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01 Sep 08. Telford-based Ministry of Defence (MOD) staff today transfer from the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation to the MOD’s new Defence Support Group (DSG).

DE&S buys and supports all the equipment used by the Armed Forces and supports all current operations including Iraq and Afghanistan – a hugely important task. Continued support for operations now and in the future remains paramount.

The internal transfer of some 215 jobs means that the Sapphire House staff will remain in Telford as announced by Minister for Defence Equipment and Support Baroness Ann Taylor in December 2007 rather than relocating to the DE&S headquarters in Bristol.

Among the critical jobs undertaken by the Telford team is the ordering of spares from tank engines to tyres and the onward despatch of such items to the military units requiring them.

DSG launched on 1 April 2008 and brought together the ABRO and DARA businesses into a single new defence Trading Fund. DSG’s primary focus will be in providing expert in-house maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade services for the through life support of the key land and air based platforms and equipment for the UK Armed Forces.

It draws together many unique capabilities that have been developed over several decades for the direct benefit of troops and their equipment at both home and abroad. The combined businesses will turnover in excess of £200m, with a workforce of around 3800 strategically located throughout the UK.

DSG’s Head Office is located in Andover and provides strategic direction to the main sites in Bovington, Catterick, Colchester, Donnington, Sealand, St Athan, Stafford, Stirling, Telford and Warminster. Smaller support sites located in Aldershot, Bicester, Edinburgh, Kinnegar, Sennybridge and York further enhances DSG’s geographic coverage. Small support teams are also permanently embedded in other UK military sites.

In August 07, ABRO (as DSG was then) approached DE&S with a proposal to take on the provisioning work undertaken by DE&S staff at Sapphire House which would widen ABRO’s portfolio of defence-related activities. Their proposal recognised the potential synergies to be achieved by integrating this work with their existing maintenance and repair activities. The proposal was subject to a robust investigation and full investment appraisal which showed it to represent best economic advantage to MOD.

DSG brings together in one organisation the merged Army Base Repair Organisation and Defence Aviation Repair Agency business units. By joining forces, DSG provides a flexible, responsive and operationally excellent organisation delivering cost-competitive in-house maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade capability to support the air and land systems of the UK Armed Forces. DSG recognises the capabilities of the Sapphire House staff as complementary to DSG’s wider support to the UK Armed Forces.
DSG, whose staff are based at strategic locations across the UK to deliver the best possible service to its defence customers, will now employ almost 3,800 staff and have an annual turnover in excess of £200M.

Welcoming the Telford-based staff to the business, DSG’s Chief Executive Archie Hughes said: “There has been a great deal of planning to get us to this major milestone and it has succeeded because of the professionalism and focus of all the staff at Sapphire House. They join DSG just a few months after its creation on 1 April 2008 so they will play an integral role in shaping our organisation for the future.

“Getting vital equipment to our Armed Forces is our primary objective and capturing the provisioning and procurement activities undertaken at Sapphire House within our business portfolio of activities will help us achieve this key aim.”

In July 08, DE&S Minister Baroness Ann Taylor announced her approval in principle for acquisition related functions in DE&S to be collocated a

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