back to article Army had 'naive' approach to Capita's £1.3bn recruiting IT contract, MPs told

Senior British Army generals have defended Capita's disastrous Recruiting Partnership Project (RPP) IT contract – despite confessing that the military will miss this year's recruiting targets by 40 per cent. Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch, the general officer commanding (GOC) Home Command, told Parliament's Public Accounts …

  1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge

    Actually...

    I'm beginning to see Crapita in a new light. They do have remarkable talents for sniffing out juicy contracts, executing them (badly) at minimal cost and trousering the profits. All without any real accountability. Ever.

    So, Thumbs Up to a top business model for the 21C.

    1. CJatCTi

      Re: Actually...

      Why does the govenment keep spend our money with orgaisations that have a record of failure in delivering govenment contracts?

      Is there some company that ever delivers govenment contracts to specification and on budget?

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Actually...

        Loads.

        They all cost twice as much, because they just account for things properly, so it's seen as a "saving" to not use them, even if people make a royal mess.

        What they should do is fund prototype creation, test with users, and do it in a double-blind fashion so that the people using and specifying the system has ZERO idea what it costs, and the people offering the systems have no idea how much the other guy paid.

        Then you can literally tie them down to "this works like junk, here, take you £10k pilot investment and get out", "This needs to work in the final product, will it work? What kind of speed?", "I'd like you to implement this change in the prototype, here's another £10k", etc. until people are happy with the system and that it does what they need. Then sign off on it working. THEN get into whether it's value for money only at the very final stage once you've got rid of all the rubbish systems.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Actually...

          Nice idea unless you have a director who's in bed with the contractor that gets the contract. A contract that was never tendered despite being required. Then once the cat is out the bag of how shit they are, they get the boot after a year after making just over £1million but having produced fuck all.

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Actually...

        If I was feeling really cynical, I'd say that it is just the another step of the ongoing attempts to privatise the entire British state.

        First you underfund a public utility, then when they're not performing as well, you give big chunks of their day to day operations to crapita. Then once the whole organisation is in the toilet, you privatise it, and sell the valuable bits (eg the land or the buildings) off to your mates for cheap. Then retire from government to a cosy directorship...

        1. Lotaresco Silver badge

          Re: Actually...

          "If I was feeling really cynical, I'd say that it is just the another step of the ongoing attempts to privatise the entire British state."

          You can be as cynical as you like, but Army recruiting had been privatised years ago. Capita just bid for and got the contract that had previously been awarded to and run by another systems integrator. The odd thing, and a thing the Select Committee didn't focus on, was that the previous contract was run well and didn't suddenly leave the Armed Forces without recruits.

          Once can only assume that the Capita bid was "reassuringly cheap" and that those awarding the contracts were blinded by the cheapness.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Actually...

        "Why does the government keep spend our money with organisations that have a record of failure in delivering government contracts?"

        Because the alternatives that government departments present (in-house development versus a number of different outsourcing options) deliver very similar results.

        While the nature of outsourcing never helps with delivery, something about the requirements for public sector IT systems seems to ensure failure. And even when a rare success looks like a vague possibility, an election can ensure changes all round to ensure new people benefit from the success and instead deliver the usual...

        Why the Army didn't send General Melchett for this review to try and make it less comical will require another sub-committee...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Actually...

          Because Speckled Jim is dead. Therefore, he didn't get the memo.

          Baaaaaa.

      4. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Actually...

        "Why does the govenment keep spend our money with orgaisations that have a record of failure in delivering govenment contracts?"

        As with everything else, companies evolve to survive in their environment. The environment of civil service procurement is one in which the cheapest bid is reflexively selected even when it's clearly below standard, the quoted price is clearly too low, the provider has an awful track record* etc. There are also either no penalty clauses, staggered payments etc or when there are, the trigger thresholds are too weak or too fuzzy or else the penalty / bonus process leaves too much discretion in the hands of individual civil servants.

        Therefore the companies that thrive are the ones that bid low, bill high and deliver the cheapest possible shit they can get away with

        *incidentally, not delivering on multiple contracts is not an impediment, as the companies' "CV" is that they have been AWARDED such-and-such contracts, not DELIVERED

      5. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: Actually...

