HC Deb 29 February 2000 vol 345 cc208-10W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what impact the 10-year partnering deal between BAe and his Department had on the decision on the CHARM contract; and if he will make a statement; [111455]

(2) what conditions were specified for the competition to supply CHARM munitions as regards providing fixed and firm proposals; if all the bids met those conditions; and if the final decision was based on a fixed-price solution; [111459]

(3) what assessment he has made of the value for money offered by the contract with BAe to supply CHARM munitions; and if he will make a statement; [111457]

(4) for what reasons the declared non-compliances in Portsmouth Aviation Team's proposals relating to the CHARM contract were not raised during the Phase 1 negotiations in time to enable a compliant bid to be prepared for Phase 2; and if he will make a statement; [111456]

(5) what provisions have been included in the contract for the supply of CHARM munitions to cover the possibility of BAe being unable to design and manufacture to the price offered; and if he will make a statement; [111458]

(6) what account was taken of (a) scheduled BAe plant closures and (b) BAe' s past performance and costs when determining the award of the CHARM contract; what assurances were requested on these matters; and if he will make a statement. [111462]

Dr. Moonie

This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Procurement Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Sir Robert Walmsley to Mr. Michael Hancock, dated 29 February 2000: I am replying to your questions to the Secretary of State for Defence about the CHARM 3 Training Round contract. This matter falls within my area of responsibility as Chief of Defence Procurement and Chief Executive of the Defence Procurement Agency. The decision on the CHARM 3 Training Round contract was taken following a fair and open competition. The 10 year partnering arrangement recently agreed between MOD and BAe (Royal Ordnance) was negotiated separately and had no impact on the outcome. The CHARM 3 Training Round competition was conducted in two phases. For reasons of intellectual property rights, limited information regarding the performance requirement was released to bidders during the first phase. In response to the proposals received during phase one the technical specification was revised for the second phase of the competition and further, more detailed technical information on the Challenger 2 armament system was released. It was therefore only possible to judge the extent of the technical compliance of the bids (including that from Portsmouth Aviation) at the end of the second phase. The contract proposals were assessed against the standard criteria of technical compliance, performance whole life cost and value for money which apply to all MoD contracting. The competition specified that proposals were to be based on firm prices. Final bids when received met the firm price criterion and the contract will be awarded against a firm price proposal. The terms and conditions of the contract for the supply of the CHARM 3 training Round will be those contained in the Invitation to Tender. These include standard contractual conditions to safeguard the Department's interests in the event of breach of contract or default by the contractor. BAe (Royal Ordnance) have been selected as the preferred bidder because their bid best met the requirement. The contract will be awarded subject to agreement of satisfactory terms and conditions, independently of any consideration of scheduled BAe plant closures. Past performance was considered at the ITT stage of the competition in the usual way. The contract will clearly state the time cost and performance standards that this contract will have to meet.

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