Letter from the Rt Hon Baroness Symons
concerning the Science and Technology Review (22 March 2001)
I wrote to you on 27 September last year informing
you that the Ministry of Defence's Chief Scientific Adviser had
established a small team to examine Science and Technology within
This work is still progressing, but there are
some elements of the team's emerging thinking on the future management
of the MoD's research programme that we want to start implementing
early. We are therefore consulting the Unions on these elements
now, in advance of the team's final report, which is due to be
completed in the next six weeks or so. I attach a copy of the
consultative document. Our aim is to put the new arrangements
in place as fully as possible when NewDERA is vested and the new
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory is created on 2 July
In order to provide the Department with a better
focus for strategic decision-making, and to maximise the benefits
of DERA PPP, we intend to create a new group of Research Directors
to lead on formulating the research programme and considering
the best procurement strategies. Capability Research Directors
will ensure that military needs are fully and coherently met,
whilst Technology Research Directors will assist in this by considering
the Department's overall strategy in particular technology areas
and will propose underpinning, longer-term and innovative projects
for inclusion in the research programme. In addition, we will
need an expanded contracting capability once NewDERA becomes a
An important element in the success of these
new arrangements will be attracting outstanding people to carry
out the new Technology Research Director role. There are many
excellent staff already in the Department who could do these jobs,
but we are keen to ensure that we maintain a flow of people into
these posts with good, current knowledge of developments in particular
technology areas. We therefore intend to advertise openly some
of these key posts.
As I mentioned in my earlier letter, I will
write to you again with the summary of the review team's overall
findings once the Department has considered them.
Ministry of Defence's Science and Technology
1. The aim of this document is to explain
the Department's proposals for creating a group of posts within
the Central Scientific Staff to formulate and direct its Research
Programme. It provides a basis for the Ministry of Defence to
consult Trades Unions on the proposals. It is also being made
available to other interested parties who may wish to comment.
2. MoD's Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA)
established a small team in June 2000 to review the Department's
future needs for science and technology and make recommendations
on how best to achieve these.
3. The team have concentrated on how the
Department is going to manage its research budget in the light
of DERA PPP. The CSA has requested that the review team's proposals
in this area be considered in advance of their final report as
it is essential that this new structure is in place to direct
the research programme as soon as possible following the vesting
of NewDERA and the creation of the Defence Science and Technology
Laboratory (DSTL) on 2 July 2001.
4. The transfer of 11 posts from the DSTL
Trading Fund to the Chief Scientific Adviser's High Level Budget
to act as Capability Research Directors. This is based on two
small programmes being managed together with larger programmes.
If, however, it proves better to split these responsibilities,
the number may rise to 12 or 13.
5. The creation of nine Technology Research
Directors in the Central Scientific Staff with a total staff of
33 posts plus support. Eighteen of these posts exist already,
five exist in a slightly different guise, and 10 will be new.
Four to six of these posts will be openly competed, with internal
candidates also encouraged to apply.
6. The creation of new posts to carry out
contracting for research following DERA PPP.
7. Currently, the key role in the management
of applied research is carried out by Package Managers in DERA
who translate the Central Customers' requirements into research
proposals and manage the provision of the resulting programme
from the relevant DERA sectors. This arrangement will not be able
to continue after DERA PPP.
8. In future, if MoD is to get the best
value from the Research Building Block, we need to be in a position
to access a wide research supplier base whilst maintaining a coherent
overall programme that, as well as meting the needs of the different
capability areas and other Central Customers, avoids overlap and
duplication. This will require the programme formulation process
to look at research requirements from both the capability and
technology perspective, so that sensible packages are created.
Thereafter, a decision will need to be taken as to whether the
work needs to be done in DSTL, or whether it can be sourced externally.
In the latter case the best procurement strategy will need to
be determined, to make the most of the future, more varied research
9. These functions, essentially that of
determining the research requirement and procurement strategy,
are properly a Head Office responsibility. The model proposed
to carry them out involves scientific representatives of the Directors
of Equipment Capability (who will remain the customers for the
Applied Research Programme (ARP)), and scientists responsible
for particular technology areas, working in multi-disciplinary
teams. DSTL would provide a range of technical advice throughout
this process and in the subsequent step of integrating and evaluating
the research outputs.
