Funding to support armed forces charities during pandemic

The Defence Minister Johnny Mercer has announced extra funding to support frontline armed forces charities across the UK.

Serving personnel, veterans and their families will benefit from an additional £6-million of new funding to ensure they get the support they need during the coronavirus outbreak, announced by Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer.

This sum is part of a package of support announced by the Chancellor in April to ensure charities can continue their vital work during the pandemic. It will be offered in addition to existing funding for veteran’s mental health and the Armed Forces Covenant Trust.

The funding is available to apply for and will be distributed in the form of grants administered by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, backed by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Cabinet Office, and will be given to charities across the UK that work in nine key areas affected by the impact of the coronavirus.

These include:

  • support to the elderly (including Care Homes)
  • mental and physical health
  • welfare
  • domestic violence
  • housing
  • criminal justice system
  • service families (including childcare)
  • bereavement
  • employment

The latest funding is in addition to the £10-million the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust received in the budget for support to veterans’ health and wellbeing and the annual government contribution of £10-million for the Covenant Fund, £3-million of which has already been protected for veterans particularly affected by the coronavirus.

The announcement follows the recent launch of two platforms specifically designed to support the defence community. Veterans’ Gateway, an app with 24-hour point of contact for support with finances, employment, relationships and physical and mental health, and HeadFIT, a new platform, spearheaded by The Duke of Sussex launched with online tools to help defence personnel take a more proactive approach to their mental health and fitness.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said: “At such a difficult time I want to make sure our people, including those still serving, veterans, and their families, know they’re not alone.

“Military charities do a fantastic job in supporting this community and today’s important new investment will ensure that they have the funding they need to continue their brilliant efforts.”

The funding is part of comprehensive measures to support vulnerable people through the pandemic and the government is working closely with councils, charities and other partners to ensure they get the support they need. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has led the allocation of funding to support charities providing key services to help vulnerable people during the crisis.

Small and medium sized charities can also bid for funding through the National Lottery Community fund, which has an allocation of £370-million to support the sector.

The application process will be published on Covenant Fund Trust, and a separate decision-making board will be established to decide where the funding is best allocated. The board will include representatives from MOD, the Cabinet Office and COBSEO, the sector body for Armed Forces charities.

MOD at DPRTE 2019: Improving Industrial Engagement

The MOD is determined to harness the advantages of opening up its supplier base by making it easier for SMEs to do business with defence by removing the challenges faced by those companies looking for work with the defence sector. 

Speaking at Defence Procurement, Research, Technology & Exportability (DPRTE) 2019, Jim Carter, Commercial Director, Supply Chain at MOD, outlined how the Department was moving ahead with plans to improve its industrial engagement – including its new SME Action Plan. 

The MOD’s SME Action Plan, launched at the end of March, outlines how it will improve its procurement spend with SMEs through working with major suppliers to remove barriers and improve access to opportunities for doing business with defence.  

Jim says: “The MOD is the largest procurement organisation in central government. We manage some of the most complex and technologically advanced requirements in the world. 

“One of our key messages is that we are going to need a deeper collaboration with our supply chain and be ever more demanding.” 

The MOD is looking to improve its commercial relationships across all aspects of the supply chain, starting with its prime contractors through its Strategic Partnering Programme. 

Jim explains: “Strategic partnering is about a refreshed approach to delivering improved performance with some of our very largest suppliers. 

“The objective is about making us more joined up as a customer. It is a complex landscape, so for both MOD and supplier having coherence and consistency in terms of that is key, but then it’s about driving tangible improvements in contractual performance to deliver mutual benefits to both organisations.” 

With the Strategic Partnering Programme very much concentrating on individual relationships, the Defence Suppliers Forum (DSF) looks at how the MOD can improve as a collective industry. 

Chaired by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, the DSF acts as the major conduit for MOD-industry relationships and includes representatives from prime contractors, international companies and SMEs.  

The DSF, which has recently undergone a refresh, brings together suppliers throughout the defence supply base with a focus on three themed areas of development: Capability, International & Innovation; People & Skills; and Commercial Enterprise Acquisition. 

Jim comments“The DSF is a central mechanism for the MOD and industry to work together on strategic change to support a joint vision developed together with industry.” 

Jim is keen to point out that overloading the industry with SMEs is not the solution to the challenges defence is facing, but that the MOD is seeking instead to ensure organisations of all sizes – preferred contractors, mid-tiers and SMEs alike – are being engaged to their optimal potential. 

“One of the fundamental shifts we have made is that we want this to be a really inclusive structure. We’ve probably fallen into the trap of saying, ‘We have a real challenge with SMEs  what we should do is fill the room with them and then we will solve that problem.’  

