Rhodri doesn't understand the reality of the DTA!!!

A MoD bulletin has recently been issued to advise PCS members on the latest information regarding the deferred decision on the Defence Training Review (DTR). The bulletin focuses on an recently published DTR newsletter that was circulated to all staff:
Rhodri Morgan should get his facts right and so should the other AMs blindly following his lead and supporting this crazy doomed project!

Ministry of Defence

20th October 2008 MoD/BB/112/08

To: MoD Branch Secretaries

Cc: Group Executive Committee

Instructional Officer Committee

DTR. Non Announcement on package 1. Further Delays- further Frustration


After the recent delays in announcing anything of substance, members in scope of package 1 of DTR were expecting some clarification on their futures. Any such hopes were dashed by Ainsworth’s statement to the House of Commons.

Meetings with senior officers had previously revealed that package 1 “was just about affordable”. Given this was before the credit crunch, before the fall in house prices and before the fall in land prices, PCS had been hopeful that the MoD would gracefully abandon this foolish enterprise.

Ainsworth Announces

During the defence debate the Minister made the following comments:

“As in all areas of defence, we continue to examine how we can improve training. The House is aware of the defence training review programme. The review will transform how we deliver specialist phase 2 and phase 3 technical training on a defence-wide basis, and, once complete, will help us to adjust to changes in demand, to make more efficient and effective use of training personnel, to improve accommodation and to make better and more efficient use of the training estate… Hon. Members will be aware that progress on defence training review package 1 has been more difficult and prolonged than expected. However, I can report that considerable progress has been made in driving down costs and towards achieving an affordable, value-for-money package 1, which is on track for an investment decision next spring, with the contract signature to come approximately 15 months later.”

IPT Team leader meeting with Trade Unions

Geoff Nield met with the trade unions shortly before Ainsworth’s comments in the House. A part of the information imparted was that the fall back position is MORE expensive than proceeding to contract. This is a staggering confession and beggars the question that if the fall back position is more expensive, then how can it be a fall back position at all? This appears to be more smoke and mirrors from Nield’s team and it is something that PCS will be taking up at the next meeting with the IPT.

IPT issues propaganda rag

Some of you may already have seen the latest DTR Package 1 Update. The eight page “newsletter” includes some useful information sandwiched between thinly disguised propaganda.

The newsletter includes a revised timeline for DTR package 1:

  • Main Gate Approval- Spring 2009
  • Financial close- Summer 2010.
  • Vesting day- Autumn 2010
  • Start of construction- Autumn 2010
  • New service commence- 2014-2015.

This in itself appears to be wishful thinking and PCS expects further slippage to the right as time goes on, as is fairly common with projects in the MoD.

Rhodri Morgan tells PCS members not to worry- they'll love moving

The newsletter, incredibly contains a message from Rhodri Morgan, the First Minister for Wales! The piece is nothing more than a thinly disguised attempt to prepare PCS members for the “inevitable” transfer to St Athan. Rhodri tells readers of presumable success stories in bringing work to the Vale of Glamorgan. He has the nerve to include DARA in this.

DARA's “Red Dragon” hanger is available for redevelopment within the footprint of DTR, not because of success but because the End to End review moved much of DARA’s work to RAF forward bases.

The First Minister waxes lyrical about the transport and communication links to St Athan, but forgets to mention the local MP's (John Smith) call for a new railway station and roads to service the Defence Technical Academy. If links are so good then what is Smith talking about?

Rhodri Morgan also talks glowingly of the relocation of Civil Service jobs to South Wales- in particular he mentions Home Office, Department for Transport, Patent Office, Statistics Office, DVLA etc and how “brilliantly” this has worked for thousands of Civil Servants. What's more he assures readers that there are packages to help Civil Servants make the move...the only problem is that staff in scope of DTR package 1 will NOT BE CIVIL SERVANTS. Obviously it’s too much to expect the First Minister and his entourage to understand the reality of the DTA and PCS members’ opposition to it.

It seems to PCS that “Team Wales” has a lot to learn.

Compression, rationalisation and harmonisation = Job losses

The newsletter contains an article by Steve Krosnar-Clarke that talks about CRH- being Compression, Rationalisation and Harmonisation. These methodologies will reduce the length of courses by 25%.

What Krosnar-Clarke does not say is what that means going forward. If you keep the same number of courses but compression them, then the total number of hours training is reduced and the number of trainers required must, by the same token, be reduced. Therefore CRH is the prelude for redundancies- potentially in the region of 25%.

Given that these plans are already being made PCS will be liaising with experts within the union to ascertain whether or not such a programme is in contravention of the recently signed Cabinet Office Protocol on privatisation and TUPE transfer.

Risky business

The newsletter also contains an article by Chris Brand on risk. It might be a Freudian slip but calling DTR a risky business has been exactly the PCS position for a substantial period of time.

Worryingly, the article's longest paragraph is one about the risks of crossing a road. The article advises that there are risk mitigation plans that are regularly updated. In fact the biggest risk and the one that forced a reappraisal of methodology in package 2- i.e. teaching staff refusing to relocate has the flimsiest of plans attached to it. It seems to consist of begging Instructional Officers not to leave and in the meantime training would be Instructors in colleges around the Vale of Glamorgan.

PCS will be contacting Chris Brand for a full copy of the latest mitigation plans and will circulate them to branches if possible.

Still everything to play for

The DTR IPT is seeking to become a master of spin. This should surprise no one. But it is crucial that PCS members don't believe the hype and therefore consider defence training privatisation a fait accompli. To do so now will be a grave tactical error and one that the IPT would welcome.

Recent articles on Defence Management website state that Hutton is being told to adopt a “more realistic budget” in the wake of the £2 billion deficit and now the hundreds of billion pounds bail out of the banking system. The question of the fall back position being more expensive than the privatisation starts to look like a rather sorry attempt to save the privatisation at a time of major financial pressure on MOD budgets by positioning itself as “value for money” against keeping training in house. Again the contrast to emerging package 2 solutions is notable.

What can you do to support the PCS campaign?

  • There are various activities that branch secretaries can initiate to keep people involved and active. Members can:
  • Write to Rhodri Morgan and tell him that you don’t want to be relocated or privatised.
  • Write to Bob Ainsworth and call upon him to meet with your union officials as he had previously promised.
  • Ensure you have a delegate to IO conference and prime him or her to ask difficult questions of Major General Tim Inshaw when he comes to address conference.
  • Support PCS in its national action to seek fair pay for hard pressed Civil Servants.
  • Write to the National Audit Office and call for an investigation into the financing of the DTR programme.
  • Pass any interesting stories (that do not breach confidentiality) to the PCS Defence Sector Instructional Officer Committee.

PCS will continue to campaign with you and for you.


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