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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.