        Because, as I always say, you get smarmy sales pods come and sell their bullshit to upper management who clearly don't understand how shit they are (in this case the Major) or how to manage projects. Despite others pointing out the flaws, they'll still go with them anyway. And just like now as in other contracts I've seen get outsourced, it can't be seen to fail so they are now just in spin mode. That is now the Major's job, just to spin Crapita's bullshit for them.

        You'll also get certain upper management come in who take a disliking to local services for no reason other than them being a cock. They are the type of people that then push to outsource. Like a certain NHS trust did, just because the Chief Exec didn't like the in-house IT. Now they are with Crapita and have regretted it since.

        Now Crapita have also managed to tie them, the army, into using a bespoke system, where I suspect Crapita holds the data and "If you want to bring it in-house or move to another provider then that will be a few million for us to move your data".

      6. Hemmels

        Re: Actually...

        Dunno about anyone else, but I would sooner work in the private sector than public. (Wages? Personability?).

        I assume all the best people for the job of scoping / speccing / requirement gathering etc etc feel the same as me.

        With no central government IT quango to handle the pre-process, the only alternative is to throw large sums at someone else to do it (badly, but better than them).

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Actually...

        With a mixture of preferred suppliers lists and over the top regulation on tenders the Gov's hands are tied and mean they have to keep going back to the same set of turds every time they want to buy anything. This isn't just limited to the military, but to anything that is regulated such as transport and utilities. The whole tender process is stacked in favour of the supplier and their are heavy penalties for the customer for breaking the rules. Purchases can be challenged years after the event if another party feels they were unfairly treated.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Actually...

          Nothing makes something cost more and deliver less than putting it through a public sector tender process. The idea might have been to make things easier and cheaper, but I've found it doesn't. I'd love to see a wide ranging study comparing tender processes costs vs corruption costs from places that just arbitrarily decide based on who took the boss out to the nicest lunch or equivalent. Not that I like the corruption based process, I'm just not convinced the solution is better than the problem.

          When I worked in state funded education it meant we had to buy cheap kit that didn't do the job as well as the more expensive kit that failed less and had smoother servicing processes. Thus costing vast amounts of staff time chasing vendors to fix things. And we'll not talk about the quality products Crapita provided ; )

    2. Steve 114

      Re: Actually...

      Crapita originated as an outfit to do more efficiently what Local Authorities were failing to do themselves. We can dispute whether they ever managed that, or were ever ready for the transition to central government operation - but we should acknowledge the (failed?) principle

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Actually...

        Were LA's doing things inefficiently or did Crapita just manage to sell the idea they were? I worked for one small council that had managed to avoid outsourcing and we had far far fewer IT staff, in house and out, than all the outsourced ones of similar size.

        I believe its just another tory myth that public services are inefficient - as outsourcing proves time and time again.

        1. Paul 195
          Flame

          Re: Actually...

          @Tom 7 has the right of it; the idea that public/government entities are woefully inefficient compared to private companies has been tested to destruction by almost four decades of privatisation. Time and time again, basic maths shows that there are no magic efficiencies available from the private sector, but the need to pay shareholders a profit means costs are only cut by employing the same staff under worse conditions to do the job they were doing before, only with more shortcuts taken and worse outcomes.

          In the case of civil service outsourcing of IT, any expertise inside the civil service to either carry out large projects themselves, or even be in a position to judge how well they are being managed by outsourcers is now long gone.

          1. Ledswinger Silver badge

            Re: Actually...

            @Tom 7 has the right of it; the idea that public/government entities are woefully inefficient compared to private companies has been tested to destruction by almost four decades of privatisation.

            I see the Momentumbots are out in force today.

            Obviously, the worker's paradise of Cuba, Venezuela, and the Soviet Union don't have any lessons for Blightly, where our magically efficient public sector can do things far more effectively.

            1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

              Re: Actually...

              @ledswinger. These are your comparisons? Cuba, Venezuela, the ex-Soviet Union? How can a family-run oligarchy, a failed state, and an ex-state with a vastly different, tyrannous governing system give any lessons at all to the UK as it is now? To suggest a Labour govt is closer to Cuba than it is to, say, Denmark, Netherlands, etc. is to make an innuendo that holds no water.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Actually...

