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Defence Training

Volume 465: debated on Thursday 25 October 2007

This statement updates the House on the Defence Training Rationalisation Programme following the announcement made on 17 January 2007, Official Report, column 787-89.

We continue to make progress on package 1, which aims to deliver training for Engineering and Communications and Information Systems. We have now let a risk reduction contract with Metrix which seeks to increase confidence in our ability to amend training courses quickly and efficiently over the life of the main contract in response to changes in training needs. It is anticipated that we will be in a position to commit to the final developmental phase of the project in the spring of next year with a view to signing the main contract within a further year. Construction at the St. Athan site would then start in 2009, with the aim of completing the final phase by 2013.

The work to explore possible synergies and economies of scale across the programme as a whole has concluded that there are insufficient efficiencies to move forward on this basis. We therefore continue to consider a range of options for package 2, which aims to provide training for Logistics and Personnel Administration, Police and Guarding, Security, Languages, Intelligence and Photography. These options vary from adaptations to Metrix’ original PFI proposals through to a full conventional procurement. The work to develop an affordable project will continue to focus on how best to improve our accommodation and training facilities, and meet our commitments following the review by Nicholas Blake QC to improve the support, welfare and wellbeing of our trainees.

We continue to manage the implications for our people sensitively and in full consultation with trades unions and staff. For package 1, our civilian staff in scope will continue to be required to transfer to the new partner, although no moves will take place before 2011. For package 2, training will continue to be delivered at the package 2 sites under current arrangements for at least the foreseeable future. We now plan to take forward more detailed negotiations with the Metrix consortium to press ahead with package 1. The work on package 2 will be conducted in parallel and a further update on both packages will be provided next year.