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Outsourcing Defence in Belgium: Heverlee and Meerdaal military bases celebrate two years of outsourcing success

Published: 15 Oct 2020

An enterprising move by the Belgian Ministry of Defence who invested in an outsourcing contract of the Heverlee and Meerdal military bases has proven successful.

Two years ago, Serco Europe, part of Serco Group, the international and leading provider of public services, was selected by the Belgian Ministry of Defence to provide integrated Facilities Management (FM) services at the Heverlee and Meerdaal military bases. This was the first time that the Belgian Ministry of Defence had outsourced the full management of the installations of a military base to a private company.

Since the outsourcing operations started two years ago, not only has the Belgian army been able to release 60 soldiers from non-military tasks so they could concentrate on their core mission, but the outsourcing to Serco has considerably improved the daily lives of soldiers at the two bases.

For about two years, Serco has been providing an integrated range of eleven FM services on the Heverlee and Meerdaal military bases including the maintenance of buildings and infrastructure facilities, accommodation, pest control, winter services, landscaping, cleaning and restoration. Figures speak for themselves; Serco: 

  • Maintains 105 buildings
  • Tends more than 251.000 m² of lawn
  • Keeps 13km of roads clear in winter
  • Cares for 474 beds
  • Manages 164 tons of waste per year
  • Manages 1.400 technical installations.

All of these tasks are being successfully co-ordinated through a one-stop help desk and the introduction of innovative catering and ‘Topdesk’ apps for smartphones. 

Since the start of the contract more than 30 new jobs have been created locally, bringing economic benefits to the local communities. 

Commenting on the anniversary, Miguel Delacroix, General Manager of Serco Belgian subsidiary says: Two years later, we are proud to say we make a difference: 60 soldiers can focus on their core missions again; daily visits at the canteen have tripled; the digitalisation of our monitoring and maintenance services are a success and energy management as well as hygiene and security have greatly improved.

The soldiers themselves seem very satisfied with the quality of services provided by Serco. “We are pleased with this collaboration and feel Serco colleagues constantly seek to improve services and find solutions (…) our remarks and proposals are taken into account” explains a member of the Belgian Special Forces while another adds “Since Serco has arrived, the quality of life here has become better than any other bases I have known so far”. Another solider added “Serco became a member of the family… a member of the army.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Christoph Berlaimont, Directorate General Material Resources,in charge of the project implementation, says about the contract: “Thanks to this partnership we are now able to focus more on our core mission. Outsourcing non-military services made us achieve in a few months what would have taken several years for us to set up. In brief: more services, less concern, with a greater satisfaction from soldiers.

Serco specialises in creating effective solutions and offering integrated and complex services to governments across Europe and all over the world.