                @Hollerithevo

                "To suggest a Labour govt is closer to Cuba than it is to, say, Denmark, Netherlands, etc. is to make an innuendo that holds no water."

                To suggest the current labour party is comparable to a failed socialist paradise party is actually so spot on it is hard to refute. To suggest it is in common with democratic socialism is to have a hope without foundation.

        2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Actually...

          Quote

          I believe its just another tory myth that public services are inefficient - as outsourcing proves time and time again.

          I worked for the government once a long time ago in hush hush navy work, the amount of overtime I had to sometimes put in to get defective kit upto scratch was amazing... kit supplied by outsourcing of work to private contractors.. most of whom were paid more than we were.

          But the real reasons for tory outsourcing was the destruction of unions, and that there wouldn't be so much to pay in terms of sickness/holiday/maternity/pension if you did away with as many local and national government workers.....plus the remaining ones would be the midddle manager/accounts/lawyer types who would more likely vote tory than those awful working class bin emptiers who always voted labour

          Sadly , as network rail proved, you cant just sack all your staff and hope the private sector will be upto the job.......

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Actually...

            @Boris the Cockroach

            "But the real reasons for tory outsourcing was the destruction of unions"

            Thankfully we now have stable power generation available even if it is now government policy causing the energy sector problems instead of union strikes.

            "Sadly , as network rail proved, you cant just sack all your staff and hope the private sector will be upto the job......."

            Rail is proving to be a success of private over public. Complaints of overcharging dont stand when compared with other countries who tax people to fund rail while here the rail users pay more of the cost (which is a good thing). Overcrowding shows how popular the service is but the companies cant add more capacity without the public sector building more rail (the bit not private). Such public failure to add more track being the cause of a recent cancelled contract.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Actually...

          "Were LA's doing things inefficiently or did Crapita just manage to sell the idea they were? I worked for one small council that had managed to avoid outsourcing and we had far far fewer IT staff, in house and out, than all the outsourced ones of similar size.

          I believe its just another tory myth that public services are inefficient - as outsourcing proves time and time again."

          Having worked either as an employee or a contractor for local authorities in multiple countries, I would suggest that the "efficiencies" are around getting any organisational change implemented in public sector organisations.

          As a huge generalisation, IT systems in public sector organisations lag behind their private sector equivalents - while funding is a part of the issue, I'm not convinced that it is as straight forward as that as the money spent by public sector organisations is often spent ensuring that the path taken "delivers value for money for tax/rate payers" which involves a lot of management time and consultants in endless meetings ensuring no one can be blamed for the decision and little actual investment in infrastructure/staff/systems. And the time taken to review and address issues that require a dynamic response (i.e. virus/malware outbreaks) is easily orders of magnitude different between similar sized public and private sector organisations. There are a significant number of private sector companies that experience extended periods of budget tightening and yet manage to keep the majority of systems in a supportable state.

          I'm very sceptical of any IT outsourcing deal providing efficiencies in an organisation where the detailed requirements are not understood outside of straight cost reduction through stagnation - and I would suggest in 90%+ of organisations choosing outsourcing, the people involved in making the decision do not understand the detailed requirements of the outsourcing arrangement. More often the IT outsourcer is being chosen because the organisation has lost trust in the area being outsourced to be able to meet the organisations requirements and would prefer to hand it over to a "specialist". That is the real "efficiency" of Crapita and their associates.

          1. Trixr

            Re: Actually...

            Great summary of the joys of public sector IT.

            While "agile" being thrown around all the time gives me hives, the (rightly) risk-averse nature of the organisations often result in stagnation, and they tend to hire management who are not good at putting their foot down with the higher-ups or the "customers".

            Whereas if more of these orgs embraced the concept of incremental change - you MUST upgrade your systems as they approach their support lifetime being a very simple target - change would be a routine activity rather than an exercise in pearl-clutching, panic and huge expensive risky projects to mitigate legacy systems that have put the organisation at even more risk in terms of security and/or functionality.

        4. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

          Re: Actually...

          You can blame the beancounters, not the Tories - they're mostly innocent for a change.

          "Look, you can save all this Pension and National Insurance money if we outsource" is a powerful motivator to someone eager to make their mark in history. Just ignore the increased cost in time and money from all those extra layers of bureaucracy and bulls***...

