentials certification became mandatory for suppliers bidding for government contracts involving sensitive or personal information. The certification became mandatory for defence contracts at the start of 2016. Here Defence Contracts Bulletin Editor, Paul Elliott, speaks with ID Cyber Solutions Managing Director, Ian Kerr, about the scheme’s significance to suppliers.
Cyber Essentials is a scheme that tackles the increase in online threats to national security, by ensuring better online protection among the suppliers that sell to government.
Here ID Cyber Solutions Managing Director Ian Kerr explains:
Why businesses should invest in cyber security.
Common areas of business vulnerable to cyber attack.
 How Cyber Essentials can help suppliers beat their competition.

Leading the way in public sector procurement, DCI is working with ID Cyber Solutions and the UK MOD to offer Cyber Essentials Accreditation through its portal.

For more information on Cyber Essentials click here.


SMEs can thrive in Defence: Jim Pennycook [video]

Jim PennycookThe UK Ministry of Defence spends approximately £23bn on the procurement of goods and services with industry each year, making it one of the UK’s single largest buying organisations. At DPRTE 2016, MOD DCB Editor Paul Elliott met with Centre of Defence Enterprise (CDE) Head of Operations, Jim Pennycook, to discuss the opportunities this market presents to SMEs.

Defence buying isn’t restricted to military supplies and materiel; its contracts include transferrable technologies such as civil transport, research and development, blue light services, cyber security solutions, and communications to name but a few.

It’s no surprise then that Dstl’s Centre of Defence Enterprise seeks to engage with suppliers of all sizes to provide its goods and services. Here Mr Pennycook explains:

How SMEs can engage with CDE.

And what CDE seeks from its SME suppliers.



As defence is one of the world’s largest markets, organisations of any size can and already do successfully win new business and form strong partnerships with some of the world’s leading public and private companies.

To gain a share of this spend, you need to ensure you have access to the right intelligence to understand the market, exactly what you will receive with DCO.

Register for DCO now.



Budget 2016 Review

Budget 2016 ReviewThe UK Budget 2016 saw a continuation of the Conservative Government’s commitment to austerity, with a further £3.5bn of efficiencies forecast to be made by 2020. However the Chancellor also outlined measures to boost business growth; here BiP Solutions reporter Julie Shennan examines their implications.

Justifying the Budget cuts, Chancellor George Osborne explained that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had reduced its 2016/17 forecast for UK GDP growth to 2% (down from the 2.4% growth rate predicted in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement).

This reduction in growth forecast was explained as a result of ‘global uncertainty’, to which Mr Osborne said the Government would react with ‘sound public finance’, aiming to get the UK into a budget surplus by 2019/20.

More specifically, the Chancellor outlined plans to:


  • Reform the business tax system;
  • Devolve power to local communities; and
  • Commit to national infrastructure projects.



Mr Osborne’s business tax system reforms include:

  • Supporting a £1bn tax break for the oil and gas industry, including abolishing Petroleum Revenue Tax.
  • Cutting business rates for all small businesses that occupy property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less, as of April 2017.
  • Cutting Corporation Tax to 17% in 2020.
  • Scrapping Class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs) for self-employed people from April 2018, meaning that the self-employed only have to pay Class 4 NICs if their profits are over £8,060 per year.
  • Class 4 NICs will also be reformed so self-employed people can continue to build benefit entitlement.
  • Introducing a tapered rate of relief on properties worth up to £15,000.
  • Reducing Capital Gains Tax from 28% to 20%, and the basic rate from 18% to 10%, as of 6 April 2016.
  • Adding an 8 percentage point surcharge to be paid on residential property and carried interest (the share of profits or gains that is paid to asset managers).
  • Maintaining National Insurance on redundancy payments above £30,000, from April 2018.
  • Changing stamp duty rates for commercial property from 17 March 2016, so that tax bands will be 0% for the portion of the transaction value up to £150,000; 2% between £150,001 and £250,000, and 5% above £250,000.
  • Reduction of stamp duty for buyers of commercial property worth up to £1.05m.
  • Introducing a new 2% stamp duty rate on leases with a net present value over £5m.


Tax Avoidance Crackdown

Mr Osborne also outlined plans to raise £8bn over the next five years by closing the loopholes which allow large companies to legally avoid tax. He plans to do this by:

  • Capping relief on interest payments at 30% of UK earnings (with exceptions for groups with legitimately high interest payments).
  • Legislating against hybrid mismatching tax avoidance.
  • Taxing outbound royalty payments better – increasing multinationals’ UK tax payments.
  • Tackling suppliers storing goods in Britain and selling them online without paying VAT.
  • Ensuring offshore property developers are taxed on their UK profits.



