The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) is one of the largest public procurement organizations in Europe and a major and regular buyer of language services, spending millions on translation and interpreting annually.
Having published a GBP 45m tender for linguistic services to support its worldwide operations in July 2019, the MoD is now poised to go on another spending spree.
On December 19, 2020, the MoD published a call for expressions of interest, which will ultimately result in the award of a contract worth GBP 54m (USD 74m) over four years, with the possibility of a maximum two-year extension.
The contract covers linguistic services across a wide range of “operational environments and interactions.” The requirements include face-to-face interpreting and translation services, and the successful bidder will be expected to deploy suitable linguists at short notice and to accommodate significant fluctuations in volumes.
Likely to be awarded to a sole language services provider (LSP), the contract requires the supplier to support the Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ), based in Northwood, UK, as well as “specialist user overseas operations worldwide.” This means linguists may be required to work at locations around the world where the British army is operational.
The MoD labeled the tender an “open opportunity” for an active contract as the buying department searches for potential LSPs to fulfil it, likely in conjunction with the incumbent supplier.
Although the name of the incumbent was not specifically mentioned, the existing contract is likely being serviced by a seasoned LSP in the UK public sector, such as thebigword, which mentioned the UK MoD was one of their clients back in 2017.
LSPs keen to cast their hat into the ring are asked to complete a questionnaire to demonstrate their interest (Access Code: GA59K5KGA8) before the February 8, 2021 deadline. The awardee will be announced on November 1, 2021.
Note: As a sign of the times post-Brexit, UK tenders are no longer published on the TED Europa portal as of 2021. MoD tenders, awards, and notices are now found on the UK government procurement website and on a dedicated UK MoD procurement site.