I am today informing the House of our intention to introduce new contractual arrangements for facilities management at Ministry of Defence sites in Gibraltar with effect from 20 April 2007. The decision has been based on an exhaustive evaluation of the preferred commercial bid against an in-house option submitted by the Gibraltar work force. I know that this decision will come as a disappointment to our work force in Gibraltar, but I am satisfied that the preferred commercial bidder will provide best value for money, with effective management of health and safety risk, more efficient working practices and subsequent improvements in the quality of service.
The new commercial contract is expected to generate significant savings over the next seven years. We anticipate that some seven posts currently filled by UK-based civilians and 275 locally employed civilians will transfer to the contractor. The Ministry of Defence will, of course, ensure that all transferring employees’ rights are protected under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations, including redundancy and pension rights.
The approach we are adopting has been successfully applied in UK establishments and other bases overseas. Efficiency savings generated will make a significant contribution to re-investment in the capabilities and force structure that our armed forces need to counter the threats that we and our allies continue to face.