HC Deb 04 November 2002 vol 392 cc15-6
12. Syd Rapson (Portsmouth, North)

If he will make a statement on partnering services at each naval base. [76704]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr. Adam Ingram)

New commercial partnering arrangements were introduced at the three naval bases at Devonport, Portsmouth and on the Clyde in September this year, under contracts awarded to Devonport Management Ltd., Fleet Support Ltd. and Babcock Naval Services. The new arrangements will deliver engineering support, waterfront services and logistics, estates and facilities management at each of the naval bases more efficiently and effectively, and at a lower cost to the taxpayer.

Syd Rapson

I thank the Minister for the sensitive way in which he personally intervened in the Portsmouth partnering services scheme, which smoothed the way tremendously. May I ask a question about cross-platform partnering services? Will there be any adverse effects on those services when the Defence Logistics Organisation reverts from a provider to a decider?

Mr. Ingram

I thank my hon. Friend for saying that I handled the matter sensitively—I will put that fact on my CV because it may come as a surprise to some people.

My hon. Friend has alighted on an important change in the delivery of DLO services to the front line. The DLO will move from being a provider to a decider organisation, and the pace of that change will depend on a number of factors. We do not expect to take a "one size fits all" approach to complex logistics support requirements. Our decisions will be driven by sound reasoning about what is best overall, taking into account the impact of changing arrangements and the benefits to be gained in effectiveness and efficiency. The change will inevitably have an impact on the civilian work force, but as a responsible employer we will always seek to look after the best interests of our civilian employees, just as we did when we made changes to naval base delivery.