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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

11 Aug 11. Parliament Recesses: Dates. The House rose for the Summer Recess on 20 Jul, returning for one day on 11 Aug 11. Parliament is due to return on 5 Sep 11, for two weeks, until the Conference Recess. Parliament then rises for the Party Conferences on 15 Sep and returns on 10 Oct 11. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/32, 22 Aug 11)

17 Aug 11. The use of information to manage the defence logistics supply chain. The Rt. Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, said today, “The Ministry of Defence has a duty to make sure that our troops serving on the frontline get the supplies they need, when they need them and in the most cost-effective way. For twenty-five years, the Department has promised this Committee that it would resolve the long-standing problems associated with its supply chain: late deliveries, missed targets and inadequate cost information. Yet these problems persist. Deliveries are often late because of delays in receiving goods from suppliers. Last year, over 40 per cent of deliveries from suppliers were a month or more overdue. In some cases, delays in receiving spare parts have led to planes and other vehicles being cannibalized to make parts available. Stockpiling to guard against delays has resulted in some supplies deteriorating before they are used. A more efficient supply chain could release resources for the frontline. But the Department does not have the information to develop more cost-effective ways of running its supply operations. The Department is now seeking to resolve its information problems through a major initiative, the Future Logistics Information Services project, due to be implemented by 2014. However, there is a risk that funding for this project could be reduced as the Department seeks to lower spending and balance its overall budget. In the meantime, IT systems being used to track supplies will remain at critical risk of failure. If they fail, there could be shortages at the front-line within a month.”
Margaret Hodge was speaking as the Committee published its 43rd Report of this Session which, on the basis of evidence from the Ministry of Defence, examined its use of information to manage the supply chain. The Ministry of Defence (the Department) sends supplies to forces deployed overseas for military operations, such as in Afghanistan and Libya, and to personnel stationed in permanent bases or taking part in training exercises. Staff deployed on operations determine what supplies are needed by front line troops, which are then sent to them through a supply chain that stretches back to manufacturers. The Department spent at least £347m in 2010-11 on transporting supplies overseas, but this underestimates the full cost as the cost of military supply flights is not included. Some 130,300 individual deliveries were made to Afghanistan alone in 2010. This report assesses the Department’s performance in managing the supply chain to front line troops. The Department rightly puts a strong emphasis on ensuring troops get the supplies they need. Equally, providing an efficient supply chain would release resources for the front line. We believe the Department must place greater emphasis on securing value for money and that there is room for it to find efficiencies in the supply chain without jeopardising operational effectiveness. Over decades our reports have identified persistent problems with late deliveries, unnecessary costs and missed targets. At present, the Department does not have the information to identify where savings could be made. It does not know the full costs of its current activities or the cost of alternative supply options, information it needs if it is to begin improving value for money. The failure to collect basic data about where supplies are stored has directly contributed to the Department’s accounts being qualified for three consecutive years. Successive reports by this Committee have identified significant problems with th

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