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Directorate of Telecommunications
HISTORY; PRIVATISATION



Introduction
During the time preceding and following the decision by Central Government to privatise the Directorate, the organisation underwent a large, and for many a traumatic, period of change before relinquishing public sector status by being sold in a competitive trade sale to NTL on 1st March 1994.

The wide ranging changes included:

  1. Closing Central Communications Establishment at Harrow and merging operation with other parts of the organisation, such as Bishops Cleeve and Stanmore
     
  2. Closing Bridgend Depot and transferring operational responsibility for the South Wales region to Romsley Depot.
     
  3. Formation of DTELS in April 1991 and transferring core staff, those involved with regulatory matters and mainly based at Horseferry House, to Home Office RFCPU.
     
  4. In the summer of 1992:
     
    • closing Bishops Cleeve and Weyhill Maintenance Units and transferring the work to Kippax Maintenance Unit, and
    • closing Horseferry House and Stanmore and establishing a reduced Headquarters presence at a new building on the Ruddington Business Park near Nottingham
       
  5. By the summer of 1994 and following the trade sale, closure of Headquarters at Ruddington and merging operational responsibility within the wider NTL organisation, mainly at Crawley Court near Winchester.

    The period of change started around the late 1980’s as the WARC changeover project was coming to a successful conclusion and was driven by the need to place the organisation on a commercial and financial footing. Ultimately, this led to changes in working practices, closure of buildings, merging operations and the loss of many skilled and highly experienced people through voluntary and compulsory redundancy.  In the case of Headquarters staff who moved their home to the Nottingham area in 1992, many were subsequently made redundant less than two years later.

The effects of the change were felt for many years after the trade sale as DTELS staff who remained with NTL, later to become Virgin Media then Arqiva, were subjected to more change and various rounds of redundancies.

Major changes included:

  • integration with NTL Broadcast field operations
  • closure of Billinge, Cheveley, Hannington, Kippax, Shapwick and Stanton
  • reduced presence at Cranbrook
  • changes in operational requirements following the creation of Arqiva and merger with NGW during 2007/8

Words alone cannot express the fundamental change that occurred  in the organisation during the years leading up to the trade sale, particularly in human terms. With redundancy came a realisation for many Directorate staff working in a strong technical, ethical, career and defined work structure, that a way of life they had enjoyed for many years was coming to an end.  For some, the bitter memories of loosing their jobs, security and companionship remains to this day.

As they surface, documents relating to the privatisation process will be posted to this page.

Feedback
The Webmaster would welcome feedback regarding this topic, particularly dates, places and aspects of privatisation not covered in the introduction or the accuracy of statements made.

Acknowledgements:
Dave Partridge for the Bishops Cleeve papers, Brian Southcott for the Union and NTL papers and John Westcott for the Sale of DTELS document. All Copyright is Crown
page updated: 22/01/17


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Download a PDF copy of the 1994 DTELS Limited Accounts Report

1994 DTELS Limited Accounts Report

A report prepared by Earnst & Young for the period 8th July 1993 to 31st December 1994 covering the transition from public to private sector.

3.0 Mb

Download a PDF copy of the Bishops Cleeve Closure document

Bishops Cleeve Closure

A number of documents relating to the closure of Bishops Cleeve in 1992 give a brief insight to some of the issues arising and have been incorporated in one PDF file.

1.8 Mb

Download a PDF copy of the Trade Union & NTL documents

Trade Union & NTL Documents Dated February 1994 relating to the NTL Offer

A number of documents relating to the NTL offer to purchase DTELS have  been sent in by Brian Southcott and these can be viewed by clicking on the icon to the left.  Often, Trade Unions were often seen by management as a hindrance to changing practices.  However, they played an important part in helping to ensure that TUPE was applied, enabling DTELS staff to keep their Redundancy Terms and Pension rights following the Privatisation and Sale of DTELS.

1.8 Mb

Download a PDF copy of the Trade Union & NTL documents

National Audit Office - Sale of DTELS (Added 22 January 2017)

A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General dated 3rd August 1995 relating to the sale of DTELS to NTL in 1994

1.6 Mb

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