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Defence & Security

Luke McLeod: How Defence is Transforming Base Services

30 Sep 2021, by Skye Rytenskild

Defence is entering a new paradigm, preparing to engage with industry on the fourth generation of lucrative contracts for Estate and Base Services.

As Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price recently told Australian Defence Magazine (ADM), the department is getting ready to start engaging industry on future long-term contracts worth about $1.2 billion a year.

“Defence wants to hear from suppliers that can contribute to the delivery of base services with investments that will provide a massive shot in the arm to our economic recovery from COVID-19,” Minister Price said.

At such scale, effective procurement of Estate and Base Services is a complex task – one which now falls to the newly created Base Services Transformation branch at the Department of Defence.

Luke McLeod (left) is the Assistant Secretary, Base Services Transformation and will be speaking at the upcoming ADM Defence and Estate Base Service Summit on December 13, 2021 in Canberra.

Highly experienced in strategic procurement, McLeod is committed to delivering outcomes which not only achieve organisational objectives but build capabilities.

“Defence base services contracts provide critical support services to enable and sustain Defence capability.” Says McLeod. “The contracts cover a diverse scope, including property services, building and infrastructure maintenance, land management and environmental services, airfield firefighting, cleaning and waste services as well as living services such as catering and accommodation management.”

McLeod says that the recently established Base Services Transformation program is responsible for designing, procuring and transitioning to a new generation of base services contracts.

“The program is currently in the ‘Explore’ phase, due for completion at the end of 2021. We have been engaging internally with customers and end-users to explore transformation opportunities. We have also been engaging externally with peer organisations who have similar service responsibilities, with prospective industry partners and with supply chain participants.”

“Through our engagement we are building a picture of better practice so that we can develop a future contracting environment which allows industry partners to deliver their best service in alignment with the outcomes and interests of Defence.”

“There are many factors which will influence the approach to market strategy for the future base services contracts. Ensuring Defence is clear on its expectations regarding service performance and service scope, for example, will enable industry to understand our requirements and put forward their best offers.”

“Perhaps more important will be ensuring alignment between the values and behaviours of Defence and its prospective industry partners. Aligned values will ensure that all efforts are directed to achieving the best outcomes for Defence and our people.”

Amberley RAAF Base. Image: Creative Commons

McLeod says that lessons have been taken from previous generations of procurement. Given its decentralised nature, it’s essential that a best practice collaborative contracting framework is in place.

“Through our explorations we are gaining valuable insights into the opportunities available to transform the performance of the services we deliver and the experience of our customers. Defence is focussed on creating the enabling commercial conditions which motivate performance, achieve sustainability, facilitate the introduction of technological augmentations and other service delivery innovations and value the participation of indigenous, local and small to medium enterprises.”

McLeod says he is looking forward to speaking at the ADM Defence Estate & Base Services Summit in December.

“I’ll be expanding on these topics and updating industry on Defence’s progress towards transformed base services contracts.”

Meet Luke McLeod at the ADM Defence Estate and Base Services Summit, 13 December at Hotel Realm Canberra . The Summit’s unique, interactive environment will foster effective partnership between Defence and Industry, with high-level speakers from across sectors. View the full agenda and register here. 

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