back to article Strip Capita of defence IT contract unless things improve – Brit MPs

A Parliamentary committee has called for Capita to be stripped of its military recruiting IT contract unless its performance improves, as part of a wider call for UK defence spending to increase. The Defence Select Committee published a report this morning aimed at increasing British defence spending from its current level of …

  1. Only me!

    Why stop at defence?

    They should be striped of a lot more.....every time I encounter them, the project costs 3 times what it should....and then there are the delays on going costs for the smallest things, etc....they are all the same Capita, BT, Serco, etc......

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why stop at defence?

      That's why Gove should have been shuffled from the Ministry of Allotments to the MOD.

      (Mines the one with Dig For Victory in the pocket)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why stop at defence?

        That's why Gove should have been shuffled from the Ministry of Allotments to the MOD.

        You don't think there's already an elegant sufficiency of decisive fools at the MoD?

      2. Mark M.

        Re: Why stop at defence?

        While the buck always stops with them, it's not entirely the ministers' fault. They are usually treated like mushrooms by the devious Humphreys in the civil service and are usually oblivious to anything and everything that's going wrong until the shit hits the fan while they're right in front of it.

        Ministers come and go, but the civil servants remain the same. if you ever wonder why the same mistakes keep getting made despite having different ministers "in charge", look for what never changes in the organization. That is usually the cause of the shit.

        If anyone needs to be shuffled out of the MoD, it's all the devious, power-hungry senior civil servants who know very little about the domains in which they work and only exist to brown-nose with other senior civil servants in order to prepare for the moment when they need to jump ship and into another cushty public service job that they can screw up.

  2. TechnicianJack

    I certainly hope they lose the contract. I can't see how anyone thought that having a 3rd party handle recruitment and information for the armed forces is a good idea. (Well, other than the people being passed the brown envelopes). It will be a good kick to Capita to show they're not invincible, or even better, accelerate their death spiral.

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Well that sounds good but if implemented retiring ministers won't get a sinecure at Capita after they leave Westminster, so forget it.

  3. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


    extra R is being well earned by Capita

    Can someone explain why , given their past failures, we keep throwing work to them?

    1. Chronos

      Re: That

      Can someone explain why , given their past failures, we keep throwing work to them?

      DJO just did, up there ^

    2. stevo42

      Re: That

      They're not allowed to take past performance into account when awarding contracts.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Not a problem

    There will be a brand new company soon available to replace Capita's dismal record. It will be named Atipac, and will offer true professionals and brand new management*, but all people will have at least 20 years of experience in government contracts.

    Atipac : your new guarantee of success.

    * any resemblance to Capita employees is purely coincidentail

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not a problem

      Atiparc, Shurely?

      1. cd

        Re: Not a problem

        AdiPrac, more disguise and so that folks here can call the AdiPrat after they bobble a few.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not a problem

      "* any resemblance to Capita employees is purely coincidentail"

      In most government contracts it doesn't matter who wins the bid, they just TUPE in all the staff who are already in post. Government pays a different company but the same failures who haven't updated their skills in 20 years are sitting at the desks. Only now they are all angry because none of them wanted to work for $MEGACORP and they just found out their pension fund was spent on a massive drinks party to celebrate winning the bid.

  5. Pen-y-gors

    A cynic writes...

    These networks rely heavily on digital and space-borne tech and fears were expressed by some who wrote in that the Armed Forces may not be fully prepared to cope without them being operational.

    Many suspect they could not cope with them being operational either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A cynic writes...

      "First you blind them, then you kill them." Really doesn't matter who is doing what to whom. Anyone expects any non-local links to work in any dust-up is a fool, really doesn't matter whether up above to down below.

  6. Pen-y-gors

    3% of GDP?

    Are they serious? What do they want? A nuclear-armed aircraft carrier to park outside the home of every Syrian jihadis?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 3% of GDP?

      Are they serious?

      Don't worry, to achieve 3% they'd need to spend an extra £15bn a year. Having just promised the NHS a rising amount to eventually be a further £20bn a year without any clarity on funding, there's no way they will be able to genuinely find a further £15bn for Abbey Wood to piss away on dysfunctional tat, and thus it will be achieved by the normal and simple expedient that I call "lying".

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: 3% of GDP?

        "without any clarity on funding"

        There was clarity on the funding. The Prime Minister has said that the extra funding for the NHS will come from the money we'll be saving after brexit.

        The widely agreed (including by the government itself) prediction that there will be less money after brexit has nothing to do with it, the PM was still very clear...

        elReg, maybe it's time we had a 'magic money tree' icon?

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    "notorious (but highly profitable) IT outsourcing bungler Capita"


    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "notorious IT outsourcing bungler Capita"


      They're not even profitable these days.

      You can see why if you look at the case of them not forwarding NHS mail and storing a backlog. Back in the old days they'd have got either the forwarding or the storage added to the contract as an expensive extra, probably both.

  8. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    I thought Crapita was on the point of following Carillion down the tubes. With luck, all we have to do is wait, then when the euphoria is over, start shorting Serco.

  9. bonerp

    Cut back contracts to the bone and what do you expect?

  10. We-win-again

    on the rise ....

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I remember when...

    The contract was run by HPES who lost the bid to Capita. There were customer grumbles about HPES at the time, but of a relatively minor nature IMHO. Capita did a wonderful sales job but didn't take into account some of the major requirements for a recruiting system or indeed realise that military recruiting is nothing like civilian recruiting.

    For example, teenagers are permitted to register an interest in joining the armed services from as young as 14 (IIRC). That means parental consent needed and particular care taken to safeguard the personal data of "minors". A high proportion of people drift in an out of interest, expressing a desire to join then going away and then deciding to join up after all. So records management can be fun. Once someone does decide to jopin up then their records need to be transferred from recruiting to payroll and training. back in the HPES days this was all fairly well controlled and integrated. Capita didn't, and apparently still don't, understand how complex management of military personnel and potential recruits can be.

    There seems to be a major problem with MOD purchasing, in that there's no real ability to look at the chances that an organisation can do what they promise. Capita arrived at the bid with a poor history. other companies bidding had much better track records. However those who know what they are getting into put in bids that are more expensive than the clueless. Because the clueless always assume that military work can be outsourced to India then get a shock when they discover that government rules on processing that data say "no foreign". However the MOD then seems compelled to accept the lowest bid even though all concerned know this is not going to go well.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like