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Defence Reform Act 2014

Section 35: Opinions and determinations

125.Subsection (1) provides for a duty on the SSRO to give an opinion or make a determination on matters specified in SSCRs, where such matters are referred to the SSRO by the Secretary of State, an authorised person, a contractor or a prospective contractor.

126.Subsection (3) gives the SSRO a general power to give an opinion on any matter which is referred to it by both the Secretary of State and either a contractor or prospective contractor.

127.Subsection (4) allows the SSRO, when giving an opinion or making a determination, to determine that one party must pay appropriate costs to the other. For example, on a referral to the SSRO by a contractor for unreasonable use of rights in relation to access to records (see section 23(6)), the SSRO could determine that the MOD must repay some or all of the costs incurred by the contractor in fulfilling such requests.

128.The SSRO is the successor body to the existing Review Board for Government Contracts. Where a contract was entered into before the relevant date (which is likely to be 1 October 2014) and that contract required the Review Board to make a determination or give an opinion on any matter, then after the relevant date a party to that contract may refer the matter to the SSRO instead (subsections (6) and (7)). Due to the length of some single source contracts, it is expected that for many years there will continue to be live contracts let prior to the relevant date, that are not QDCs, which contain contractual provisions allowing for referrals to the Review Board. This provision allows the SSRO to take over that function.

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