Late last month, the government announced that Tony Douglas, currently the chief executive of Abu Dhabi airports, has been appointed as Chief Executive of Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the procurement arm of the MOD. Douglas will become one of the country’s highest paid civil servants with responsibility for the government’s £163 billion 10-year (2014-2024) plan to buy and maintain military equipment. He will have two years to oversee DE&S’s transformation into a “match-fit” organisation, the final stage in a long period of structural reform which began in 2011, took a dramatic turn in 2013 and eventually saw DE&S take on unique status as a “bespoke trading entity” of the government. What is the significance of this status? Most importantly, it allows DE&S certain exemptions to civil service rules on recruitment, retention and remuneration of staff. A cornerstone of the procurement reforms proposed by Bernard Gray, the outgoing Chief of Defence Materiel and former Labour SpAd, was allowing DE&S the freedom to recruit and reward the highly skilled managers capable of going head to head with industry and getting the best value for the taxpayer. The organisation now has the freedom to manage all aspects of its workforce however it […]

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