Defence civilians warn on privatisation

Defence civilians warn on privatisation

Prospect warned today that the suspension of the privatisation of the search and rescue helicopter service is a sign of things to come as the Ministry of Defence struggles to meet financial targets set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

The union says four months after the SDSR it is still waiting to hear from the department on how it intends to cut 25,000 civilian staff over the SDSR period and make savings of at least £8bn.

National secretary Steve Jary said: “We have warned many times that MOD is already down to the bare bones as far as its civilian expertise is concerned. The department is in grave danger of losing its intelligent customer role – a vital function that links the defence industry and the front line to the department.

“We welcome the demise of a second defence Private Finance Initiative1. MOD cannot afford these hugely expensive projects and it no longer has the expertise to manage them effectively. The immediate task must be to rebuild in-house capability and stop contracting-out procurement functions.

“It is a recipe for chaos that will leave MOD bereft of the skills it needs. Buying back those skills and staff from contractors later at twice the price would be economic madness,” said Jary.

[ 1 The Defence Training PFI – worth £15 billion – was cancelled as part of the SDSR.]