New travel era dawns for Britain's Armed Forces

| Press release
Simple and secure online booking for 300,000 personnel worldwide and £35 million annual cost savings, says Ministry of Defence

Second Permanent Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Defence Sir Ian Andrews today launched “Defence Travel”, a new online service which enables British forces in the UK and overseas to book business travel quickly, easily, securely and cost-effectively. The service has been designed, implemented and tested in less than 10 months in collaboration between the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and market-leading suppliers led by IT specialists Capgemini UK plc and international corporate travel services company, Hogg Robinson Group, the two companies which will also be running the service on behalf of the MOD.

Defence Travel will be available for use worldwide by some 300,000 Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and MOD personnel of all ranks, both individuals and groups, who need to book business travel whether air, rail, road or hotels. The service replaces a diverse range of systems used by different units, including paper-based processes involving form-filling and the production of printed warrants. Today’s launch follows rigorous trials involving some 6,000 personnel of different ranks in a number of countries and units.

Sir Ian Andrews said: “The new service is a tremendous initiative by our Defence Travel Modernisation team. We are confident that it will provide a better service to users and save significant sums of money, helping to ensure that as much as possible of every pound we spend is directed to the front line where it can really make an impact on achieving our objectives.

Defence Travel will for the first time make it easy for MOD personnel to compare budget airlines with scheduled carriers or rail for any given journey, and to quickly choose the best deal from the options available. It will also generate management information that will help the MOD in its negotiations to get better deals with travel providers, and it is expected to significantly cut paperwork and reduce administrative costs. The MOD estimates that as a result of these three factors, the new Defence Travel service will from 2009 onwards, generate savings of some £35 million per annum on the MOD’s £300 million annual business travel spend.

Users will also benefit from having a single, easy-to-use service and single point of contact for all business travel and they will have instant access to in-depth supporting information. The service aims to give the MOD greater visibility and control of its travel expenditure and help ensure that its staff travels efficiently and in line with its policies, including environmental and budgetary policies.

Group Captain Andy Towler, Defence Travel Modernisation Team Leader, said:  “Defence Travel is providing the Department with the tools to manage travel better.  Individuals can compare different modes and types of travel and make decisions over the most efficient means of travel.  The management information Defence Travel is delivering is already enabling the Department to wield its purchasing power with carriers and starting to provide the detail the Department needs to manage travel effectively at the strategic level.

The launch today at the MOD in Whitehall included a live demonstration of the new service to senior officers of all three services and to senior civil servants of other Government Departments.  Adoption of a common facility for travel across the whole of UK government on a shared services basis is seen as an area which could generate additional very substantial cost savings.

Dr. Cliff Evans, Vice President, Defence Sector at Capgemini, said: “The successful launch of Defence Travel marks the dawn of a new travel era for Britain’s Armed Forces. The project is a tremendous example of effective collaboration between the public and private sectors, and it shows how public sector services can be made faster, simpler and more user-friendly while at the same time becoming much more cost-effective. The MOD was the first Government Department to appreciate the shape of things to come in public sector travel, and I am confident that where they have led, others will soon follow.

David Radcliffe, Chief Executive of Hogg Robinson Group, said: “We are proud to have been involved with the team at the MOD and their partners on this ground-breaking initiative to help them streamline, enhance and optimise their travel practices, the result of which is Defence Travel.  For the first time the MOD will have full visibility of how, when and where its personnel travel which will enable it to influence demand and procure the best value-for-money travel services.

Vendors supporting Capgemini UK plc as subcontractors in the Defence Travel project include Carlson Wagonlit Travel which provides the Internet portal and helpdesk, Cognos, an IBM Company, which provides the business intelligence and management information software, and KDS which provides the online travel management solution, KDS Corporate.

HRG was awarded the contract for the travel services provider component of Defence Travel to replace the current hotel, rail, overseas car hire and air services.  HRG will support the electronic booking tool process on all ticketing as well as assisting travellers with more complex itineraries or those with special requirements such as family bookings.

The core IT systems supporting the Defence Travel service run on the Defence Electronic Commerce Service  (DECS) multi-purpose platform provided to the MOD by Capgemini UK plc under long-term contract and managed from a Capgemini UK plc secure data centre in the UK using employees with special security clearance.


Press contacts:
Tom Barton
Capgemini UK plc
Tel.:+44 (0)870 238 2491

Dionne Parker
Hogg Robinson Group
Tel: +44 (0) 1256 312624

About Capgemini
Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, enables its clients to transform and perform through technologies. Capgemini provides its clients with insights and capabilities that boost their freedom to achieve superior results through a unique way of working - the Collaborative Business Experience - and through a global delivery model called Rightshore®, which aims to offer the right resources in the right location at competitive cost. Present in 36 countries, Capgemini reported 2007 global revenues of EUR 8.7 billion and employs over 83,000 people worldwide.
More information is available at

Hogg Robinson Group
(HRG) is the award-winning international corporate travel services company. Founded in 1845 by a wine merchant and an insurance broker, HRG has over 60 years specific corporate travel expertise. Its corporate services interests include owned or controlled corporate travel operations in 25 of the key driver and growth markets throughout Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. Supported by contracted partners, the HRG worldwide network extends to over 100 countries.

Totally committed to a value offering for clients, HRG offers a comprehensive range of corporate travel services including Corporate Travel Management, Consulting, Events & Meetings Management and Sports as well as Expense Management through its Spendvision operation.