    3. Steve 114

      Re: Actually...

      Maybe the 'real' business model is to accept the opprobrium for operating unpopular but necessary public systems which the 'client' is constitutionally incapable of specifying properly. And doing it in a British way that has a visible cost, rather than a USian way which has contracts that will destroy the source.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Actually...

      EDS left a gap in the market

    5. macjules Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Actually...

      No you are all so wrong, Capita are a lovely caring company that goes the extra mile to help their contracts: Jonathan Lewis said so and he should know! They stand to lose £86m on a £1.3Bn contract through no fault at all of their own, so please think of the poor staff working for no money but purely for the joy of working at Capita.

      @Jonathan Lewis make my paycheck payable into my retirement fund in the Antilles please.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Actually...

        TBH Of all the suppliers I deal with Capita are one of the best

  2. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch

    For some reason I had a flashback to 1970s television: an image of a gorilla wearing a bizarre helmet and riding a horse.

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch

      A pity nobody thought to ask him "If, as you tell us, the army has enough soldiers to keep the country safe, then why do you want to recruit 40% more?"

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch

        I think he meant the Army has enough men to undertake the current requirements (almost a historically quiet level since the Afgan withdrawal) - not actually fight a war (raison d’etre?) against another country who's decided to try their luck for whatever reason.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch

          This is not a historically quiet level of military deployments. This is a historically normal level.

          Look at the years Labour was in power and the number of times they deployed the military. Now, go back through the British military history. Find another period (excluding world wars) when the military had been deployed as many times on different operations in such a small time period.

          I'll save you the trouble if you like? Last time would have been over 200 years ago during the Napoleonic wars. The Napoleonic wars truthfully should be a world war given that it makes the much later first world war look like a minor border skirmish.

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch

            I agree with you on with the number of deployments, I think instead I should have stated the number of personnel deployed on combat (expecting to be shot at) operations is quite low, although we have a couple of thousand troops involved with training in warzone countries and these also have a non-zero risk level.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch

        A pity nobody thought to ask him "If, as you tell us, the army has enough soldiers to keep the country safe, then why do you want to recruit 40% more?"

        I came here to raise the exact same question :-)

      3. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch

        The real killer in this article that most people seem to be missing is that it reveals the entire reason recruitment was outsourced to Capita.

        Lt Gen Urch added that the contract had released 900 soldiers back to the front line back when the UK was still heavily involved in Afghanistan

        So, an overstretched and under-resourced army was committed by our glorious political leaders to fight a war with objectives beyond it's ability to achieve. To make up a growing shortfall of soldiers when it's numbers were being cut the army was forced to gut core activities such as recruitment to put an additional ~1% on the frontline by outsourcing a core function to Capita.

    2. Lotaresco Silver badge

      Re: Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch

      "For some reason I had a flashback to 1970s television: an image of a gorilla wearing a bizarre helmet and riding a horse."

      A gorilla wearing a bizarre helmet and riding a horse? You mean Harvey Smith?

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch

        Is it just me or does everyone put an 'L' in front of his surname and then imagine him in a butlers outfit?

        Just me?

        Ah well.

  3. Steve 114

    Utter fail

    If I were young, bright, brave, unemployed, and enjoyed a fistfight in the pub (man-spec?) would I wait a year for some squirt to interview me? Click 'are you good enough?', then assault course to try (with expenses) next week - and video links for your mates to see how you do, and challenge to do better. Without benefit of internetty, that's how it was done 100+ years ago.

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Utter fail

      If I were young, bright, brave, unemployed, and enjoyed a fistfight in the pub...........that's how it was done 100+ years ago.

      Indeed. And an entire generation died in ditches in Belgium. If you've not seen it, watch the Peter Jackson documentary.

      But these days, for what? To fight an unpopular war in some shithole province of Afghanistan or Iraq, your engagement supervised (possibly in real time) by spawn-of-satan MoD lawyers? And then to have the scum that run MoD abandon the physically and mentally disabled? And for the British public go "So what was that all for?", and then for vile, weak British politicans to cut and run when they think it expedient? And then for the scum that run MoD (tm) to collaborate with dishonest, thieving lying law firms to hound ex-military personnel? Not to mention inadequate and insufficient equipment. And at the end of it the Taliban control most of 'stan, and the collapse of Iraq spawned ISIS.