“We’ve realised that’s not going to crack it and it’s not going to crack it across this whole structure. We are trying to be much more inclusive in terms of our prime suppliers, our mid-tiers, our SMEs and our trade associations and bring them together.” 


This new vision for inclusivity was epitomised by an SME forum run by the MOD at the end of January. 

The Defence SME Forum, chaired by Minister for Defence Procurement Stuart Andrew, gives SMEs an opportunity to share their views and experiences of working in defence. 

MOD at DPRTE 2019: Improving Industrial Engagement

Jim says: “It was a much richer conversation – the outputs were much clearer because undoubtedly this is something we are going to have to tackle together.” 

The forum, in conjunction with dialogue with trade associations and surveys, will be used to gain a greater understanding of the challenges SMEs face when doing business in the defence supply chain. 

The SME Champion programme is another endeavour where the Department hopes to achieve this ambition. 

Each of the 19 Strategic Suppliers has appointed an SME Champion to help change behaviours and share good practice to improve engagement with SMEs. 

Jim notes“This is a new approach to tackling this issue and encourages the primes, through these SME Champions, to be the conduit into the SME market and have plans and targets themselves around SME usage.” 

The MOD’s SME Action Plan credits the strategy for helping achieve one of the best response rates for the FY 2017/18 indirect spend survey, and actively supporting wider government work on SMEs led by the Cabinet Office. 

The programme received a positive response in the recent meeting of the Defence SME Forum.  

Jim explains: “We had a really successful DSF SME conference at the end of January with the Secretary of State for Defence and the Minister for Defence Procurement; having that inclusive approach with the SME Champions was really effective and we had great feedback in terms of that event.” 

Going forward, the MOD will continue to work with the SME Champions to improve access to opportunities for SMEs. 

Another tool being used to make it easier for innovators, SMEs and non-traditional suppliers to do business with defence is Defence Contracts Online (DCO). 

DCO is the official source of MOD contracts, providing a one-stop shop for information on contracting opportunities, market engagement events, support to innovation and exports. 

The online resource recently underwent a refresh that has increased the functionality of its supplier portal to enable suppliers to advertise supply chain opportunities and reach a wider audience. 

Feedback on the new functionality has so far been extremely positive with both Boeing and RollsRoyce recently signing up to the service. 

Speaking at DPRTE’s Supply Chain & Partnering Zone, Caroline Hose from the MOD’s Strategic Supplier Management Team said the DCO brand was well recognised in the industry, with Boeing in particular being very pleased with their experience. 

DCO’s new sub-contracting advertising facility will be a key element in the MOD achieving its target of 25% of direct and indirect spend going to SMEs by 2022. 

Jim explains: “Our supplier portal is a real gateway into our activity through DCO and we’re working with our major suppliers to encourage them to advertise their supply chain opportunities too.  

“We are absolutely committed to the target of 25% of spend with SMEs by 2022. That is why DCO is so important in that it highlights those opportunities deeper within the supply chain, because that figure won’t be achieved obviously with our direct procurement. 

Our analysis reveals supply chains of eleven or twelve tiers in some instances, so there are significant opportunities out there.” 

MOD’s Jim Carter: Modernising the defence supply chain

The MOD is the largest procurement organisation in central government, managing some of the most complex and technologically advanced requirements in the world, with an annual procurement spend of more than £20 billion per year.  

But there are strategic challenges to be addressed if we are to sustain delivery of effective military capability in a challenging financial climate, and maintain our contribution to national security and prosperity over the long term. This is why we have embarked upon an ambitious programme of change and improvement, which will help us to deliver our vision of a vibrant, sustainable and competitive UK industrial base. I am proud to be leading a number of initiatives under our Modernising Defence Programme (MDP), as we seek to adopt a more collaborative and demanding approach to our relationship with industry.  

As part of this, we have reviewed our Strategic Supplier Management approach, to deliver improved performance with our most strategic suppliers; delivering better value for money and key prosperity objectives, and mitigating supply chain risk. In addition, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Champions have been appointed within our strategic suppliers, and their role is to help shape our strategy for engagement with SMEs. 

MOD's Jim Carter on modernising the defence supply chain

Simultaneously we’re seeking to reframe our collective engagement with industry. We’ve jointly developed a 2025 Defence Industry Vision, and are re-designing our Defence Suppliers Forum structure with Ministerial leadership to realise a step change in cooperative delivery. I’ve been personally delighted with the engagement in these initiatives, including working closely with industry via round table events to explore the challenges and opportunities of working within the defence sector. Across MOD and industry there is universal support for improving both performance and engagement, and a real appetite to see these important changes implemented – and succeed. 

