DE&S provides the intelligent customer function for Defence procurement including expertise in examining and drawing up contracts to ensure that they offer value for money whilst delivering the required defence capability. The proposal to contractorise DE&S will remove this intelligent customer function and risks causing a similar but far larger problem than occurred in the education sector where budgets were devolved to schools which lacked the necessary expertise in understanding, drawing up and managing contracts.
The result for schools is a laptop that has a price of between £350 and £400 the school was charged £3,750. Another example is a school that had to pay nearly £500,000 to settle a lease on behalf of one school for photocopiers worth just £45,000. It is interesting to consider what the situation will be for the taxpayer with much larger contracts in the defence sector.
It is suspected that because of contractorisation safety and environmental aspects of procurement will either be exploited by companies to increase the cost to taxpayer of defence systems or given a low priority.
Transparency and openness of defence procurement will be significantly reduced as the Freedom of Information Act does not apply to commercial undertakings as will accountability to Parliament.