back to article MPs: Lack of technical skills for Brexit could create 'damaging, unmanageable muddle'

Whitehall has not done enough to prepare for the "byzantinely complicated task" of Brexit, including putting the right technical skills and resources in place, a report by Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has warned. In findings that will surprise few, it said the UK government's Department for Exiting the European …

Ken 16
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Headmaster

Malcolm Tucker?

I think 'The thick of it' has more appropriate vocabulary

Uncle Slacky
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Re: Icon missing

> "The likeness of Sir Humphrey Appleby will do nicely."

Or at least a Eurosausage...

katrinab
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WTF?

"We only entered the Single Market in 1993. That should hardly be a long time ago for the civil service. It's not as if we have to re-invent everything from scratch!"

Yes, lets bring back a system that was scrapped 25 years ago. No reason why that wouldn't work.

In case you can't remember what systems that were scrapped 25 years ago were like: They ran on paper. You would have customs officers sitting in little boxes at the port. They would be equipped with a duplicate receipt book and a cash box. At the end of the shift, these books would be transported by post to the Customs office in Greenock where people would copy the receipt duplicates by hand on to ledger cards which were stored in filing cabinets.

Pascal Monett
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Trollface

Yeah, but that could still work by candlelight.

Something you might want to prepare for on your side of the Channel, if all those dire warnings carry any weight.

John Smith 19
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Coat

"Think we’re going to need the Queen to ask God to save us"

Gods journal February 7th 2018..

And I'll say "No."

John Smith 19
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Coat

"what a hard brexit would mean - a study..the civil service..failed to undertake. "

Perhaps because that nice Mr Davis didn't ask them to?

Y'know, the old Churchillian line about "We are not interested in the prospects for defeat,"* or an impact assessment of any kind.

*Sounds very rousing, but is IRL total bo**ocks.

Dr Scrum Master

Re: "what a hard brexit would mean - a study..the civil service..failed to undertake. "

"what a hard brexit would mean - a study..the civil service..failed to undertake. "

Perhaps because that nice Mr Davis didn't ask them to?

Perhaps he should have.

Perhaps the senior civil servants should have also suggested it.

With the way this has been handled nobody is going to come up smelling of roses.

Richard 12
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Re: "what a hard brexit would mean - a study..the civil service..failed to undertake. "

Mr Davis appears to have expressly prohibited the civil service from doing any impact assessments.

Of course, it seems that they did then anyway and they recently leaked to the press.

Short version is that the North East is utterly ****ed, while the South East is slightly ****ed.

Dr Scrum Master

The time to innovate was before the referendum was even conceived - we should be putting the final touches to the implementation by this stage.

The time to innovate is always now.

David Cameron asked for a referendum, and sufficient members of the House of Commons agreed to the bill. It would have been good for the undertaking of some serious studies to have been mentioned in the bill... not just some measly position papers. Still, there were only 650 people supposed to scrutinise legislation along with their armies of SPADs and assorted assistants....

Instead, we had a battle between Project Fear and Project Freedom followed by several months in which one could have undertaken some serious preparation but that opportunity was tossed away.

Dr Scrum Master

In case you can't remember what systems that were scrapped 25 years ago were like: They ran on paper.

Yes, they ran. They worked. Maybe not a brilliant system, but it worked.

What preparations have been made so far?

John 98

Re: "what a hard brexit would mean - a study..the civil service..failed to undertake. "

Every senior civil servant has done his own Brexit assessment - it's a bad idea and implementing a damage limitation scheme will take a decade. All attempts to get the Brexiteers to face the facts have failed. Sir Humphry is feeling a bit demoralised because nobody has a clue how to avert a disaster

anonymous boring coward
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"Instead, we had a battle between Project Fear and Project Freedom followed by several months in which one could have undertaken some serious preparation but that opportunity was tossed away."

That's Latin spouting toff efficiency for you. Total morons.

strum
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>Yes, they ran. They worked.

They ran - like treacle. And they worked when the wind was in the right direction - and this was when the volume of passengers/goods was a fraction of what it is now.

Not only will we have customs barriers for a car - we'll have customs barriers for the 3,000 bits it now takes to build a car - and that's before we start to account for actual tariffs.

Lars
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Happy

Re: Self inflected nightmare

@ Smooth Newt

I agree, but what was there to expect. And I agree with Nick Clegg in this interview with James O'Brien about those characters and much more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjPeS8hXoxU

LucreLout
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There is also no amount of trade on Earth with other countries that can replace being shut out of Single Market

Utter nonsense. Utter nonsense for which I shall ask for a citation, knowing already that you don't have one.

Here's mine:

http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/eu-position-in-world-trade/index_en.htm

Their own graph shows you clearly why you've erred in making up such a rediculous premise, and their graph includes our part of that trade, which is substantial. Remove us from it and literally any two of the nations on there have the same trade weight globally as the rEU.

