Happy New Year!
I do hope that wherever you were, and whoever you were able to spend time with, you made the most of a break over Christmas and the New Year. It was certainly a very different Christmas for my wife and I – far fewer miles driven than in a usual festive season, and a lot more time spent on video calls. Mind you, I have now discovered that I am as unlucky in board games played online as I am playing them around a real games board!
Planning for the year ahead
January is a time to look forward, and for me, as DIO’s Chief Executive, a time to plan DIO’s path through the next year. Though this year I think that planning is a little different, in that I sense that we will take 2021 one step at a time. We do have an overarching strategy for the DIO business, and MOD has a financial settlement from HM Treasury that sets us up well for the next four years. We'll plot a route through the year one step at a time – or quarter by quarter.
The beginning of the year promises to be a bit bumpy. First and foremost, we’re focusing on getting our customers and ourselves through the rest of the winter. We will deliver the remainder of the 2020/21 programme and finish off what has been the most challenging twelve months. Alongside this we’re running a staff Wellbeing Challenge, encouraging staff to take steps to improve their physical, mental and social wellbeing. Hopefully people will be able to form or carry on with long-lasting healthy habits after the disruption of 2020.
By the time we get to spring, I really do hope that CoVid will be coming under control and our new relationship with the European Community will be settling down. That we will have a chance to lift our sights and start to set our own agenda rather than react to rapidly changing circumstances. We will say farewell to our site in Sutton Coldfield and open DIO’s new HQ in nearby Lichfield where we will have a state-of-the-art office space that has been designed to work well with modern ways of working.
In the summer I expect us to be commencing the first of our new Future Defence Infrastructure Services contracts. As the year progresses, we will be starting to implement these, which we believe are a big improvement on their predecessors. For one thing, they will enable a closer and stronger relationship with our suppliers. The new contracts provide more flexibility than those they are replacing and will allow more preventative maintenance of buildings and facilities, meaning an improved experience for the service personnel who use them.
Through autumn and into next winter I expect us to be undertaking a lot more strategic estate and asset planning for the Front Line Commands, and with a much-strengthened relationship with a broader group of key suppliers.
There’s a lot to look forward to. Last year was obviously a difficult year but despite that, we achieved much more than I really expected in the circumstances. And given that experience I am optimistic about what this new year will enable us to do.