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Commercial and Contract Awareness for the Defence Industry

Enhance commercial awareness in the application of contracts in the Defence industry for your whole team with this two-day training programme.

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  • Format: Bespoke training


Winning and retaining contracts in the defence sector is becoming increasingly challenging. In parallel there has been an increasing requirement for defence suppliers to deliver tangible VFM and enhanced relationships, including effective partnering. Specialist commercial capabilities are scarce as is the demand for contracting ‘agility’.

This in-house training programme will enhance your teams commercial and contractual awareness and provide them with an insight to the key processes and themes impinging on the changing Defence buyer-seller dynamic

Benefits of this programme

  • Explain why commercial awareness of contracts is important in the Defence industry
  • Deliver insights into commercial and contractual understanding, including pricing, to ensure competitive advantage
  • Refresh and explain key terms and conditions used, with reference to key DEFCONs, FARS and DFARs
  • Explore the skills and approaches necessary to optimise relationships through the Defence sector supply chain (including MoD)
  • Provide a forum to explore and reflect on the positive and negative relationships that develop in Defence strategic supply chains over the long term
  • Prove that improvement is always possible through the application of specialist commercial and contractual knowledge and skills

Programme - Day 1

Introduction and the commercial and legal objectives – Defining requirements
  • What is ‘commercial awareness’?
  • What is ‘value’?
  • Relevance of Case Law
  • Drafting key clauses including Default
  • Certainty of terms to achieve mutual understanding
  • What is a Contract?
Overview of defence acquisition and tender process
  • Positive actions suppliers can take during the current ‘austerity’
  • What is value for money? And the 12 themes important to Defence customer
  • Identifying tendering opportunities in the Defence environment
  • The Acquisition Operating Framework and certainty of terms
  • Partnering in the fluid Defence environment
Structuring the contract and Statement of Work
  • The significance of the SoW/specification
  • Special conditions and Schedules
  • Pre- and Post- contractual arrangements
  • What is the effect of an entire agreement clause?
  • What is a ‘framework agreement’?
Exploration of self-assessment tool for managing Defence contract risk
  • Basic principles of defence contracts, accountabilities, obligations and remedies
  • Significance of some of the most common terms
  • Payment
    • Acceptance and testing
    • Specification
    • Insurance
    • Limit of liability
    • Right of audit
    • Damages through life support
    • Intellectual property rights
  • Explore the impact of partnering on contractual relationships
  • Avoiding unintended liabilities (flowdown to subcontractors)
  • Utilise a self-assessment tool for managing commercial/contract risk
Focusing on the defence customers needs and aligning your response in their ‘language’
  • Special circumstances such as proposals for non competitive situations
  • Mirroring the language and structure of Defence PQQs and ITTs
  • The value of powerful executive summaries in successfully tendering for Defence contracts
  • The biggest mistakes made when writing proposals and tenders in Defence
  • Pitfalls of language – including the Flesch index and glossary of Defence terms
  • Eleven crucial and proven facts of successful proposals and tenders in Defence
  • Presentation and post-tender stage in Defence: negotiation or clarification?

Programme - Day 2

Pricing and payment models used in defence
  • Pricing strategies impacting on Defence tenders
  • The QMAC principles and practice – and commercial opportunities
  • NAPNOC (pre-contract) pricing
  • Setting and negotiation of prices including ‘firm’ and ‘fixed’
  • Target cost incentive fee contracts – and commercial risk profiling
  • Anchor milestones from a commercial perspective
  • Vesting, title and commercial risk
How the courts will interpret what is written
  • Recent case judgments
  • Ambiguities, absurdities and technicalities
  • The “contra proferentem” rule explained
  • The interpretation of indemnities
  • Damages versus penalties
Key post contract challenges: Defence (Defense) Model Acquisition Regulations and terms and conditions
  • Consideration of some key DEFCONs, FARS and DFARS
  • Breach of contract
  • Failure to complete
  • Liquidated damages – cost impact
  • Force majeure
  • Key personnel
  • Contract management
  • Review meetings
  • Termination provisions – the six key DEFCONs every supplier must know
Intellectual property rights – a commercial perspective
  • How suppliers can optimise commercial management of IPR in Defence
  • Directorate of Intellectual Property Rights
  • Patents and inventions, trademarks, designs and copyrights
  • Background and foreground technology
  • Software and escrow agreements
  • International collaboration
  • Subcontracting for IPR
  • Actual examples of IPR clauses and guidance on how to commercially interpret them
Strategies to manage defence contractual obligations and enhance trading relationships
  • Post contract award strategies in the context of your organisation’s business plans
  • Identifying opportunities to enhance revenue and mitigate risk:
    • Interpretation of contractual obligations and liabilities
    • Continuous improvement and innovation
    • Value Engineering Change Proposals
    • Managing contract change
    • Demonstrating MTBF; MTTR
    • Managing the supply chain
    • Sustainability and BS8903

Stephen Ashcroft

Stephen Ashcroft, BEng, MSc, MCIPS, is a management consultant with Brian Farrington Ltd and a visiting lecturer at Manchester University specialising in the role of procurement, supplier management, commercial negotiation and tender management. Client sectors experience includes defence, aerospace, government and secure government. He is security cleared. He is co-author of CIPS course book on Contracting in the Public Sector, and is peer review published on commercial negotiation skills. He started his career in contracts at British Aerospace and is now retained by defence buyers and contractors (where there is no conflict of interest) on commercial matters including interpretation of DEFCONs.

More details

We don't have any currently scheduled dates for this course but we can customise it to your requirements and deliver it on an in-house basis for any number of your staff or colleagues.

See below or contact us to discuss yor requirements.

Multiple colleagues?
Talk to one of our training experts to discuss how to:

Run this course conveniently and cost-effectively in-house for your staff and colleagues

Aleksandra BEER
Training expert

+44 (0)20 7749 4749