Botched defence plan cost millions of pounds

HRH Princess Anne attended HMS Collingwood's ceremonial divisions inspected the guard, presenting awards and takeing the salute from gathered Royal Navy Personal. Picture: Keith Woodland

Princess Anne pays tribute to ‘vitally important’ Royal Navy during trip to HMS Collingwood 

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A botched project to outsource defence procurement cost taxpayers £33m - and questions remain about the value for money of its replacement, a spending watchdog has said.

The Ministry of Defence dropped attempts to set up a government-owned, contractor-operated (GoCo) model for buying military equipment in 2013 after all but one private bidder withdrew.

It settled instead for turning Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) into an arm’s-length body responsible for securing £14bn of kit and support each year on commercial lines.

A review by the National Audit Office found that the abandoned GoCo project ‘has cost time and money’ including £25m on contractors and advisers.

The NAO said that despite the setbacks the process has ‘yielded some learning’.