Amey and DIO – proudly supporting the repatriation of UK Service families from overseas

29 April 2020
Image of service family homes.

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), Amey, and its supply chain partners are working around the clock to ensure that more than 130 Service families stationed abroad are returned safely and quickly back to the UK in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

With Service families being urged to leave their current deployments in Kenya, Nepal, Oman, Germany and Australia as quickly as possible, our teams were given just 72 hours’ notice to identify over 130 suitable properties and bring them up to Move In standard. 

Amey and DIO teams immediately began to discuss their plan of action and were able to identify properties in the South West, chosen due to them being vacant and in a good state of repair. Our supply chain partners, Lovell Partnerships and Steele Davis, were notified that any work needed to bring each property up to Move In standard should be treated as high priority, and both businesses were ready to go above and beyond for the families. 

Maintenance engineers arrived at properties within hours of being given the details. They worked together with local utility and communications contractors to ensure that each home was safe and clean and all utility services were connected. Despite their current busy workload, BT Openreach worked with us to reprioritise their tasks and ensure internet connections were in place prior to the families arriving. This was particularly important given that children need the internet to resume studies at home. Our furniture supplier, Harrow Green, were equally as keen to support the repatriation, and quickly delivered basic furniture and essential white goods ready for the incoming occupants. This desire to work together in support of our military community resulted in each home being ready for Move In within 48 hours. 

As flights arrive in the UK, we continue to communicate with Unit Welfare Officers (UWOs) on site who have been allocated appointment slots for signing out keys and completing relevant paperwork. Each UWO has completed a proxy training course, meaning they are able to sign over each property on the family’s behalf, speeding up the process and ensuring immediate Move In. 

Additionally, our teams are in constant contact with representatives from DIOMilitary Housing Liaison Officers (MHLOs), HQ British Gurkhas Nepal and personnel from MOD Main Building, all of whom are committed to making sure each individual move goes as smoothly as possible. 

Lt Col Robin Hall, DIO SO1 Accommodation Plans and Requirements is delighted with the quick turnaround of properties and commented: “This has been an incredible team effort and great demonstration of how the close working relationship between DIO and our industry partners has crystalised to deliver at short notice 135 furnished SFA to support our service personnel and their families who have been repatriated.” 

We are extremely proud of the herculean efforts of all parties who have demonstrated their unfailing commitment to support our Armed Forces throughout this unprecedented time. Close collaboration, open communication and a shared common goal have been key to getting the properties ready and we’re really proud of everyone single individual who has been involved. 

Major General D W Southall CBE | D B&I | Army HQ, said: “Many thanks to the staff team from across the community who have all been stars in pulling this together. I have briefed this extensively this week in Army HQ; Chief of the General Staff is personally tracking the progress and is very grateful for the outcome.” 

Air Commodore Wendy Rothery, Head of Regional Delivery Accommodation, DIO, added“This has been a truly collaborative response at pace between Army Director of Basing and Infrastructure, DIO and Amey, and I wanted to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts they and their staff have made to prepare these properties in just a few days.” 

The first families began their journey back to the UK on Monday 6th April and over the next three weeks all families will have returned home.