The Branch was very grateful to staff at MoD Corsham for arranging and hosting this unique opportunity to visit the brand new facilities at Corsham on Wednesday 18th January, to gain an understanding of the challenges faced in delivering the New Environment Programme and the work of the Global Operations and Security Control Centre (GOSCC).
Lynden Marsh (Programme Manager for the Corsham New Environment Programme) described the background, challenges for the construction, the management and lessons.
The need to regenerate Corsham was recognised some time ago. There were 3 sites, with 118 old buildings, a Military Signals Brigade, 350 acres of underground facilities, all with very high operating and maintenance costs. The requirement was for new offices accommodation, single living accommodation and military welfare facilities, an operations centre and the management of the underground facilities.
The programme was initiated in 2001 and was initially run as a project until the level of complexity became clear and a programme office was established to coordinate the many individual projects: design and construction, approvals, TUPE and HR, travel to work, CIS, transition and disposal.
The vision was approved in 2004, which set the strategic intent and has proved to be a key touch stone throughout the programme. The main business case was approved in 2006, and a 25 year PFI contract was placed in 2008. Construction began in 2010 and the first staff moved in 2011.
Some of the challenges have included capping the large Queen Mary vent which the GOSCC is built over, reusing all the demolition material in site, asbestos, bats, English heritage, and dealing with planning issues for car parking.
The benefits have already been significant, with 300 posts lost through natural wastage and 70 transferred out. With one post over 25 years costed at 1M, this is a substantial saving. The military accommodation has been reduced, a surplus site sold, easier security has reduced the number of guards, and there has been substantial reductions in operating costs. The new flexible accommodation has provided a more inclusive work environment for sharing and collaboration. The challenges are now on managing the performance of the 25 Yr PFI contract.
Lt Cdr Mark Quinn described the operation of the new GOSCC provided as part of the New Environment Programme. It aims to ensure the right information is available at the time and place throughout the world in both the battle space and business space. The battle space covers worldwide operations, including Afghanistan and the Libyan operation, military bases, ships, and submarines, including the strategic deterrent. It provides an end to end assurance service for all communications, and can trouble shoot problems with joint Industry / Mod teams with BT, ATLAS, and Fujitsu staff based at the GOSCC.