LucreLout
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Re: Self inflected nightmare

Blame ..... and a broken political system.

Why is it broken? Is it because the referendum didn't go your way, depsite the government making up lie after lie about the economic problems that would befall us on day one if we voted to leave? Problems which, much like the punishment budget, simply never came to pass.

I was on the fence until about 3 days before the referendum, eventually voting leave, but lets not pretend that one side of the debate was playing straight and the other lying through their teeth. To do so is transparently stupid and wrong headed at best.

Leave lied to us. Remain lied to us. Nobody really knew what was going to happen, but economically at least, my semi-educated guesses enjoyed greater accuracy than either sides experts. Nobody really knows what happens to the rEU after we leave, or us after we leave it. The future has always been a little like that.......

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Can't we just outsource it? We seem to do that for everything else with great success...

smudge
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Yup. Just import a whole bunch of cheap people from India and.... You what? Ohhh...

Prst. V.Jeltz
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Yeah , because once we've removed uncontrolled unlimited free movement of workers , no one will be able to enter or exit the country again. and nobody will go abroad on holiday . and nobody will be able to but a BMW. we will only eat tripe and it will be hideously expensive.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

You're saying nobody will buy a BMW like this is a bad thing?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

It is only uncontrolled because the government has chosen for it to be. EU rules allow control, we just don't follow them.

Prst. V.Jeltz
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"EU rules allow control, we just don't follow them."

Well that's crucial titbit of info that would have made it a landslide for the remainers - had anyone mentioned it.

phuzz
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"Well that's crucial titbit of info that would have made it a landslide for the remainers - had anyone mentioned it."

They did, of course, but apparently everyone thought "well if the leave side are clearly lying about everything, then the remain side must be too".

Mind you, Blair also said it, and I can understand why nobody wanted to listen to him.

Plus it was confused by the fact that we do/did have to go along with EU rules* about EU nationals, but outside-EU immigration has always been up to the UK government.

* Rules which we could, and did, help set as a member of the EU.

DaveTheForensicAnalyst
Joke

Sounds like a job for super Crapita!

Rob Daglish

It is. Without BMWs and Audis, how will we know which twits to look out for on the roads?

smudge
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I have found it very difficult since they disguised the Nissan Micra.

Loyal Commenter
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You're saying nobody will buy a BMW like this is a bad thing?

It will make it much harder to determine which cars are likely to suddenly change lane without indicating for starters.

earl grey
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Facepalm

"Without BMWs and Audis, how will we know which twits to look out for on the roads?"

Looks around for the douchebag driving a Lexus...

Doctor Syntax
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"we just don't follow them"

We can't. We don't have the IT in place.

John 98

Na - India's OK (bringing in talented people from around the world). But you can't recruit any Poles or Germans (taking back control). Do try and pay attention

Laura Kerr
Alert

De Management sez

Oh honestly, the negativity here is ridiculous. It's amazing anything gets done. Not to worry though, our world-class consultants, Churnham and Fleece, have assured us we will hit the deadline. We had an all-day workshop with them the other day at the Dorchester. Jolly good lunch, too. You'd have enjoyed it but space was a little limited, I'm afraid. Perhaps next time.

Look, here's their project plan thingummybob. If you could put your phone down at the back please, and pay attention, you'll see that it's perfectly clear. We have to make sure we recruit the best resource. We've had to tweak it a little to include our response to the PAC report, but the timeline's robust, realistic and achievable.

The DExEU project board meets next week to review the report. They'll produce an action plan and task the project management pool to produce resource profiles for the next phase, which will be signed off by the steering group first week in March. No, the working steering group, not the Ministerial one. That meets in April and provided they sign off, we can start recruiting in May, once the budget's been approved. Yes, yes, I know it takes three months to put people in place, but we should be up and running by the end of August. Oh, all right, the second week in September. But it's all plain sailing from then on, look.

Establish project management office, one month. Requirements gathering, ten days. Design completed, two weeks. Review cycle four weeks, design sign-off third week in December, but we've allowed for it slipping to January, because of Christmas. Development will be three Agile sprints of two weeks each, plus a week of testing. That takes us to the first week in March. We deploy in the middle of March and go live a week before Brexit day.

So I hope that's clear. We've covered all angles, planned in detail and there's plenty of time to deliver. So let's hear no more of this carping, and instead get our shoulders to the wheel and make sure we're all singing off the same hymn sheet. Now get back on your heads.

Rich 11
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Happy

Re: De Management sez

If Spitting Image was still up and running, you'd be writing for them.

Ken 16
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DEusXmachinEU more like

Still better to have the Brexiteers inside the tent pissing in than to leave them outside pissing in.

thegroucho
Pint

Re: De Management sez

@Laura Kerr

Amen to that, and cheers to you!