      Arguably we should be celebrating Capita's success in keep our young people out of harm's way. On reflection, I take my hat off to Capita, and say thank you.

      1. fajensen Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Utter fail

        ... and the pay ain't all that great either!

        In the olden days, when we were facing the USSR, they pay was almost decent and one would be able to learn a trade while waiting for those WAPA-branded landing crafts (or, the nuke out).

        The difference, in my opinion, being that back then they had The Draft; we were forced to waste up to 2 years of our lives and career on the military so they had to 'sweeten the deal' enough to not cause a riot over it. Side-Effect of The Draft was that, since everyone and anyones sons could potentially "win" the draft lottery, it was a politically unsound idea to ship off troops to known sink-holes for troops and empires! Skin in The Game makes the game a lot easier on all the players!!

        ---

        One thing one learned was to work with people one did not at all want to be with, including people who did not want to be "there" at all. This part of military training, I think, we could really use today.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Utter fail

          Skin in The Game makes the game a lot easier on all the players!

          This most certainly didn't work in earier times - for most of the Armys life, the officer corps was drawn exclusively (almost) from the sons of nobility and the wealthy since comissions had to be purchased (and were quite expensive).

          So it wasn't unheard of for chunks of the nobility to lose sons during wartime since SOP at the time was always 'shoot the opposing officers first' (which, in quite a few cases, probably improved the morale and capabilities of the army..).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If I were young, not very bright, brave, unemployed, and enjoyed a fistfight in the pub

      FTFY

  4. CJatCTi

    What cost per recruit?

    The only number i see is 1.3bn, & it would be nice to see the numbers but the Army is 80,000 strong, say they need 10,000 a year and this is a 10 year contract.

    That is 1.3bn foe 0.1m or £13,000 to recrute each person. Why not save the money on the over heads (oh silly me the is the MoD) and just advertise a £10,000 bonus you can collect after 5 years service?

    1. Jens Goerke

      That would make sense

      Even worse - they could let that bonus gather interest over those 5 years.

      Perhaps add an incentive for further education - matching every quid the soldier pays in tuition costs or university fees.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That would make sense

        Perhaps add an incentive for further education - matching every quid the soldier pays in tuition costs or university fees.

        Watch it. At this rate you will suggest UK Army does what USA Army has been doing for the last 30+ years.

        In any case, your suggestion is preposterous. If such money is used productively, how can the civil servants which walk through the revolving door into an outsourcer's exec suite collect their delayed backhander?

      2. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: That would make sense

        'Perhaps add an incentive for further education - matching every quid the soldier pays in tuition costs or university fees.'

        It's called Enhanced Learning Credits, either three lumps of £2K that can be used to pay for up to 80% of a training course of your choice (with some benefit to the service) or when you leave you can cash them in for University Tuition. Doesn't kick in until you've done six years of service from memory, and if you're within 2 years of leaving or have left within 10 years you can pretty much spend it on what you want.

        It's really not advertised highly enough to potential recruits.

        There're also Standard Learning Credits which is up to £175 a year for the same purpose. Which is how I have a forklift licence.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What cost per recruit?

      Investing in people? What a preposterous idea. How would one pay back all of ones public school friends that have helped one get this far?

      Instead, if the UK can continue to under invest in education and housing, offer a very modest increase in benefits to teenage single mothers, ensure a cheap supply of alcohol and offer "the Army" as a way of providing a career when the alternative appears to be prison and you not only save all those costs but maybe save a little more along the way.

      Just have to be careful about keeping a balance between those in the Army and those wanting to start a civil war....

    3. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: What cost per recruit?

      Can anyone think of a more expensive way to move the 900 freed up uniforms into active units?

      How it adds up to about £300k/year each to replace them escapes me, The recruitment IT system is basically a simple process tracking application that will accept applicants line up the paperwork/medical/schedules etc. them punt them in the direction of a basic training establishment.

      It suggests to me that all the available experienced NCOs are busy trying to hold the Army organisation together and the MOD needed the 900 recruiters in more important roles PDQ.

      Also you REALLY need someone who can honestly answer the recruitee questions with 'Well I once...'