But that’s not all. We also want to encourage innovation and will continue to pursue policies and practices that make it easier for new and smaller businesses to do business with defence. For example, we have recently introduced new functionality to our Defence Contracts Online portal to enable sub-contracts to be advertised, and we are encouraging our major suppliers to make use of this facility to improve visibility of opportunities. We have also engaged with our major suppliers and asked them to report SME spend through their supply chain, and we will continue this on an annual basis. We have also refreshed our SME Action Plan and intend publishing this early in the New Year; this will include pathfinder projects which will demonstrate effective strategies to encourage wider SME participation throughout our supply chain. 

For information about doing business with defence, visit and follow us on Twitter @defenceproc. 

Jim Carter, Commercial Director Supply Chain, Ministry of Defence

How to Win New Defence and Civil Business

win MOD contracts with DCO


Are you currently bidding for work with the Ministry of Defence and would like to improve your approach? DCO and DCI hold regular WebClinics that give defence suppliers an opportunity to interact with defence procurement experts and learn how to prosper in this lucrative marketplace.

The next event is Defence Contracts International’s WebClinic “How to Find and Win New Defence and Civil Business”, which will take place on 16 October.


Defence and security marketplace

UK defence and security organisations work with a range of suppliers. The MOD alone spends up to £20 billion on the procurement of goods and services with industry each year.

The Defence Equipment Plan has already set out what will be spent over the next decade, and security is one aspect of that.

During the How to Win New Defence and Civil Business webinar, a defence procurement expert will provide an overview of the wider defence and security marketplace. Attendees will also be given the opportunity to ask any questions they have about the marketplace at the end of the session.


Improving your approach

There are many ways you can improve your approach to finding MOD and other public sector contracts – this will also be covered during the session.

Whether you are new to procurement and need to sign up for free DCO contract alerts or want to engage earlier with defence buyers and are unsure how to – our defence expert will discuss a number of options that will improve your approach.


Free Registration

Would you like to find opportunities within the defence, security, and counter-terrorism related projects?

Discover “How to Win New Defence and Civil Business” during the next DCI webinar. This session will take place on 16 October at 11 am and is free to attend.


Learn more about defence procurement at DPRTE



Today, we will be attending the UK’s premier defence procurement at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena.

If you are attending the Defence Procurement, Research, Technology and Exportability (DPRTE) exhibition, you will find us at the Defence Procurement Pavilion alongside:

  • Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S)
  • Information Systems and Services (ISS)
  • Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO)
  • Front Line Commands (Royal Navy, Army, RAF)

What’s on?

1500 key decision makers will attend this event, many from the Government and military. On the day, Andrew Forzani, Chief Commercial Officer, UK Ministry of Defence, will be one of five Keynote speakers. The Keynote presentations will run until 12:35, giving delegates time to attend training sessions and workshops in the afternoon.

The year’s event will have five Knowledge Transfer Zones and six Network & Collaboration areas. The Knowledge Transfer Zones for 2018 include:

  • Technology and Innovation
  • Export and Business Growth
  • Supply Chain and Partnering
  • Buyer Excellence in Procurement
  • Doing Business with the US Department of Defense

View the full agenda for the event here.


MOD Buyer Engagement Village

Would you like to find out more about defence procurement? Visit the MOD Buyer Engagement Village.

At this year’s DPRTE, delegates have the chance to engage directly with buyers and suppliers, network with colleagues and make new contacts and connections.

Make sure that you arrive early at this event as appointments for the MOD Buyer Engagement Village will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Time slots will be allocated on arrival at the event at the entrance to the MOD Buyer Engagement Village.


US Department of Defense

We are delighted to welcome representatives from the US Department of Defense (DoD) at this year’s event.

Representatives from the DoD team will be attending the event, offering advice to UK defence suppliers that would like to win more work in the world’s largest defence procurement marketplace.

If you are interested in working with the DoD, a “Doing Business with the United States Department of Defense” seminar will be held in the Export and Business Growth Zone at 1pm.


MOD Guide to Defence and Security

If you are not attending this year’s DPRTE but you are interested in working with the MOD, you can learn more by purchasing the MOD Guide to Defence and Security 2018.

The MOD Guide is essential reading for any supplier that wants to work with the defence sector. This extremely valuable resource highlights key industry trends and contacts for 2018.

Buy MOD Guide

A Breakdown of Planned Defence Expenditure 2018

Defence Secretary UK


In 2016 the UK budget for defence sat at £35.3bn, making the UK’s the fifth biggest defence budget in the world. The UK has continued to meet the NATO commitment to spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence each year. In addition, the Government is committed to increase defence spending by at least 0.5 per cent above inflation in each year of this Parliament.

What is the MOD spending money on?

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

In total, defence expenditure in 2016/17 was £35.3bn. That makes the UK spend per person on defence in 2016/17 £538 (the third highest in NATO). Of this total, defence procurement spend was over £19 billion.

