Hi! I'm Dave Mitchard. Time has flown, and I’ve now been in post as DIO’s Chief Executive for 100 days and so it seems like a good time to stop for a minute and take stock.
What has struck me first and foremost during the first 100 working days of my time here is what a great remit we have, and the consequent responsibility. We have a really exciting portfolio – the variety is incredible and we work in a great environment. I am really impressed by the scale of what we do and how our people do it.
I embarked on an engagement programme when I arrived, to get to know our business and our people. It has taken me from Portsmouth to Lossiemouth, Lisburn to Sennybridge. I have formally and informally met around 1,100 DIO people, as well as many from the military, hearing first hand about our successes and challenges. I have been out on the estate, seen where we have triumphed and what is yet to be done. I have spoken to our customers, our contractors and our Ministers and I have gained a real life understanding of requirements for enabling military capability.
Covering so much ground, physical and metaphorical, in a relatively short period of time has been challenging, but invaluable. I believe I now have a great understanding of how we can progress. Every day I hear great stories about the work we are doing, which really does run the gamut. Our staff manage contracts, prioritise military infrastructure requirements, ensure training takes place safely and manage building and maintenance projects both large and small, to name just a few.
The military estate, which we manage, is larger than it needs to be. Since the end of the Cold War the size of our Armed Forces has shrunk significantly but the estate hasn’t reduced to anywhere near the same extent. We’re looking carefully at where and how we can sell off land and buildings to generate income and reduce our costs, without negatively impacting on military capability. It’s an involved and complicated process because it’s crucial that we get it right.
We’re also looking ahead to the results of the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015, which is expected to report back in the next few months. It remains to be seen what impact this will have on our work.
In these last 100 days, what I have learned is that while we manage contracts, deliver programmes and projects, manage estates and much, much more, our business is in people.
The organisation has changed a great deal over the last few years, from when DIO was formed from our predecessor Defence Estates in 2011. There have been internal reorganisations in the way we work and this has obviously put pressure on staff. The situation is settling down now and I am clear that we do need to continue to improve – but not change for change’s sake. We’re making progress and I look forward to the next 100 days.