by Gauk
Mon, May 21, 2018 3:55 AM

When Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, made his first budget speech back in 1997 he announced that as part of the New Labour Government's strategy for increasing revenue without increasing tax a vast array of redundant government-owned assets would be sold.

All government ministers were asked to launch an immediate investigation within their own departments to ascertain what property and other assets could be disposed of with a view to raising cash.

Of course, no civil service department likes to admit that they are sitting on "redundant" items and so initial sales were somewhat disappointing and well below government expectations.

Gordon Brown went back to his ministers and put them under additional pressure to identify, quite literally, hundreds of millions of pounds worth of additional items to be sold. The results of this exercise have filtered their way through to the general market.

What is the DSA

The Disposal Services Authority (DSA) is the organisation within the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) that has sole authority to dispose of all MOD surplus equipment within the UK and overseas for example aircraft, aircraft spares, ships, boats, river craft and other marine vessels and spares, military and domestic’s vehicles, with the exception of nuclear, domestic waste and infrastructure. The DSA is unique in government, specialising in disposal of surplus equipment.

The DSA mission statement is:

To support defence and other government departments with an agreed effective and efficient disposal and sales service in order to support UK Defence capability.

What, precisely, is it that the Government sells?

The answer is the most enormous variety of goods imaginable... everything from motor cars to hospitals, from office furniture to mechanical diggers, and from kitchen equipment to musical instruments. By far the biggest department involved in such disposals is the Ministry of Defence who now dispose of items for many other government departments as well. Until very recently the favourite method of disposing of items was definitely via auction - auctions being seen as the most efficient and transparent method of sale. Nowadays, however, apart from property, vehicles, plant and machinery and some miscellaneous goods, many items are sold by way of marketing agreements whereby firms and individuals bid for short term, bulk buy contracts.

The department charged with the disposal of unwanted government assets is called the Disposal Sales Authority (DSA). The DSA runs the largest operation of its kind in the UK and probably Europe.

"Our aim is to secure the best return for the sale of surplus equipment and store" says a DSA spokesman.

At one end of the scale they are charged with selling military equipment such as aircraft and ships and at the other they deal with far smaller items such as computers and even brass belt buckles!

It is worth mentioning in passing that the DSA also sells a truly vast range of cars and other motor vehicles at auctions held specifically for this purpose up and down the country. Nor should it be forgotten that much of the money the government hopes to raise will come from the sale of property everything from individual flats to airfields, and from factory units to country cottages.

Perhaps the most important point to remember is that over the next couple of years the volume of Government disposals is set to increase. This in turn means a one-off chance for auction goers to pick up some truly amazing bargains.

"Thanks to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's policy there has never been a better time to buy at Government Auctions..."

The Capital Equipment Sales

In addition to addressing all the MOD’s disposal needs, the DSA is also able to provide the same level of asset disposal service to other Government departments (OGDs) across the UK. The DSA currently has around 40 OGDs on its books, from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and these include:

  • various police forces
  • several fire and rescue services
  • prison services
  • elements of the Home Office
  • public transport organisations
  • other public sector bodies

The entire asset disposal service is managed and monitored by the DSA on behalf of its OGD customers under cover of a Service Level Agreement, and the DSA’s aim is to take away all the challenges and headaches of asset redistribution and recycling by providing a complete disposal service for OGDs UK wide. Our primary objective is to supply an efficient disposal route, be compliant to the appropriate standards with regard to the disposal of whatever material in order to minimise risk and to provide a value added cost effective service by co-ordinating administration of disposals.

The majority of surplus items and equipment is sold through the DSA’s specialist contractors and details of current stock available can be found at

Such materials includes:

  • clothing
  • miscellaneous items
  • military and domestic vehicles
  • aircraft spares
  • naval and marine equipment
  • medical equipment
  • equipment from the clearance of British military camps


Every year literally thousands of limited companies go out of business. In every case a liquidator or official receiver is appointed to dispose of the company's assets. The first thing these people wish to do is to ensure that there is enough money in the bank to pay their fees. To do this they sell off the most marketable of the company's assets as quickly as possible.

The best way to do this? By auction - to raise money will all due speed with little attention to the real value of the goods being sold. The result? Liquidator sales are some of the best places to pick up a bargain. And no publication covers these sales more thoroughly than GAUK Auctions.


published by Gauk



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