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The intention of the Defence Reform Bill is to implement some of the proposals for reform that have been made in two recent White Papers: Better Defence Acquisition, Cm 8626 and Reserves in the Future Force 2020, Cm 8655.

Specifically, the Bill establishes the arrangements for reforming Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and turning it into a Government-Owned, Contractor-Operated (GOCO) organisation. It creates a statutory framework for the governance of MOD single source contracts and makes several amendments to the regulations governing the Reserve Forces.

Second reading of the Defence Reform Bill was held on 16 July 2013. Library Research Paper RP13/45 examines the provisions in that Bill, as originally published.

The Public Bill Committee held four general sessions on the principles of Bill at the beginning of September 2013. Line-by-line consideration of the Bill began on 8 October and concluded on 22 October 2013. The Government tabled a number of minor amendments and new clauses, all of which have been adopted. Several opposition amendments were pressed to a vote, although they were subsequently defeated on division. The Bill, as amended in Committee, is now Bill 118 of the 2013-14 Session.

Report Stage is scheduled to take place on 20 November 2013. On 19 November 2013 the Government announced that one of the consortia bidding for the GOCO contract had withdrawn from the competition. Work is now underway to determine whether it is in the public interest for the MOD to proceed with only one commercial bidder and the public sector comparator (DE&S plus).

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