The Ministry of Defence is one of the largest landowners in the UK with extensive, diverse and unique infrastructure. This DIO-managed estate is vital for Defence personnel to live, work, train and deploy.
Life at DIO
I joined the Defence Lands Service in Aldershot in September 1990. Apart from two years working for the Reserve Forces and Cadets, I’ve been with DIO and its previous incarnations ever since. I was looking for an employer to give me the breadth and depth of experience I needed to become a rural practice chartered surveyor and the size, complexity, and variety of the Defence estate ticked all the right boxes.
As Deputy Head of DIO’s Estates team, my responsibilities are varied. I manage the provision of land management services on the Defence estate across the south of England as well as the Safeguarding team, whose main responsibility is ensuring wind turbines don’t negatively impact on radar. I manage the byelaws review team, which looks through all of the byelaws on the MOD estate to see where we need to make changes and update them for the modern day. I am also responsible for supporting all sites occupied by US personnel, and oversight of the estate currently managed by Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations.
Over the course of nearly 30 years I have worked with many interesting and experienced people, both military and civilian, on an estate unlike any other and for customers unlike any others. There are almost too many highlights to mention but a few come to mind. Standing on a bleak Welsh hillside watching RAF aircraft take part in a large-scale trial to test the effect of commercial wind turbines on military radars was a great experience. I was also involved in selling a former London Underground station, including the old stairwells and lift shafts down to 60 feet below street level.
Knowing that each day I can make a difference to the ability of our armed forces to live, work, train, and deploy is hugely rewarding. DIO supports me in a number of ways, such as providing training and development to maintain my RICS Fellowship. I’m allowed time away from work to be a chair and auditor for the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence final interviews and for the work I do with colleagues in DIO and across Government on the recruitment, training, and development of surveying apprentices.
Government Property Profession
My role falls under the Government Property Profession. The people in this function represent a large number of different specialisms and deliver amazing work across the most diverse property portfolio in the UK. The Government Property Profession is currently promoting its work through the first ever Government Property Month. They are making efforts to develop the property profession across the Civil Service. This Professionalisation Plan sets out how we will develop our infrastructure staff across Defence and enhance their professional skills. It recognises the need to continuously develop the way property management professionals work, improving the way we do things and developing our capabilities to achieve excellence.
The framework sets out the common core role descriptions, technical skills, development and career pathways across government property roles. I’ve had an amazing career in Defence, and if this sounds like something you would also enjoy, keep an eye on Civil Service Jobs for some upcoming vacancies.