John Smith 19
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Thumb Up

Re: De Management sez....Churnham and Fleece,

Worth an upvote for that little gem alone.

Rich 11
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Re: De Management sez

El Reg, can we have a *doffs cap* icon, please? Sometimes a beer or a smiley face just doesn't indicate sufficient respect.

Christoph
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Facepalm

"MPs have also warned of the "catastrophic" scenario of the taxmen failing to have a backup system in place if its Customs Declaration Service programme is not ready in time for Brexit."

One tiny little problem here. To develop the backup system you first have to design the backup system. To design the backup system you first need to know the requirements for the backup system. To know the requirements for the backup system you first have to substantially complete the negotiations to define our future trading relationship with the EU.

They've hardly even started! The government has spent so long holding a vanity election, demanding concessions that they know are impossible, and bragging about blue passports, that we're very rapidly running out of time to get those negotiations sorted. Do they think they can finish doing that the week before B-Day and then flick a switch to put the new programs in place?

smudge
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Hence the need for a transition period. A l-o-n-g transition period.

Alternatively, when Rees-Mogg takes over, we'll walk away immediately and employ an army of clerks with quill pens. Hard Brexit and full employment :)

monty75
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"Do they think they can finish doing that the week before B-Day and then flick a switch to put the new programs in place?"

Yes. Apparently they do.

Rich 11
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Do they think they can finish doing that the week before B-Day and then flick a switch to put the new programs in place?

Most certainly they do. The new supersafe backdoored encryption system will go global that week too.

Charlie Clark
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Bring back the Corn Laws

Hard Brexit and full employment

What makes you think they'll be employed for the job? Once we turn the clock back far enough they'll do whatever we damn well tell them. Or have them shot. It'll be Peterloo all over again.

Ian Bush

When Rees-Mogg takes over the tax system will be greatly simplified - we'll all have to pay scutage along with the forelock-tug, and be glad of it.

Doctor Syntax
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"Do they think they can finish doing that the week before B-Day and then flick a switch to put the new programs in place?"

Yes.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Clueless on everything

I led the strategic assessment of Brexit for my employers (a large European based company with a multi-billion business in the UK), and the one message that we wanted to get across to the UK government was "You are at risk of blundering out of the EU with no agreement, have a Plan B". Quite simply, the UK need to get the non-EU trade agreements in place, bilaterally, ASAP, put that ahead of the EU agreements, because that puts the onus on the EU - as it should be, given the trade deficit we have with them.

There's existing example bilateral frameworks ready to cut and paste, it doesn't take the decades that WTO take to achieve little or nothing, it doesn't involve the endless farting around that the EU have before they do anything, nor the bile-laden . And there's plenty of countries willing to sign bilateral trade agreements, particularly but not limited to the Commonwealth countries.

But, instead, the sad old gits of the government have merely squabbled amongst themselves, had an election that wasted six months (and confirmed nothing other than that the prime minister is a clueless, cloth-eared old bat), a cabinet reshuffle that merely played musical chairs amongst some of the least talented, least likeable "leaders" this nation has ever seen. The opposition likewise have been notable for their complete lack of constructive engagement or ideas, preferring to have their own turf war as Marxists exert more power of the husk of the Labour party.

With defence a mismanaged basket case, the energy sector in a really bad place, huge misallocation of investment to rubbish like HS2, Brexit being shat up as we speak, what are the government's priorities?

Apparently to rid the country of plastic packaging, eliminate gas boilers, introduce electric cars for all, and a quite tedious chip on the shoulder enthusiasm for all aspects of "equality". I can only conclude that the country is actually being governed by the BBC.

James Anderson

Re: Clueless on everything

Theresa Maybe actually achieved quite a lot. It gave credibility to a charming Marxist who will confidently lead us to a booming economy with social justice for all that will be the envy of Venezuela,

smudge
Silver badge

Re: Clueless on everything

With defence a mismanaged basket case, the energy sector in a really bad place, huge misallocation of investment to rubbish like HS2, Brexit being shat up as we speak, what are the government's priorities?

Same as always. Staying in power.

codejunky
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Thumb Up

Re: Clueless on everything

@AC

Damn good comment.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: charming Marxist

Ah, you must mean Jeremy Corbyn then, the friend of Hamas and scourge of Islington.

'Momentum' membership will be mandatory for everyone with a party membership card.

2+2=5
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Re: Clueless on everything

Did you suggest a plan B to the Government? Are you able to say without giving away who you are, etc?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Clueless on everything

And there's plenty of countries willing to sign bilateral trade agreements,

If you include service in the deal then there isn't: countries like India are far more interested in access to the single market than they are in the UK one. Japan and Canada have just done deals with the EU, Korea has one underway, Trump's only interested in the 52nd state or a massive gold resort…

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