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On 6 December, Birmingham Law School's Dr Luke Butler gave his third series of guest lectures on the Commercial Relationships in the Defence Environment Course offered by Cranfield University in conjunction with the UK Defence Academy, Shrivenham.

Dr Butler specialises in government contracts, with a particular interest in defence procurement. In 2009, the EU adopted a controversial Defence and Security Procurement Directive, implemented in the UK Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011. These rules have had a significant impact on how Commercial Officers conduct procurement processes to achieve value for money for the UK taxpayer. Military officials also coming into acquisition roles from operational service are also having to adjust to detailed rules and work in conjunction with Commercial Officers to deliver vital defence capability to the front line.                

The Defence Academy is responsible for post-graduate education and training in leadership, business skills and technology to the UK Armed Forces, the Civil Service, diplomats and overseas forces and leaders. The lectures are given by experts in the field with speakers including officials from the new Single Source Regulations Office and key personnel from major industries.

Luke gave five lectures on subjects ranging from EU procurement regulation through to domestic contract law, including an innovative reflective session exploring experiences of applying procurement regulation in practice. These lectures also inform an empirical research project examining the impact of public procurement regulation on the conduct of defence acquisition in the UK. Luke has so far conducted interviews with Commercial Officers at the Ministry of Defence headquarters (London); MOD Abbey Wood (Bristol) and MOD Corsham.