Re: MoD as always
Having seen another IT contract go through the process what happens is:
1. Find out that due to some legislation, that I think may be based in EU law, you can't keep giving the contract to the company who've been providing a working service because you have to compete it at regular intervals or get sued.
2. Have a meeting where you discuss what you'd like the product to do, i.e. what the system you already have does plus a few extras that you were going to get if you stuck with it. Realise that the contract for the existing system ends before you can sensibly have a new one in place and task someone to find out how long you can reasonably extend the current contract without getting sued. Slip the project in service date right 18 months. This all happened at the first meeting, so in the space of two hours the programme had been delayed 18 months.
3. Put a hold on any improvements to the current system because that would give the incumbent an unfair advantage in the tendering process and could get the MoD sued.
4. All those nice extras you'd thought of? Start cutting them to stay within the budget. A budget that could extend the existing system about 18 years, or over three times the length of the contract you're tendering for.
5. Slip things right another six months because the invitation to tender hasn't been released yet. Get legal advice on if that could get MoD sued and get a firm 'maybe'.
6. Circulate list of three courses of action, one of which gets you the same capability you currently have, just, one of which gets you nothing, which would be illegal, and one of which gets MoD sued. Grudgingly accept COA 1.
I don't know how this ends as after three years they still haven't selected a winning bidder. But basically the problem is it's illegal not to put a government contract out for tender at regular intervals, even if what you've got is working perfectly.