§ Mr. Viggers
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for changes to the Marine Services Organisation.
§ Mr. Lee
A management audit of the Marine Services Organisation was completed recently. The audit acknowledged that the standard of service provided is high; that the marine services undertake important operational tasks; and that a viable in-house organisation needs to be retained for the future. However, its principal findings were that there was substantial scope for improving the efficiency of the marine services and that there was a prima facie case for contracting out the bulk of the operations. A consultative document detailing the audit's findings is being issued to the trade unions today and a copy will be placed in the Libary of both Houses. There will be full consultation before major decisions on implementation are reached. However, in the meantime, management's aim must be to ensure that efficiency is improved substantially and costs reduced, while still meeting the essential operational needs of the Fleet. Implementation of necessary changes would be phased over three years and directed by a steering group.