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      or put it in tontine?

      split the total between the survivors

  5. }{amis}{ Silver badge
    Flame

    S.N.A.F.U.

    So no surprises here Crapata strikes again and the military brass lives down to their reputation of having no idea what money is or how to spend it responsibly.

  6. g00se2

    TV ads

    I wonder if Crapita was responsibe for the ludicrous TV ad campaign aimed at snowflakes and solipsists?

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: TV ads

      I see they didn't fool you, @g00se2!

  7. ma1010 Silver badge
    Holmes

    Certainly the Army was naive!

    Apparently they expected to get a recruiting system that actually worked as specified. From everything I've read about the quality of Capita's work product, such a belief would be quite naive.

  8. DJV Silver badge

    "What they brought was an expertise we didn't have."

    Does this mean that "expertise" can now be measured in negative values?

    1. Lotaresco Silver badge

      Re: "What they brought was an expertise we didn't have."

      The claim that Crapita brought something that the Armed Forces did not have is complete and utter horse-feathers. Crapita had no relevant experience and certainly had no L33t Skillz previously absent. The previous contract had been run well by an organisation that understood military recruitment. Crapita had no experience of military systems to draw on.

      As you say, the only experience available was negative.

  9. Peter Christy

    In days of yore, you walked into an Army recruitment office and they asked you your name. If you managed to score more than 50% on that, you were in! My grand-son has been trying to join the army for nearly a year, and getting absolutely nowhere!

    In any normal business, heads would roll for this.....

    --

    Pete

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "In any normal business, heads would roll for this....."

      I wonder if they have enough people and equipment to form a firing squad?

  10. Jeff 11

    Capita chief exec Jonathan Lewis, who was part of the panel being grilled by the MPs, chipped in: "That's close to 100 per cent of the margin on the contract. And if you add the incremental investment we've had to make, which is somewhere in the order of £60m, to deliver on that, over the term of this contract we will lose a very considerable sum of money," adding that the army would save "£200m" over the lifetime of the RPP contract.

    A 2% margin on a £1.3bn IT contract? Oh dear. (I suspect quite a lot of executives on this project will be very well remunerated.)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not just Crapita failing over and over again....

    What about the report that was leaked last Thursday to the Times regarding Fujitsu and the Global Connectivity program. It reported it is currently 26 months behind and currently £210m over budget (28% of the original contract, and will probably rise) but you know those figures are massaged.

    Their main problem is they are paying no where near the market rate for either perm or temp staff and so have recruited a load of people who have security clearance and willing to work at those rates, but many have never worked in any network related role, but now design and support a global secure network. What could possibly go wrong?

    Let's not forget the £700m Fujitsu got from the NHS in legal fees (after suing them) for a contract that was discontinued for various reasons, Government legal costs were also estimated at £31.5m. This was a PFI contract initiated many years ago.

    Raytheon are also suing the Government for £500 for a the e-borders contract that was stopped.

    This is all money that the Home Office, MoD and the NHS could have used on other projects to bring value for money for taxpayers. And this isn't a Tory or Labour thing before anyone pipes up blaming a single colour Government, it's all of them! These things have been going on for years and will probably continue to do so for years to come.

    Who there hell signs all these contracts off?

    I'm sure there's a stipulation in these contracts (or like to think so about having appropriately cleared and experienced staff, why isn't this check (probably because the civil service don't have the staff qualified to check them, or budget)?

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: It's not just Crapita failing over and over again....

      This is all money that the Home Office, MoD and the NHS could have used on other projects to bring value for money for taxpayers.

      How? Even if we exempt IT, all I see with government policy is waste and incompetence. In some parallel universe you might have an argument, but in this one, I beg to differ.

  12. eyestwice

    Who wouldn't want to join?

    Capita aren't the only reason for low recruitment figures.

    Cuts by the government ensured that no-one in their right mind would want to sign up. It's not the career that it used to be.

    Add to the that the farce that is now the Reserve Forces and no-one wants to join them either. Hence there's no way that the capability of the armed forces can be shored up by the reserves.

    Under-manned. Under-powered. Under-equipped. Under-funded. Under-represented.

    A bit like councils. The NHS. STEM and so on.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Who wouldn't want to join?

      The relatively high levels of employment* don't help either as the Armed Forces have always struggled to recruit when there are other jobs available where you get to stay at home.

