This is the text of a letter I have just received from the Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence. I am obviously concerned to learn of the possible loss of jobs at the DLO in Andover - the town's largest employer. There has been significant investment recently on the site, and I hope that will be put to good use and not simply vacated.
I am of course seeking a meeting with Sir Malcolm Pledger to get more details of what is planned and to represent as effectively as I can the interests of my constituents.
MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
OLD WAR OFFICE BUILDING
21 July 2004
THE DEFENCE LOGISTICS ORGANISATION
Geoff Hoon is making an announcement today (21 July) about modernisation of the Armed Forces. This forms part of our wider agenda of reform and efficiency improvements across Government, outlined by the Chancellor in the House of Commons on 12 July.
Some of the changes will affect the Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO), and as this might affect people at Andover, I thought you would appreciate hearing more about the background to this work and our thoughts abolrt the way ahead.
It has been four years since the creation of the DLO, which is one of the largest parts of the MOD employing over 28,000 staff and with an annual budget of more than £8 billion. During this time there have been substantial changes in Defence and the DLO has been successful in supporting a range of challenging military operations. We need to continue building on this success, adapting to the changing world and identifying and doing what is necessary to better meet commitments at best value for money to the taxpayer. It is against this background that we have identified a number of proposed changes to the way in which the DLO is structured. Whilst a number of the ideas we have about improving the organisation need further development, they all share the common aim of improving the service provided to the Front Line through more efficient ways of working.
Compared with other organisations, a high proportion of staff across the DLO are involved in support or enabling functions such as finance, human resources, and technical support. Based on the work done so far, we estimate we could save up to 950 posts across the DLO by changing working practices in these functions by April 2005 and at least a further 2,000 posts by 2008. However, until further work is completed it is not possible to be definitive as to what the precise impact on people will be, how post reductions might be managed or how this might specifically affect DLO employees or posts within your constituency.
In addition, the full saving of 2,950 posts by 2008 and the realisation of other business benefits could only be achieved if it were possible to collocate additional parts of the DLO, ideally alongside or close to the existing MOD site at Abbey Wood in Bristol. The priority would be to collocate the "decider" elements of the DLO -those staff involved in developing logistics strategy and making decisions about the through-life management of Defence equipment.
Future work will look at options for "incremental" collocation, using the existing Abbey Wood site in Bristol as the "hub" of the MOD acquisition community, and the extent to which DLO retains staff at other sites.
The Trades Unions have been consulted and we will keep them fully informed as our plans evolve. I would hope to be able to provide more information on the way ahead in the New Year.
I do understand the uncertainty that this announcement has created amongst the people who work within the DLO and we will keep staff aware of developments and inform them how they will be affected personally as soon as we can.
If you would find it helpful to have a briefing on the proposals and work to date then this can be arranged through the office of The Chief of Defence Logistics, Air Chief Marshal Sir Malcolm Pledger.
The Rt Hon Adam Ingram MP