10. This new approach will require the establishment
of Capability and Technology Research Directors in the Central
Scientific Staff to formulate the research programme and procurement
strategies. The technical expertise in these posts will also be
used more widely to provide advice on scientific issues and risks.
11. In addition, there will need to be an
expanded contracting capability once NewDERA becomes a government-owned
plc on 2 July. At present, a small number of staff in the Central
Scientific Staff run the research competition pilot and the resulting
contracts. As NewDERA's guaranteed workshare diminishes over the
next few years and we start to make better use of universities,
industry and other external suppliers, this need will grow. We
propose that these new posts should be created as part of the
Central Scientific Staff, although probably located alongside
DSTL, outside London.
12. The Capability Research Director posts
will be created in the Central Scientific Staff. They will replace
the current Package Managers in DERA and, although the roles are
significantly different, these individuals will be the ideal candidates
for these roles. The intention for the first year would be to
second the individuals concerned into the Capability Research
Director posts and transfer them to the Chief Scientific Adviser
High Level Budget after that. There would be no need to post the
individuals to London, as they are currently located with the
technical experts of DSTL and would need in the future to travel
to London no more frequently than they do currently. Nine of the
posts will be graded B1 and two B2.
13. Each of the Technology Director areas
will be headed by a B1. Five of the areas: Chemical and Biological
Defence/Human Systems, Synthetic Environments/Simulation and Support,
Operating Environment, Ballistic Missile Defence and Nuclear Systems
currently exist in a similar guise and we do not propose changing
the number of technical posts at this level and below. The other
four areas; materials, Energy/Guidance and Control, Communications
and Information Processing and Sensors and Electronic Warfare
will be new.
14. We intend to compete openly the B1 posts
where they are new creations and others as appropriate, and our
assumption is that the other B1 posts will be competed when they
become vacant, although we will preserve the ability to make grade-managed
moves and direct secondments when appropriate. There may be some
flexibility over pay if this is necessary to attract an external
candidate with outstanding qualities and background. Internal
candidates will be encouraged to apply when the posts are competed.
15. A diagram showing the relationship between
the Capability Research Director and Technology Research Director
posts and existing posts is attached.
16. Virtually all the contracts posts will
need to be new creations. We envisage about 17 posts overall (14
commercial and three support) by the second half of 2001-02, rising
to at least 33 (25 commercial and eight support) by the second
half of 2003-04.
17. We envisage the Technology Research
Director posts being funded by a re-shaping of the current Corporate
Research Programme customer posts and some others in the Central
Scientific Staff. This will not, however, be able to cover the
new Capability Research Director and contracts posts. For these,
we propose to transfer money from the Research Building Block
to the Chief Scientific Adviser's High Level Budget. In effect,
therefore, these functions will no longer be funded (to the extent
that they are carried out at present) as a management fee on activity
paid to DERA but as running costs for permanent posts in the Central
18. The intention is to have the new research
management organisation as fully in place as possible at the time
of the vesting of NewDERA and creation of DSTL on 2 July 2001,
so that the MoD can be in a position to begin to formulate and
manage the 2002-03 research programme. Therefore implementation
will commence as soon as the consultation period is complete and
any issues raised have been addressed.
19. The S&T Review Team's work is continuing
into the re-shaping of the other functions in the Central Scientific
Staff. Their final report will be produced in May when we shall
write again to consult on any further proposals that have implications
in which you would be interested.
20. Final decisions will not be taken before
a proper period of consultation is completed. This document provides
the basis for this consultation and the Ministry of Defence would
welcome views and comments on the proposals it contains by [date].
Any comments from local Trades Union representatives should be
channelled through the constituent unions to the MoD Council of
Civil Service Unions, or the TU Side Secretary of the MoD Industrial
Whitley Council, as appropriate, who will be responsible for presenting
a co-ordinated response to Stephen Smith, the Head of the S&T
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