Redstone Risk Sponsors ConservativeHome Defence & Security Conference

Redstone Risk were proud to be the lead sponsor of the ConservativeHome Defence and Security Conference, in Westminster.

John Louth, our Strategic Advisor and co-author of our new report Unwrapping the Riddle of Defence Acquisition in the United Kingdom, was a member of a distinguished panel that included:

  • Alex Chalk MP, Minister for Defence Procurement
  • Tobias Ellwood MP, Chair, Defence committee
  • James Sunderland MP, Chair, Armed Forces Bill committee

The discussion was chaired by Dr Sarah Ingham, Author of ‘The Military Covenant’.

The panel discussion, titled: ‘Procurement priorities: equipping our armed forces for the future’, explored the current and future needs of the UK’s armed forces, and how we can ensure they are equipped to defend against global security threats. You can watch the panel discussion here:

John Louth offered up insights from our joint report to discuss the future direction of defence procurement, how new and emerging technologies may help to tackle new and emerging threats and how the Ministry and their partners need to adopt more flexible and resilient risk-based management practices to mitigate the risk of sub-optimal procurement. This argument was presented as  time critical when John pointed out that “now is not the time to be sub-optimal” and Tobias Ellwood, MP seemed to agree, proposing that “there is a sense of urgency now because of what’s coming over the hill”. The point being that we need to get procurement right, and that change needs to happen quickly.

Central to John’s, and our, thesis is the premise that “UK Defence procurement freezes requirements far too early” and that doing this on a procurement programme with a total lifecycle that can be up to 50 years is “barking mad”.

Alex Chalke, MP and Minister for Defence Procurement echoed these remarks (in slightly more ministerial language) by proposing that we should move away from “procuring a product” to “procuring a pipeline… recognising that the very product you are seeking to obtain will iterate and develop”.

The Minister also argued that “We can no longer be in a world of stop start procurement…we have to move to always on” and “We have to get much more alive to the risk that comes from delay”.

According to the Minister, there are 2 major “buckets” of risk to consider when procuring for Defence:

  1. Will it have the capability you need
  2. Will it come on time

These arguments chime with our experience of working on over £20bn worth of Defence procurement programmes, and our risk-based, outcome-focussed approach to project controls. This approach, termed ‘The Redstone Way’, is described in detail in our report.

It was refreshing and entirely positive to hear the Minister highlight that “time is a vulnerability”, when considering our experience and expertise in delivering Quantitative Schedule Risk Analysis on major programmes.

Following the panel discussion, Ben Wallace, MP, Secretary of State for Defence, delivered a keynote address and a Q&A focussing on what he has “set out to do”, namely, “Reform defence, unlock money and budget and prepare us for the world that’s ahead.”

These areas of focus for the Secretary of State, are all underpinned by successful procurement of defence capability, which the Redstone Way helps deliver.

Download our report:

Desktop: Unwrapping the Riddle of Defence Acquisition in the United Kingdom


Mobile: Unwrapping the Riddle of Defence Acquisition in the United Kingdom (Mobile)

Images Source: ConservativeHome

Gareth Day

Gareth is a Senior Consultant at Redstone Risk Ltd, helping make risk information useful in uncertain and complex environments. Gareth has over 8 years' experience providing expert risk management and analysis services to major projects, programmes and bids across the defence, nuclear and construction sectors.