Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Planned Privatisation of the Military Equipment Agency

The Guardian recently reported

"Ministry of Defence plans to privatise the multibillion-pound agency that provides the armed forces with military equipment appear ill thought out, could endanger British troops and are potentially undemocratic, according to a report by a leading security thinktank"

Royal United Services Institute have issued a briefing paper " The Defence Materiel Strategy and the GOCO Proposal for Abbey Wood". "We also wonder if ministers are being asked to take a decision whose major implications are poorly understood. Ignorance is no substitute for forethought and objectivity: the government and the country cannot afford a wrong decision in this area. In the meantime, we wonder if those tasked with making this solution work might use the questions above as an aid to a fuller examination. This might help them to avoid the unintended, and potentially huge, negative consequences that always emerge from complex and challenging undertakings, especially where the pros and cons have not been thoroughly examined."

Some points to consider

Governance, accountability and transparency required in a democratic nation’s public business

Its open to question whether or not the FOI/EIR would apply to the GOCO. If it turns out that the FOI/EIR do not apply to the GOCO there will be a very significant reduction in openness and transparency; as stakeholders (citizens, journalists NGOs) will no longer have legal power to obtain information about the safety issues and environmental harm caused by the countries military nuclear programmes.

MOD as an intelligent customer

Since previous contractorisations of the Dockyards and AWE, D&ES have been the MOD intelligent customer for the services of the contractors running these sites.  If DE&S themselves become a contractor it appears there will be no expertise left within the MOD to act as a intelligent customer for its contractors services or to make judgements on contractor performance against contractual obligations.

Civil Regulation 

If DE&S is contractorised the Naval Bases which support the nuclear programme should be subject to civil regulation and licensed under the Nuclear Installations Act by the Office of Nuclear Regulation , DNSRs MOD internal regulators role being limited to submarines at sea. From a safety point of view this is to welcomed 

I  have recently been informed by reliable sources, " that this  won't happen. The Naval Bases are to be transferred back to Naval Command and the NBC's will be the Authorisees, where appropriate. Similarly the Intelligent Customer function will be Naval Command's".


This organisational chart gives an indication of the scope of work carried out by DE&S that may well be contractorisedIt's also  interesting to note this publicly available chart gives names, post titles, email and phone numbers including Submarines, headed by Director Submarines - RAdm Simon Lister Mil: 9352 37504, Tel: 0117 91 37504 email: DESSM-DirMA@mod.uk

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