Babcock International Group

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Babcock International Group plc is a British multinational support services company specialising in managing complex assets and infrastructure in safety- and mission-critical environments. Although the company has civil contracts, its main business is with public bodies, particularly the UK Ministry of Defence and Network Rail.

Babcock is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

It is one of the UK's biggest defence contractors, after BAE Systems and Rolls Royce.

In April 2017 the UK MoD awarded Babcock a prestigious £340m deal providing support services to Royal Navy warships. This came just a week after Babcock's shares fell drastically after it announced a decision to end its 14-year nuclear reactor clean-up contract with the government nine years early. [1]


The company has four operating divisions with overseas operations based in Africa, North America & Australia. These are: Marine & Technology, Defence & Security, Support Services & International.

It is the world's 41st-largest defence contractor measured by 2010 defence revenues, and the third-largest based in the UK (after BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce). [2]

Current activities


Nuclear spin.png This article is part of the Nuclear Spin project of Spinwatch.

NB: Babcock's nuclear services division was renamed in October 2013 as Cavendish Nuclear.

Babcock is the UK's largest specialist nuclear support services organisation, employing over 3,500 nuclear engineers, scientists and technicians in 2012. [3]

In September 2009, it bought one of the last parts of the UK's state-owned nuclear industry, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority's commercial clean-up business, UKAEA Ltd. Babcock paid £50 million for this, reportedly narrowly outbidding AMEC and US rival Babcock & Wilcox.[4]

This extended Babcock’s existing nuclear skills, bringing extra expertise in waste categorisation, decommissioning of high hazard facilities, encapsulation and storage of hazardous materials and transportation of waste. The deal also provided Babcock with its first operational Tier 1 position in the civil nuclear market and a direct relationship with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, complementing its existing Tier 1 position in the military nuclear market. [5] [4]

In April 2012, Babcock Dounreay Partnership (BDP), a consortium of Babcock International Group PLC (50%), CH2M HILL (30%) and URS (20%) was selected as preferred bidder and eventually awarded a £1.6bn contract by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority for the management and decommissioning of the Dounreay nuclear site in Caithness, Scotland.

In March 2014 Britain awarded Babcock and US group Fluor a 14-year, £7bn contract to manage the decommissioning of some of Britain's oldest nuclear power sites, including Hinkley, Sizewell and Dungeness. [6] In April 2017 however Babcock announced a decision to end this contract with the government nine years early[7] a 'mismatch between what had been requested in the contract and the work that needed to be done put the contract at risk of legal action'. The NDA revealed that it had paid £97.5million to settle legal claims from two American companies, Bechtel and Energy Solutions, over the deal. [8]


In February 2013, Powerbase/Spinwatch revealed that Babcock had seconded two staff to the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) at the Health and Safety Executive. One was a technical assistant to the Civil Nuclear Reactor Programme; the other, an employee to help with the ‘Development and review of ONR wide processes’. The ONR said that all secondees are paid for by the nuclear industry and it has safeguards in place to ensure there is no conflict of interest. It added that no secondee works on matters directly related to their parent organisation.[9]

Revolving door appointments

Paul Newton

In 2012 Lieutenant General Paul Newton CBE, the Former Commander Force Development and Training, Army sought permission from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA) to accept a part-time appointment with Babcock International Group as a Member of its Defence Advisory Board.

When considering this application, the Committee noted that Lt Gen Newton had had only occasional, limited official contact with his prospective employer, which did not involve any contractual dealings with it; that he had had no access to commercially sensitive information concerning his prospective employer's competitors; and that he would not be taking up the appointment until September 2012, some five months after his last day of service.
The Prime Minister accepted the Committee's recommendation that, on the understanding that Lt Gen Newton would not draw on privileged information available to him whilst in post, his application be approved subject to the conditions that, for 12 months from his last day of service, he should not advise his new employer on any bid or contract directly relating to the work of the MOD, and that, for two years from the same date, he should not become personally involved in lobbying Government on behalf of his new employer.

ACOBA permission was granted in June 2012 and Newton took up the position in September 2012. [10]

Former MOD consultant to Babcock resigns, regrets embarrassment caused

Another former high-ranking official, Admiral Sir Trevor Soar took up an independent consultancy position the same month as Newton. Just months later he was forced to step down after a sting by the Sunday Times. In a Babcock International statement Soar 'expressed regret over the embarrassment caused by his interview [with the Sunday Times], and his resignation has been accepted by the Company'. [11]

Jonathan Band

Jonathan Band is a former First Sea Lord who retired from the MOD in 2009, joining Babcock as an adviser in 2010.


  • Peter Rogers, Chief Executive Officer, Babcock, President, ADS. (Gave evidence related to The Strategic Defence and Security Review and the National Security Strategy on 24 May 2011). [12]
  • Norman Harrison - Director of Strategic Development at Babcock International Group and president of the Nuclear Institute
  • Paul Newton, chairman of board

Lobbying firms

Parliamentary Groups


Contact, Resources and Notes





  1. Forces Network News MoD Award Babcock £340m Navy Warship Deal, April 2017, accessed 26 March 2018
  2. Defense News Top 100 for 2010. Defense News"
  3. Nuclear, Babcock website, acc 15 August 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 Babcock buys nuclear clean-up arm for £50m, The Telegraph, acc 15 August 2012
  5. Babcock International Group PLC: Acquisition of UKAEA Limited
  6. Babcock wins UK nuclear clean-up deal, Reuters/ The Guardian, Tuesday 31 March 2014, acc same day
  7. Forces Network News MoD Award Babcock £340m Navy Warship Deal, April 2017, Accessed 26 March 2018
  8. CITY & FINANCE REPORTER FOR THE DAILY MAIL, [Babcock to take £800m hit after terminating contract to decommission 12 nuclear sites],, 28 March 2017
  9. Richard Cookson, Nuclear industry secondments to Government departments responsible for policy and regulation, Spinwatch, 22 February 2013
  10. Appointments taken up by former Crown servants, ACOBA website, last updated 2 October 2013, acc 29 October 2013
  11. Statement Concerning Sunday Times Story, Babcock International website, 14 October 2012, acc 13 November 2013
  12. United Kingdom Parliament. Minutes of Evidence - 24 May 2011 - Defence Committee - Minutes of Evidence - The Strategic Defence and Security Review and the National Security Strategy, 24 May 2011
  13. UKPAC, Register Period 1 March 2012 to 31 May 2012, pdf downloaded 29 October 2013, and UKPAC, Register Period 1 December 2012 - 28 February 2013
  14. Association of Professional Political Consultants. APPC Register for 1st March 2013 - 31st May 2013, pdf of archived register downloaded 12 October 2013
  15. UKPAC, Register Period 1 September 2011 to 30 November 2011
  16. Association of Professional Political Consultants. APPC Register Entry, 1 Sep - 30 Nov 2010
  17. UKPAC, Register Period 1 March 2012 to 31 May 2012, pdf downloaded 29 October 2013
  18. Consultancies – December 2013 to February 2014 PRCA, accessed 29 January 2015