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Defence Business Services

Volume 525: debated on Tuesday 22 March 2011

As part of the process of departmental reform, today we are announcing the commencement of consultation on a significant organisational change within the Ministry of Defence, with the proposed establishment of a defence business services organisation.

Defence business services will deliver corporate services —human resources, finance, information, commercial and vetting—from a single structure to all areas of the Department. This new single organisation will allow us to provide high-quality professional services more efficiently and with fewer civil servants. We are exploring options to strengthen our ability to manage this change, including the possibility of bringing in outside professional management expertise to lead and direct the new organisation.

By making these changes we expect to reduce the overall civilian work force by about 2,000 corporate services posts with a net saving of £73 million per annum by 2014. This will make a significant contribution to the civilian staff reductions set out last October in the strategic defence and security review.

These proposals are a development of the recommendations made in Gerry Grimstone’s independent review into the use of civilians in defence in 2010. Along with the creation of a new defence infrastructure organisation, which I announced to Parliament on 16 February 2011, the corporate services reforms are the first changes arising out of the work of the defence reform unit chaired by Lord Levene on restructuring the Department. There will be more such changes as we receive and consider further proposals.