The We Haven’t Got a Clue Review

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Having a wade through the SDSR, the parliamentary debates and follow up written questions and answers one is left with the impression that the Government and MoD have done this hatchet job dressed up as strategy in somewhat of a rush.

On the subject of British Forces Germany

QUESTION: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the costs of reinstatement of facilities in Germany when UK armed forces personnel stationed there have left.

ANSWER: Detailed work is now under way to consider how this will be implemented, and reinstatement of facilities will form an important part of this planning. At this stage it is not possible to provide an accurate estimate of likely reinstatement costs.

QUESTION: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of the draw-down of troops from Germany; (2) what procedure he plans to use to effect the draw-down of troops from Germany; (3) what his timetable is for the draw-down of troops from Germany; (4) where he expects armed forces personnel drawn-down from Germany to be based upon return to the UK.

ANSWER: More detailed work will now be undertaken to identify precisely how this will be implemented. It is therefore too early to say what the financial impact will be or specifically where returning personnel will be based.

TRANSLATION: We haven’t got a clue but it should turn out alright on the night

On the subject of Civil Service redundancies

QUESTION: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the 25,000 reduction in civil service personnel he expects to be achieved through redundancy

ANSWER: It is too early to say. Discussions are under way with the trade unions to determine how the reductions may be achieved through various means including natural wastage and voluntary early release, thereby minimising the need for compulsory redundancies.

TRANSLATION: We decided on a round number and haven’t got the first clue how we will achieve them, this is a strategic review mind you, not a cost cutting exercise

On Defence Estates

QUESTION: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he plans to take to reduce expenditure by rationalising defence estates.

ANSWER: No decisions have yet been made on changes to the management of Defence estates.

TRANSLATION: We haven’t got a clue what we are doing but come on, less forces will need less land

On the sale of the Marchwood Sea Mounting Centre (Port)

QUESTION: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how he plans to proceed with the sale of Marchwood Sea Mounting Centre.

ANSWER: The project implementation plan is being developed. I will write to the hon. Member when this is complete.

TRANSLATION: Can you see a pattern developing here

On those famous cancellation costs

QUESTION: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what penalty payments his Department is liable to pay in respect of the cancellation of contracts announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

ANSWER: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) will be engaged in an extensive programme of commercial negotiations with its suppliers in the coming months, as part of the strategic defence and security review (SDSR) implementation process. This will focus on the areas where savings can be delivered and contract changes are required as a result of SDSR measures. Any liabilities as a result of contract cancellation or amendment will only emerge from this process.

TRANSLATION: We don’t really know and haven’t been arsed to ask but them big boys in the corner told us they would be big.

On consolidating Regional HQ’s

QUESTION: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what procedure he intends to use to determine which two of the 10 regional brigade headquarters will be closed; (2) what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department arising from the closure of two of the 10 regional brigade headquarters; (3) what savings he expects to accrue to his Department from the closure of two of the 10 regional brigade headquarters in the next 12 months; (4) what assessment he has made of the potential saving to the public purse of the reduction in the Army’s non-deployable regional administrative structure; (5) by what means his Department plans to reduce the non-deployable regional administrative structure of the Army; (6) what estimate he has made of the cost of replacing the four regional division headquarters with one UK support command; (7) what estimate he has made of the potential savings to the public purse consequent on replacing the four regional division headquarters with one UK support command

ANSWER: A project team was established in June 2010 to examine and rationalise the Army’s non-deployable regional administrative structure after the publication of the SDSR. This team will continue the detailed work of identifying the most cost-effective way of achieving this transformation.

TRANSLATION: Shit, we have been rumbled

So despite the SDSR appearing to be an indiscriminate cost-cutting salami-slicing punt that has is moving forward on a wing and a prayer, it’s good to know the MoD has carried out a Quality Impact Assessment.

QUESTION: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to publish equality impact assessments undertaken by his Department as part of the comprehensive spending review; and if he will make a statement.

ANSWER: The Ministry of Defence has carried out equality impact assessments as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review and the spending review. Records of this will be kept for a minimum of five years and will be made available to third parties if requested.

TRANSLATION: Fill in your own blanks

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