Currently the DIO (Defence Infrastructure Organisation) spends £3 billion each year buying infrastructure services. A new budget for this type of expenditure will be published in the DIO 2018 Procurement Plan, which is due to be released in March.

Planned expenditure 2016-2026

A recent Government report has stated that the planned expenditure on equipment and support between 2016 and 2026 is currently sitting at £178bn.

The UK Defence in Numbers report has included a breakdown of the spend:

Submarines – £44.0bn

(all Submarines and Atomic Weapons Establishment)

Combat Air – £18.0bn

(e.g. Typhoon, Tornado, F-35)

Ships – £19.0bn

(e.g. T45s, T26s, Queen Elizabeth Carrier, Support Shipping)

Air Support – £16.6bn

(e.g. Voyager, A400M, C130)

Helicopters – £10.6bn

(e.g. Merlin, Apache, Chinook)

Land Equipment – £19.1bn

(e.g. AJAX and personal equipment)

Weapons – £13.5bn

(e.g. Air and sea launched missiles)

Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition & Reconnaissance – £4.6bn

(Air traffic management and multiple small programmes)

Where in the UK is defence spending money?

Past figures can suggest which regions receive the most money from the MOD. MOD spent £18.7bn with UK industry in 2015/16. This means that, per capita, MOD spent approximately…

Yorkshire & The Humber: £40
Northern Ireland: £50
West Midlands: £100
East of England: £140
North East: £150
North East England: £150
East Midlands: £190
London: £200
Scotland: £280
Wales: £280
North West England: £290
South East England: £570
South West England: £810


MOD regional expenditue 2015 2016

What jobs are funded by the MOD?

It is estimated that MOD expenditure with UK industry in 2015/16 directly supported 1 in every 200 jobs in the UK. The breakdown of this includes:

Technical, Financial Services & Other Business Services (including R&D, Equipment testing, Education and Healthcare)

42,800 jobs

Shipbuilding and Repair

19,250 jobs

Other Manufacturing

10,100 jobs

Aircraft and spacecraft

7,150 jobs

Weapons and Ammunition

5,950 jobs


5,900 jobs

Increase in spending with SMEs

In the latest MOD report ‘Industry for Defence and a Prosperous Britain: Refreshing Defence Industrial Policy’, current Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed that the MOD would continue to spend with SMEs.

The report stated that the goal is to place 25% of direct and indirect defence procurement spend with SMEs by 2020, compared with the 18.1% total in 2015/16.

Become an MOD supplier

Are you interested in doing business with the MOD? Join our free webinar on 20 February 2018 and learn how to win contracts in both the private and public sector. You can also register as a supplier today for free.

Register now

MOD Supply Chain Advocates: Sim Carswell [video]

MOD Supply Chain Advocates are being embedded across the Department to work with existing and new defence suppliers; providing impartial advice and guidance on doing business with the authority.

Here MOD Defence Contracts Bulletin Features Editor, Julie Shennan, speaks with MOD Supply Chain Development Advocate, Sim Carswell about how suppliers can optimise the service.




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.

UK Defence Innovation: Simon Luck [video]

Innovation is key to boosting defence capabilities, a fact of which leading engineering, science and technology consultancy firm BMT is well aware.

Here BMT Head of Information, Simon Luck, talks to the then Defence Contracts Bulletin Magazine Editor Paul Elliott about the opportunities for innovation in the UK defence supply chain.




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 Attraction: David Prince [video]

Here the Defence Contracts Bulletin Magazine Editor Paul Elliott speaks to Schillings’ Direct and Head of Cyber, David Prince, about evolving cyber threats.



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

ASTi to deliver T4/SERA for RAF helicopter training programme

Advanced Simulation Technology Inc (ASTi) is to deliver equipment to be installed on a suite of full-fidelity CH-47 Mk6 Chinook helicopter weapons system trainers for the Royal Air Force.

ASTi Telestra 4 and Simulated Environment for Realistic ATC (SERA) systems will equip two flight-deck trainers and one cabin trainer with critical audio and communications capabilities. These trainers can operate in standalone or integrated modes.

ASTi’s SERA system generates artificially intelligent (AI) entities representing air traffic controllers, other aircraft and pilots who all communicate in the same simulation. Using SERA’s advanced speech recognition, pilot trainees can interact with AI controllers through all phases of flight training. This technology can replicate regional accents and eliminates the need for additional staff role players. The result is a truly immersive and fully automated ATC and external radio environment for enhanced aircrew training.

Telestra 4 operates seamlessly with SERA, providing a comprehensive communications environment and high-fidelity aural cue sound model for the CH-47. In addition to eight radios, the Telestra 4 system includes full military navigational aids, missile warning systems and more. The sound model for the Chinook accommodates a wide variety of audio-sound effects. These effects include harmonics for multiple drive shafts and transmissions unique to the tandem rotor helicopter.