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Year in review: reflecting on the challenges and successes of 2020

The Nightingale hospital in London under construction. The floor is lime green with sections of white blocks running in columns to accomodate beds.
The Armed Forces including Reservists have played a huge part in supporting the NHS in getting the Nightingale hospital at London ready. [Crown Copyright/MOD2020]
It has been a busy and challenging year for DIO. In addition to supporting the government’s wider COVID-19 relief efforts, we continued to deliver on a range of key projects and programmes for our customers and staff throughout the UK and abroad. Let’s look back at some of the year’s main achievements.

January to March

The new year began with the publication of a book presenting the findings of our archaeologists, who worked with Historic England and Wessex Archaeology, on excavations at Barrow Clump. Volunteers from Operation Nightingale, a programme using archaeology to aid in the recovery of sick or wounded soldiers, were essential to the project.

Pictured are 13 people including veterans from Operation Nightingale who were injured in war working on an excavation dig at Salisbury Plain.
Volunteers from Operation Nightingale working on excavating Barrow Clump at the Salisbury Plain Training Area [Crown Copyright/Wessex Archaeology]
In February, the first of the RAF’s new Maritime Patrol Aircraft arrived at Kinloss Barracks while runway resurfacing works got underway at their new home, RAF Lossiemouth.

DIO handed over a £34-million submarine escape, rescue, abandonment and survival (SMERAS) training facility to the Royal Navy at HMNB Clyde in Scotland in March. The unique facility, which was delivered by DIO in partnership with Kier Graham Defence Ltd and Mott MacDonald, gives the Royal Navy the capability to carry out essential onshore escape and rescue training in a controllable environment.

A sailor in an orange dry suit is standing in a round hatch, holding a metal ladder. The picture is taken from above and only their upper body is visible.
A sailor using a replica of a submarine hatch at the SMERAS facility. [Crown Copyright/MOD 2020]

April to June

After the national ‘lockdown’ was imposed in late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we worked with our partners to continue to provide facilities management services across the Defence estate. We also worked with Landmarc Support Services to implement measures which allowed soldiers to continue to train whilst protecting themselves against the virus.

Another major element of DIO’s COVID-19 response involved working with Amey to provide homes in the UK at short notice for Service personnel and their families evacuated from overseas training bases. In total, 132 Service families were re-homed in the UK from Nepal, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and other African countries, as well as Brunei, Ukraine and Belize.

A Service personnel is putting keys into the door of a new service family accomodation home. Pictured behind him is his small son and older daughter.
An Army family arriving at their temporary home, having returned from serving at the British Army Training Unit Kenya.

Throughout April and May, reservists who work for DIO played an important role in helping to set up the Nightingale hospitals and COVID-19 testing centres across the UK.

Despite the pressures of the pandemic, DIO and Kier worked together to begin construction of the new DIO headquarters (HQ) at the Defence Medical Services (DMS) base in Whittington. The work is due to be completed in Spring 2021 ready for the permanent relocation of DIO HQ.

July to September

The Britannia Royal Naval College physical training centre has been completed and handed over to the Royal Navy. The building featured long windows on the front and side.
Britannia Royal Naval College’s newly completed physical training centre [Crown Copyright/MOD2020]
DIO completed work on the new physical training centre for the Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in August. The £9 million facility is scaled for the college’s 800 personnel and will support BRNC to deliver 21st century physical training to modern standards.

In September, we won the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Gold Achievement Award for the fourth consecutive year, recognising the quality and effectiveness of our safety management systems and our commitment to the ‘Safety First’ value.

October to December

9 representatives from DIO, Landmarc and Pave aways are stood on grass infront of the new facility which is a brown woooded building with long window panels and green roofing.
DIO, Landmarc and Pave Aways staff at the official opening of the new facility. [Crown Copyright /MOD 2020].
In early October, a brand new kitchen and dining facility for the Armed Forces at Nesscliff Training Camp was officially opened. The £4 million facility, which can feed 600 personnel each mealtime and up to 200 personnel in the field, was delivered in partnership with Landmarc and local building contractor Pave Aways.

Just in time for Halloween, we announced the re-discovery of the Great Fox-Spider, which had been thought extinct in the UK for 27 years, on the military training estate in Surrey. The amazing find was down to the efforts of Mike Waite of the Surrey Wildlife Trust, who spent two years hunting for the rare spider on MOD land.

A drone image of the Northern Ammunition Jetty over the Loch Lomand sea. A big yellow and red crane is on the jetty along with a small white boat beside it. There is a road and lots of green trees on the right of the jetty.
The Northern Ammunition Jetty in Glen Mallan is being refurbished to support the Royal Navy's surface fleet in loading and unloading ammunition [Crown Copyright/MOD2020]
The start of November marked one year since construction work began to refurbish the Northern Ammunition Jetty in Glen Mallan, Scotland, to support the Royal Navy’s surface fleet and aircraft carriers in loading and unloading ammunition. The project, which requires a new jetty structure, five new mooring dolphins, two pedestal cranes and other infrastructure work, has been progressing successfully despite various challenges.

In December, the first service family moved in to one of around 3,500 Service Family Accommodation (SFA) homes that are being newly upgraded thanks to investment from the Government’s Fiscal Stimulus funding. The package totals £200m for accommodation improvements for Armed Forces personnel, of which £122m is being spent on upgrading the 3,500 service homes throughout the UK. DIO is also investing £38m of the funding on a nationwide Net Carbon Accommodation Programme, and £34m will be used for improvements to some Single Living Accommodation facilities.

Although it has undoubtedly been a challenging year, DIO has demonstrated the value that we bring to both Defence and the wider government by working as one team, providing excellent advice and outstanding delivery to our Armed Forces customers.




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