The fire training and Development Centre at Manston will close with operations being transferred to Moreton-in-Marsh.
The move follows the agreement in July of a 12 year contract, worth £525 million, to outsource Ministry of Defence fire and rescue operations to private company Capita.
The firm was selected by the MOD as the winning tender for the Defence Fire and Rescue Project in June 2018.
But there was a delay in the award of the contract following a legal challenge from Serco Ltd, the other final bidder. The government agreed an out-of-court settlement of £10 million to settle the dispute.
The contract involves operating 53 fire stations in the UK, and on MOD sites in Cyprus and the Falkland Islands.
Capita says investment will be made in digital technology solutions, new fire engines and other equipment to upgrade fire-fighting capabilities.
But the Manston centre will be closed down with training transferred to Capita’s existing fire training facility at Moreton-in-Marsh.
In a statement to Parliament Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Tobias Ellwood said: “The award of this contract will enable the Ministry of Defence to vacate large elements of the Manston site which will be released to support economic development, potentially including housing, in the local area.”
The statement was made prior to the sale of the Manston site by Stone Hill Park, which had a masterplan for housing and infrastructure, to RiverOak Strategic Partners, which plans to develop a cargo hub.
The outsourcing has been slammed by Nia Griffith MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, who said: ““It beggars belief that the Conservatives have awarded this service to a company that has failed so appallingly to deliver its existing defence contracts. Capita has made a total mess of Army recruitment, and yet Ministers seem hell-bent on privatising as many MoD services as possible, without any consideration of the costs to our Armed Forces or the taxpayer.
“This service should never have been privatised in the first place when it is being delivered well in House.”
The Defence Fire and Risk Management Organisation provides fire cover to 300,000 Ministry of Defence employees and strategic assets dispersed across 4,600 sites with 45,000 buildings worth more than £100bn. It has 2,000 military, civil service, locally employed civilian and contractor staff.
Initially, around 560 MOD civil servants, mainly firefighting personnel, are expected to transfer to Capita under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations.
A date for the closure at Manston has not yet been released.
Capita has been asked for further comment.
Another blow for the area and Manston!
Yet another example of incompetence by the government this deal stinks. I would like to see a complete list of those behind Capita they are less than useless they are another Seaborne. I have no confidence in this government and call for a general election. Has WH SMITH run out of brown envelope’s I wonder.
“In a statement to Parliament Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Tobias Ellwood said: “The award of this contract will enable the Ministry of Defence to vacate large elements of the Manston site which will be released to support economic development, potentially including housing, in the local area.””
What a pathetic excuse!!
There is an Army Reserve unit there also, is that going to go?
Honest answer is that I don’t know yet but will ask
What is it with you and housing Andrew?????? Hopefully RSP will be able to make use of it with their aviation, engineering and airframe recycling operations. The future beckons ✈✈☺
You could ask many people the question”What is it with you and housing?” and their answer would be “It’s not that I particularly support the building of thousands of new houses and flats, but I don’t want an airport at Manston.”
I wonder what Andrew’s answer will be.
Indeed the site will be snapped up by one of those hundreds of companies that are going to move here cos airport and create thousands of highly paid jobs for locals. Now are you interested in a nice bridge I have for sale?
Why change something that has been working extremely well over the years on a fantastic site.
It’s this government’s ideology. Outsource everything.
What beggars belief is that Crapita, serial screwers-up of everything they touch, should have been given the contract.
And that seems to be a bit dubious: the govt had to pay off Serco with a £10M bung.
“What beggars belief is that Crapita, serial screwers-up of everything they touch, should have been given the contract.”
You could say the same about the person heading up the plans to ‘save’ Manston airport !
I’m sure there’s no connection!