Examination of Witness (Questions 500
WEDNESDAY 4 DECEMBER 2002
KCB OBE AFC
500. Both organisations have been putting together
partnering agreements with firms with whom they might otherwise
be expected to compete. We saw that at ABRO with some partnering
they are doing with Oshkosh, with Alvis-Vickers and so on. What
limits are you putting on the number of partnering agreements
that those agencies can arrange? How are you monitoring the effect
of such arrangements on the scope for competition for the MoD's
repair work, which I guess you would need to seek to encourage?
(Air Chief Marshal Sir Malcolm Pledger) My immediate
answer is I know of no limits necessarily because the trading
fund by virtue of its delegations has to try to create other commercial
opportunities as well as fulfil work from the Ministry of Defence.
I know of no specific limitations on the number of partnerships
and, indeed, I am sure that in the owner's advisory regime the
partnership development is very definitely part of the transition
that they are going through in this trading fund development.
So far as the scope for competition is concerned, we are going
to have to create opportunities to show just how competitive these
organisations are going to be against some of our current core
suppliers. My perspective on that would be simply to create the
opportunities for those competitions and learn from them.
501. Within a best value not necessarily lowest
price scenario and the search capability that ABRO have which
(Air Chief Marshal Sir Malcolm Pledger) I come back
to operational risk and resilience.
502. One last specific question on the Cottesmore
project which you will be familiar with.
(Air Chief Marshal Sir Malcolm Pledger) No.
Jim Knight: You are not familiar with it? Would
it be easier if you provide us with a note.
Chairman: Does anybody behind know about the
503. My understanding is in the context of what
you have been talking about today of end-to-end
(Air Chief Marshal Sir Malcolm Pledger) You are talking
504. You are putting the Harriers at Cottesmore
and Whitton together with all the RAF functions with industrial
production in the same location. I am interested in how that fits
with your overall vision of DARA and partnership with industry
and whether you are driving that one forward with all the up-front
costing problems that might present.
(Air Chief Marshal Sir Malcolm Pledger) Very briefly,
Chairman, I would have to refer, would I not, to the success of
what has gone on in warship modernisation where by bringing this
end-to-end regime and successful solution with a partner we have
achieved significant efficiencies and responsiveness in that support
chain. In the same way we must then explore the collapse of what
I would call front and rear and therefore concentrate on end-to-end
and the benefits that can accrue from that. There will be obvious
benefits in capital spares if you only have to have them at one
location rather than several. There must be huge economies in
that process. Indeed, I suggest there has to be a better integration
solution if you have only got that one particular position. So
we are debating that with our customer who also has certain reservations
about what I call the resilience of manpower arrangements currently
in his organisation, but I would simply say we have managed to
resolve those as far as the naval base currently is concerned.
505. And the up-front cost of new roads, etcetera,
is something that is not a problem, it is more those other issues?
(Air Chief Marshal Sir Malcolm Pledger) I did not
say that it is a problem, I said we are examining this and those
issues will come out as part of the investment appraisal and value
Jim Knight: If you can give us a written note
on where we are on costings and implications for the future of
DARA, that would be very helpful.
Chairman: Thank you very much, Air Marshal,
that was very helpful. You will realise that I can manage very
successfully a 40% reduction without any consequent loss of efficiency
so if you want some advice maybe you should ask! We thank you
so much and your "suits", as Kevan said, for coming
along. Thank you so much.