HC Deb 18 July 1995 vol 263 cc1186-8W
Mr. Evennett

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the formation of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency; and what targets he has set for the Agency for 1995–96. [35820]

Mr. Arbuthnot

The Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, DERA, was launched as a trading fund on 1 April 1995, and is an enlargement of the former Defence Research Agency, DRA. It remains a defence agency headed by a chief executive who derives his authority from, and is directly accountable to, the Secretary of State for Defence. Its aim is to provide independent, high quality, efficient and cost effective advice and support for its customers, primarily within the MOD. DERA personnel remain civil servants.

The DERA comprises all the MOD's major non-nuclear evaluation and research organisations, in particular those establishments listed below, together with the existing DRA organisation and certain smaller scientific units:

  • The Director General of Test and Evaluation
  • The Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment, Porton Down
  • The Defence Operational Analysis Centre, West Byfleet
  • The Centre for Human Sciences
  • The British Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre

The DERA is structured as four operating divisions, supported by a number of service sectors:

  • The Centre for Defence Analysis
  • The Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment
  • The Defence Research Agency
  • The Defence Test and Evaluation Organisation

The Secretary of State for Defence invited John Chisholm to continue as chief executive of the enlarged agency until his present contract expires in 1996.

The targets set for the DERA in 1995–96 are as follows:

  1. (a) To meet profit and cash targets consistent with an average 6 per cent. return in capital employment over a period of three years, the target for 1995–96 being 4.7 per cent.
  2. (b) To achieve divisional utilisation of 68 per cent. in DRA, 49 per cent. in DTEO, 61 per cent. in CBDE, 67 per cent. in CDA and 57 per cent. for the DERA overall.
  3. (c) To achieve on time divisional milestone delivery of 85 per cent. in DRA, 80 per cent. in DTEO and 90 per cent. in CBDE and CDA.
  4. (d) From the December DRA 1994 customer survey baseline. while maintaining an overall level of performance at 22 per cent. above average, to improve quality and project management from 4.8 per cent. and 12 per cent. above average to 15 per cent. above average and to conduct similar surveys in DTEO, CDA and CBDE.
  5. (e) To improve scientific quality in the DRA, as measured by the external assessment of the MOD's corporate research programme, by 2 per cent. and to produce similar measures for CBDE and CDA.
  6. (f) To meet by 31 March 1996 all the 1995–96 rationalisation project milestones.
  7. (g) To achieve a non-MOD income of £98 million in 1995–96.
  8. (h) To achieve formal quality certification to ISO 9000 for an additional five DRA sectors and two DERA service sectors by 31 March 1996.
  9. (i) To have implemented the reward management review project processes in DRA and CDA by 31 October 1995.
  10. (j) To complete by 30 September 1995, a strategic review of all DERA business and project support functions making an assessment of the scope to introduce private capital. outsourcing and market testing and to publish this as part of the corporate plan.

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