MOD criticised for outsourcing service at Leuchars Station

MP Stephen Gethins outside Leuchars Station.
MP Stephen Gethins outside Leuchars Station.

The Ministry of Defence’s decision to privatise the Defence Fire and Rescue Service ‘puts safety at risk’, a local politician has claimed.

The MOD has outsourced the DFRS, which provides 24-hour emergency service cover at Leuchars Station, to firm Capita Business Services.

The decision has been criticised by politicians and current DFRS staff, with fears over safety and jobs.

MP Stephen Gethins described the decision as “a cut-back in services which puts safety at risk” and noted that Capita had been stripped of a £400 million military estate maintenance contract.

He added: “It is not acceptable and shows that no lessons have been learned from the collapse of Carillion.”

The MP has also backed a motion in Parliament calling on the Government to reconsider its decision.

Leuchars DFRS firefighter Mark McLellan said he had concerns over the future of their jobs.

“We are immensely frustrated by the award to Capita and deeply concerned for the future of the DFRS under a private solution and our jobs,” he said.“The ability to deliver is not proven on this scale and the chance of failure is high.”

An MOD spokesman said Capita’s financial status had been analysed by the MOD’s Cost Assurance and Analysis Service over the course of bidding for the contract and that plans had been put in place to make sure the contract was managed appropriately.

The MOD also stated that, following a bidding process, Capita’s bid was deemed to deliver the best technical solution and the best value for money.

“This contract will deliver a more modern and agile defence fire and rescue service, by investing and improving in the whole range of firefighting infrastructure, equipment and training to improve fire fighter safety,” the spokesman added.

“Robust assessments have been made to ensure the financial health of suppliers ahead of any contract placement. We will monitor the performance of the supplier throughout the contract’s duration.”