HL Deb 16 January 2001 vol 620 c123WA
Lord Gladwin of Clee

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What conclusions they have reached about the future of the Defence Diversification Agency. [HL345]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean):

We remain fully committed to defence diversification—the "spin out" of defence technology to the civil sector for wider benefit. The Defence Diversification Agency (DDA) has made a very successful start in delivering that policy objective since its establishment in 1999. The implementation of our Public Private Partnership proposals for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) will make a further and very substantial contribution to defence diversification. It will be in the interest of "NewDERA" to exploit opportunities for the "spin-out" of defence technology to the civil sector. At the same time we shall want to ensure that the Defence Scientific and Technical Laboratory (DSTL), the part of DERA to be retained in the MoD, also contributes fully to defence diversification activity.

Since the DDA currently operates as part of DERA, some reorganisation over the next few months is inevitable. Responsibility for the agency, we propose, will be transferred from DERA to MoD headquarters, from where it would continue to facilitate the achievement of our defence diversification objectives. It would ensure that opportunities for "spin-out", and also the "spin-in" of civil technology to the MoD, are disseminated and exploited, and that industry is assisted with its own diversification planning. A major part of diversification activities would in future be undertaken from within NewDERA and DSTL, by existing DDA staff operating from their current locations, continuing the work that they do now, and transferred to NewDERA and DSTL for that purpose.

We shall work closely with industry and other stakeholders to ensure that the DDA continues to secure our policy objectives. Detailed new arrangements will now be worked out and we shall consult about the staffing implications in the normal way. In the light of experience of the new organisation, we shall consider further the establishment of a Defence Diversification Council.