 Just as Mr Osborne said he was making UK taxes work for UK businesses, he said he would put the power to spend those taxes into the hands of local governments. This means:

  • Devolving local government business rates by the end of the Parliament.
  • Starting the devolution of business rates in London, with the deadline of April 2016.
  • Backing elected mayors in Manchester, Liverpool, Tees Valley, the North East and Sheffield and the West Midlands.
  • Establishing mayors across English counties and southern cities.
  • Transferring new criminal justice system powers to Greater Manchester.
  • Introducing a single powerful East Anglia combined authority, headed up by an elected mayor and almost £1bn of new investment.
  • Agreeing a West of England mayoral authority and pledging almost £1bn to the region.
  • Giving Greater Lincolnshire new powers, new funding and a new mayor.


  • Implementing a new fiscal framework in Scotland.
  • Negotiating a City Deal for Edinburgh.


  • Devolving new powers to the Welsh Assembly.
  • Starting a £1bn City Deal for Cardiff.
  • Negotiating a City Deal for Swansea and a Growth Deal for North Wales, so it’s better connected to the Northern Powerhouse.


  • Planning the devolution of Corporation Tax in Northern Ireland.
  • Enhancing capital allowances to the enterprise zone in Coleraine.


National Infrastructure

To back this ‘devolution revolution’, the Chancellor laid plans to boost national infrastructure by:

  • Approving development of High Speed 3 between Manchester and Leeds.
  • Commissioning Crossrail 2.
  • Finding new money to create a 4-lane M62.
  • Developing the case for a new tunnelled road from Manchester to Sheffield.
  • Upgrading the A66 and A69.
  • Accepting the Infrastructure Commission’s recommendations on energy and on London transport.
  • Setting out measures to speed up the planning system, zone housing development and prepare the country for the arrival of 5G technology.
  • Increasing the standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax by half a percentage point, and committing the £700m extra revenue raised to flood defence spending.
  • Backing flood defence schemes for York, Leeds, Calder Valley, Carlisle and across Cumbria.
  • Backing community development grants projects from Truro to Hull.
  • Extending the Cathedral Repairs Fund with an extra £20m.

Concluding his Budget 2016, George Osborne said it put ‘the next generation first’. With business rate relief, infrastructure investment and plans to strengthen devolution it is also a budget which supports businesses of all sizes, across all sectors, in the immediate months and years ahead.

Welcome to MOD DCO Free Webinars: A new way to win more business with DCO!

tick_stxA6D9We are delighted to launch a new programme of DCO webinars designed to help you win more business with MOD DCO. We kicked off our new webinar schedule on Wednesday 30 October, and with an outstanding response from DCO free registrants eager to optimise their use of DCO our first webinar was fully booked!

DCO registrants joined our defence contracts sourcing expert Barry to explore how the MOD is helping suppliers win more business, to discover where the MOD plans to spend £160bn in the next 10 years as detailed in the Department’s Equipment Plan, and importantly to learn how to optimise DCO to search for contracts and win more business.

Webinar attendees were then given the chance to ask their questions and have them answered by our experts; some of these questions are detailed below.

Q: How does DCO differ from the Government’s Contracts Finder website?

A: MOD DCO is the only official source of MOD contract opportunities. MOD commercial staff create, submit and advertise their relevant tender and contract notices valued at £10,000 and above on the MOD DCO portal, therefore DCO is the first and only official publisher of MOD contract opportunities over £10,000.

Q: In the awarding authority option box what is the word or phrase that should be used to receive only MOD contracts?

A: MOD DCO is designed to help you optimise your business, therefore during your search you may see examples of contracts that are suitable for your business outside the MOD. However, if you only wish to view MOD contract opportunities then within the awarding authority option box enter: “MOD”, “DE&S” and “defence”.

Q: If you have a question about a contract on offer, who do you contact – the company offering the tender directly or DCO?

A: If you have any questions regarding a contract on offer then please speak to the awarding authority detailed on the contract. However, our defence contract sourcing experts are on hand if you require any assistance – email:

Q: What is the difference between MOD DCO and the Defence Contracts International portal?

A: MOD DCO provides you with access to all MOD contract opportunities over £10,000. However, Defence Contracts International (DCI) provides you with all the content available on DCO PLUS access to further defence and security industry contracts including the aerospace, aviation, counter terrorism, emergency services, homeland security and humanitarian aid sectors in the UK, Europe and Globally.

If you missed out on our first DCO webinar you have another chance to join the conversation. With only a limited number of places available register today to avoid disappointment:

MOD DCO WebClinic: Create a Winning Alert Profile 3rd November 2020 - 11:00

DCI WebClinic: How to Find and Win New Defence and Civil Business 17th November 2020 - 11:00

MOD DCO WebClinic: Create a Winning Alert Profile 1st December 2020 - 11:00

DCI WebClinic: How to Find and Win New Defence and Civil Business 8th December 2020 - 11:00

Are you ready to win more business with MOD DCO?