      *I'm aware of the arguments that the figures are fudged but it's still at a high level by historical standards.

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: Who wouldn't want to join?

        the Armed Forces have always struggled to recruit when there are other jobs available where you get to stay at home

        And generally speaking in those jobs you don't get killed or wounded either. Usually you don't get treated like shit by your former employer either.

        Clearly most jobs you don't get to play with guns, or the comraderie of combat, but if that's what you're after there's probably more action, better money, better promotion prospects, and better employer loyalty as a London gang member (and in those you still get to say at home).

  13. Shady

    Indeed

    Indeed.com? JobServe? Surely one of these would be willing to sell a re-skinned site?

    Is there a "half-joking" icon available?

  14. Mycho Silver badge

    "We would take equal blame"

    Now, that actually is a breach of contract.

    Capita takes all the blame. That was always the deal.

  15. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    WTF?

    £26m ""That's close to 100 per cent of the margin on the contract."

    Are you f**king kidding me? That's a 2% profit margin.

    Tesco's manages 6-8%

    I smell saturation levels of bu***hit.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: £26m ""That's close to 100 per cent of the margin on the contract."

      This just means Crapita 'internal' accountants are very good at their job of hiding the loot.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        This just means Crapita 'internal' accountants are very good at their job of hiding the loot.

        Given that most of what they do is

        a) Hold meetings

        b) Make Powerpoints

        c) Email Powerpoints

        IOW they move nothing physical, apart from a consultants backside (unlike a supermarket, where pretty much everything is a physical object), who if they are any good might well be actually a sub contractor (although they will be under strict orders not to say so).

        The whiff of the farmyard was very strong in the original statement.

    2. fajensen Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: £26m ""That's close to 100 per cent of the margin on the contract."

      Modern way of running a business: Everything that does not accrue directly to the remuneration of the 'CEO & Friends Of' is an obscene waste of money!

      Thus Tesco's is 'Inefficient'.

  16. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    "four key performance indicator targets out of a total of 228"

    El Reg must secure the inside story of this epic level of failure to deliver for a future Who Me? special edition.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "..the inside story..epic level of failure to deliver for a future Who Me? special edition."

      That sounds like a whole series in itself.

  17. Wolfclaw Silver badge

    "ancient, creaky Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) IT system", didn't MOD spend millions with HP as lead contractor upgrading It systems to one integrated, system, I should know, I installed thousands of desktops and servers. Smells like BS from top brass, follow the money trail !

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Mushroom

      The hardware might be new, but the software it runs might be almost fossilised...

      I'm hoping that these don't run on the same system -->

  18. N2 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I suppose

    A few generals got lunch at the Ivy

    So it all OK then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I suppose

      The Athenaeum actually.

      Don't ask how I know.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only someone at the MOD (and PAC for that matter) would think to buy a subscription to Private Eye. 'Square Basher' has been reporting on this for a long while... and the RAF's tanker contract... and the RAF's outsourced training... and squaddie's housing... and the quality (and quantity) of the Navy's new hardware... and...

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge
      Unhappy

      They probably do, but only for checking they're not mentioned personally.

      RIP Squarebasher

      https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/private-eye-squarebasher-passed-away.267754/

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    British Army no longer big enough?

    Then what we need now is a Central European Army, as suggested by Macron a few days after Armistice Day last November and by Merkel the following week.

    After all, letting Germany and France run Europe has worked out so well in the past... (by which I mean the recent past and the EU, of course. Any similarity between the EU protecting the German and French economies and any empire-building in the early- to mid-20th Century are purely coincidental).

    Plus ce change, and all that.

  21. Flywheel Silver badge

    .. left our army with one of the fewest numbers of soldiers we've had in a long time

    Briefly putting on my tinfoil hat again.. if I was a rogue state wanting to reduce the military headcount of an enemy, this would be a very effective

    way of doing it without raising suspicion....

  22. NeilPost

    £1.2bn

    Fuck me, £1.2bn is an obscene amount of money to be spending on an organisation with <90K employees and what assess say 10K applicants a year and actually emplyoys a handful of thousand of them.

    £100m would provide a satisfactory manually files solution employing several hundred people a year and leave £1.1bn lolly to be spent on more useful equipment.

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