I’m Mark Hutchinson and I’ve been DIO’s Acting Chief Executive since January. As we’re now just over halfway through 2014, it seems an opportune time to look back at what we’ve achieved so far this year as well as looking forward to what’s in store for the rest of the year.
Perhaps the biggest change in how we do business has been our appointment of a Strategic Business Partner. As Dr David Marsh explained in an earlier blog, this will bring in private sector expertise and skills which it is anticipated will save the Ministry of Defence (MOD) up to £300 million per year over the ten-year contract period.
Our new partner is Capita, working with URS and PA Consulting. We signed the contract on 3 June and are now working closely with our new colleagues who are joining us this autumn, bringing them up to speed on what we do and how we work.
We’ve organised a series of roadshows for staff to hear more about the arrangements and ask questions of the partner. The contract becomes effective in September when the new, integrated leadership team will take charge of DIO.
Next Generation Estate Contracts
This handful of new contracts will replace the existing Regional Prime Contracts and provide effective and standardised maintenance services across the UK as well as take over the running of our Service Family Accommodation and Training Estate services.
The transitional challenges in moving across to these new contracts over the course of the year are huge; not least because the new contracts entail the transfer of hundreds of DIO staff to our new Industry Partners – a process that requires great care and attention to get right for the individuals and business alike.
Many of the staff who have worked for a number of years on NGEC will become part of our new Future Procurement Group. This is intended to retain the wealth of knowledge these staff have built up and to plan for life after NGEC.
Business As Usual
These developments aside, life at DIO proceeds as normal. We continue to work hard to deliver the infrastructure services that our Armed Forces need to live, work, train and deploy on operations.
To give just a few of many possible examples, in the first six months of this year we’ve provided new houses for soldiers and their families in Colchester, completed a world-class Defence Medical Services complex in Staffordshire and begun work on the new Defence College of Technical Training at MOD Lyneham. We’ve made millions of pounds to reinvest in Defence priorities by selling parts of the Defence estate which are no longer needed, such as the former Tube station at Old Brompton Road. This was sold for £53million.
Alongside this, we’ve continued to work hard to provide safe training for our military colleagues, to maintain and improve military accommodation and facilities and to observe our environmental responsibilities.
Coming up in the last six months of the year are a number of other big and exciting projects, such as work on resurfacing the runway at RAF Waddington to extend its life.
There’s always more to be done, but I know our staff are equal to the challenge.