Improve your defence procurement knowledge at DPRTE 2013

DPRTE 2013Summary: The agenda and keynote speakers have been announced for this year’s DPRTE 2013 event, displaying the breadth of defence procurement knowledge and expertise available to discover at the event.

The Ministry of Defence and MOD DCO are joining forces at the Defence Procurement Research, Technology and Exportability event 2013, which takes place on 20 November at the UWE Bristol Exhibition and Conference Centre. Come meet decision makers from the MOD at Stand G69.

Defence knowledge and expertise

DPRTE 2013 represents a unique opportunity to engage directly with the defence procurement community, in addition to understanding the latest initiatives and opportunities that are currently taking place within this evolving and highly lucrative marketplace.

Recognising that innovation is born of knowledge, DPRTE 2013 will host a series of innovative workshops to facilitate knowledge transfer and support our ethos of continuous learning and collaboration.

Understand the defence procurement market

Facilitated through four dedicated Knowledge Transfer Zones, the workshop schedule will provide suppliers with an unrivalled opportunity to enhance their knowledge and understanding in relation to the defence procurement marketplace.

Keynote speakers for this year’s event include: Steven Morgan, Director Commercial Operations, DE&S; Richard Brooks, Programme and Delivery Director, Dstl; and Richard Blake, Deputy Head Commercial, Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).

In addition, the event will host exclusive Knowledge Transfer Zones: Business Growth & Export; Prime Contractor Supply Chain; Research & Technology; Buyer Procurement  Excellence.

Click here to register to attend DPRTE 2013 and take advantage of the wealth of expertise on offer.

Increase your success with MOD at DSEI!

Crowd | Defence Contracts InternationalSummary: At this year’s DSEI event, the MOD will partner with Defence Contracts Online and Defence Contracts International to give you an insight into how to increase your success in winning defence contracts.

DSEI is the world’s largest fully integrated defence and security exhibition, bringing together the entire industry to source the latest equipment and systems, develop international relationships and generate new business opportunities.

DCO, DCI and the MOD will co-host Stand S10-470 where you can meet MOD decision-makers and purchasing authorities. In addition, DSEI will give you the opportunity to see first-hand how to get the most out of your contract searches and how to uncover more opportunities for your business.

With limited-availability one-to-one sessions with our expert Business Growth team available and competitions on offer throughout the three-day event, visiting us at DSEI could turn out to be a worthwhile investment for your organisation.

Based in ExCeL, London on 10-13 September, the event provides unrivalled access to key defence and security markets across the globe.

See you there!

The defence market does not end with the MOD

business_7557451XSmlSummary: Alison Campbell from Defence Contracts International (DCI) looks at the defence opportunities available to businesses beyond the UK Ministry of Defence.

The UK Ministry of Defence represents a huge market opportunity for any business – not just the big main players. From computers to catering, boots to batteries and sportswear to satellites, the MOD requires the services of businesses of all shapes and sizes.

However, the defence market does not end with the MOD. If your business can sell to the MOD, just think of the opportunities available to you throughout the entire defence industry, both in the UK and worldwide. Not only does the defence industry embrace the aerospace, aviation, counter terrorism, emergency services, homeland security and humanitarian aid sectors, but you could also sell to almost any defence ministry in the world as well as the UN and NATO. The opportunities are endless.

As a supplier you are situated in a very competitive environment so don’t limit yourself, branch out within the defence industry, geographically and to non-defence buyers. It’s the organisation that can supply its products and services across the marketplace that can and will place itself one step ahead of its competitors.

And why restrict yourself to just the defence and security industry when there are countless non-defence buyers out there crying out for your business? Just think – local government, central government, health, education, social housing and the third sector could all use your products and services, not to mention the numerous research councils and similar organisations worldwide.

If you are currently selling to the UK MOD there is no reason why you could not and should not be selling to any of the sectors above, from the UK to Europe to worldwide. The world really is your oyster as a defence supplier.

But how will you ever find out about all these opportunities? Do you start trawling the internet now? Employ a whole team of staff with industry, regional and tender experience? Start working 24/7?

Or why not allow your tailored contract opportunities to find you as they are published? Why not gain access to the largest tender database in Europe? And why not let an expert team of researchers do all the work for you? Now that would be good – and what’s more there is actually a product out there that does exactly that!

Defence Contracts International (DCI) is the leading source of defence and security related contracts worldwide. As well as containing all of the above, DCI has many more features that could benefit any business. Visit DCI for defence contracts and MOD and defence procurement news.