Hi, I’m Air Vice Marshall Elaine West, DIO’s Director of Projects and Programme Delivery (PPD).
In contrast to most of the other members of the Senior Leadership Team who’ve been blogging lately, I’m not new to DIO. In fact, I’ve been here for a number of years in several different roles, from Regional Prime Contract (RPC) implementation as Director of RPC East through to Director of Housing a few years back.
Going back even further (yes, I am that old!), I’ve also held several infrastructure and project management roles in the RAF. As such, I’ve been fortunate to be involved in a wide range of infrastructure appointments across my career. I’ve worked with a fair number of project and facility managers from DIO and our predecessor, Defence Estates – too many to mention in this blog.
My current role beats them all – being responsible for project and programme delivery across all capability platforms, including significant engagement with all other areas of the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
Projects currently sitting in my area of responsibility have a direct link to defence outputs now and in the future. For example, the transformation of RAF Lyneham into Defence Technical Training College Lyneham is a significant MOD project, redeveloping much of the site to form what amounts to a large college campus. At RNAS Yeovilton we’re working to provide additional facilities for the Wildcat Helicopter platform.
Further, you’ll all have seen the recent press about HMS Queen Elizabeth, our newest carrier. This is also part of the PPD Portfolio, together with the F-35 known as Lightning II. Both programmes are inextricably linked for obvious reasons, realising a new and significant phase of projected power capability for the UK.
The Army’s ‘Borona Programme’, the ongoing work at Beacon Barracks in Stafford, is another good example where our delivery of state of the art infrastructure will play a major role in developing a new hub for the Royal Signals. We have issued contracts to redevelop the site and build 346 new houses for soldiers and their families with Regimental moves due next summer.
Of course, the above programmes are just a snapshot in time and there are many more projects we’re progressing on a daily basis - not least supporting numerous Defence Equipment & Support programmes, urgent operational requirements, airfield refurbishments both at home and overseas and so on.
Alongside these, yet equally necessary, we also deliver new and upgraded Single Living Accommodation and have completed over 20,000 bed spaces to date!
These upgrades are essential if we’re to keep pace with society and provide our soldiers, sailors and airmen with the right accommodation during their Service careers – it’s no less than they deserve.
No military infrastructure defence lines of development would be complete without involvement in Army Basing, the return of Army units to the UK. As you can imagine, the move of literally thousands of soldiers and their families requires considerable planning to ensure those moving units get the full support they require.
This work is very much in development and I look forward to getting further involved during the final delivery phase as we move ever closer to realising the full impact of Germany Drawdown. I know colleagues have this work firmly in focus and are working closely with the Army to ensure the first tranche of moves goes ahead as planned.
The final piece of the jigsaw for me is the introduction into DIO of our new integrated leadership team under our strategic business partnering arrangements.. My role continues and, indeed, is strengthened with the recent transfer of one of our key programme teams. For me, the focus has got to remain 'delivery' to support the rest of the military – this is DIO’s role and we shouldn’t forget it! We make a huge contribution to Defence and maybe, just maybe, we need to remind ourselves how critical our individual and collective contribution actually is!