Sir George reacts to job losses in Andover
3 Jul 2006
"Adam Ingram, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, has written to me today, announcing more job losses and more change at Andover DLO. Of course the Ministry of Defence must be efficiently organised, but there has been so much turbulence and re-organisation involving Andover that the next one begins before the last one has been completed. I am concerned that the job losses are driven by the need to find manpower savings to balance Gordon Brown’s books, rather than to run the DLO and the DPA more effectively; and we are looking at the loss of over 300 civilian jobs in Andover."

"It is not immediately clear what the impact of these proposals will be; some people will sadly be made redundant, but if others who keep their jobs have to move from Andover to Bath, that could be an expensive process for them. And I have doubts about whether this new “super department” will produce the planned savings that are forecast. There is no reason why the purely logistical functions of the DLO should be merged with the DPA. The provision of consumables like ammunition or nuts and bolts does not need to be provided by the same organisation which has responsibility for procuring aircraft, ships and tanks. The risk is that the Government will create a huge unwieldy empire which will not perform well in either role. "

"My job will be to see whether any jobs lost at Andover South can be replaced by “back-filling” – and the news that Andover South is the preferred site for the new Land Forces Headquarters gives some cause for hope. I also will want to help any individual constituent who finds that what is proposed has disastrous consequences for them personally."

Text of Minister's letter below:

Minister of State for the Armed Forces

3 July 2006

Dear George

As you will be aware from previous correspondence, the Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) has been formulating proposals to collocate elements of the organisation with the Defence Procurement Agency (DPA) in the Bristol/Bath area to create an acquisition hub. I have now considered those proposals and have decided in principle to approve them, subject to Trade Union consultation.

At the same time, Des Browne will be announcing in the House today the outcome of an internal review into the manner in which the MoD conducts the acquisition and management of military capability: the review is known as "Enabling Acquisition Change". The report is wide ranging and detailed, and stresses, among other things, the primacy of through-life considerations. One of the report's recommendations, all of which have been accepted, is that the Department should build on the progress made by both organisations to work more closely together. It states that they should do so by merging the Defence Procurement Agency and Defence Logistics Organisation to form a new integrated procurement and support organisation.

In light of this, the initial approval for collocation assumes an even greater relevance in that it paves the way for the new organisation to come together physically in the Bristol/Bath area. The collocation business case envisages the concentration of the majority of staff at three locations, namely: Abbey Wood (North Bristol), Ensleigh (Bath) and the new site (adjacent to Abbey Wood). This will involve the withdrawal from a number of DLO sites over the next four years. The initial DLO withdrawals are planned from Andover South and Sapphire House, Telford; with subsequent drawdown planned from RAF Wyton/Brampton, Caversfield and Sherborne. There will be a continued presence at Andover North, from where the Supply Chain will be controlled.

These decisions will mean that in future we will have one single, collocated organisation responsible for the procurement, maintenance and sustainment of military capability. This will provide a greater unity of purpose in acquisition and remove a fundamental barrier to effective Through Life Capability Management. I am confident that this is the right way forward for Defence as a whole.

You will also be aware of proposals to form a new Integrated Headquarters from the co- location of the existing Headquarters Land Command and the Adjutant General's Headquarters. I am now also able to announce that Andover South is the preferred site for the new Land Forces Headquarters. Subject to further work and final decisions next year, we envisage that Headquarters Land Forces would be fully operational at Andover from Spring 2009. This will provide the Army with a contemporary, integrated and efficient headquarters of about 1,750 military and civilian staff.

I appreciate that this will have consequences for employees and their families, particularly in current DLO sites where we will be scaling down our presence or withdrawing altogether. This decision in-principle will be subject to full Trade Union consultation. Every effort will be made to keep redundancies to a minimum.

These decisions have been announced to staff and the Trades Union and a period of formal consultation will now be undertaken. The Enabling Acquisition Change report has been placed in the libraries of both Houses. I will write to you again to advise you of the outcome of consultation.

The Rt Hon Adam Ingram MP

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