back to article Capita's bespoke British Army recruiting IT cost military 25k applicants after switch-on

Capita's 2017 decision to implement bespoke IT systems on a £1.3bn British Army recruiting contract led to nearly 25,000 fewer applications to join the military in the following year, new figures have revealed. The switching-on of bespoke Defence Recruiting System (DRS) IT systems contributed to the lowest number of wannabe …

  1. Cederic Silver badge

    Why haven't we banned Capita

    The continual expensive failure of Capita to provide reasonable service, let alone good and efficient service, really should have led to a multi-year ban across all public bodies from signing new services from them.

    I'm not going to pretend that £130m/year all goes on the IT system - it'll include recruitment teams, marketing, assessment, career guidance and other things - but fundamentally this is a basic HR function. Companies with under £130m/year revenue, let alone HR spend, manage this just fine and it's trivial to scale.

    Start giving smaller organisations some of these tasks. Boost the economy, not Capita shareholder dividends. Or if you really are going to be stupid enough to sign Capita, make sure the contract includes performance penalties. Lots of them. Shit, you'll make money on it.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

      I don't think the shareholder dividends can be up to much, every time I read about Crapita their margins are somewhere between one and two percent.

      I have no idea what the C suite bonuses are like however.

      1. General Purpose

        Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

        No dividends paid since 2017.

        1. General Purpose

          Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

          At that point, the share price had fallen about 60% in two years. Since then, it's fallen to about 5% of what it was 5 years ago.

      2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

        It's easy to get low margins. Just increase the salaries of the executives to an obscene amount.

    2. Binraider

      Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

      Rather stupidly, procurement law concerning using past performance to judge a current bid is frowned upon if not illegal. One must therefore get your tender scoring process absolutely bang on to ensure you aren't delivered a turd. MOD has a long history of getting this wrong; Boeing and the Chinooks come to mind. Capita deliver what's asked for - garbage in, garbage out. If it weren't garbage in, Capita wouldn't get the job. What do I know, 20 years experience of writing tenders...

      1. osakajin Bronze badge

        Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

        Fodder in Shirley?

      2. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

        CANCELLATION CLAUSES and PRESCRIBED METRIC TARGETS (e.g. number of job applications handled by the system, percentage of applications experience technical problems, etc.).

        Why does nobody put them in?

        You didn't deliver, contract is null and void, you get nothing. Want to get paid? Make it do what you promised.

      3. HildyJ Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

        As one who has written tenders in the states (a.k.a. RFPs - Request for Proposal), we have similar constraints. Past performance involves the bidder selecting a project and giving you a contact and you can't do any additional research. The best bet might be to try for an Ongoing Concern based on company size and profit margin but it's hard to get that approved.

        The crap companies shall be with us always.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

        But Capita don't even seem to polish their turds. Amazing given the amount of money that seems to get spent...

        1. Taciturn

          Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

          Capita gave up turd-polishing years ago. Now they just roll the turds in glitter and present them to incredulous procurement departments - who for reasons that pass understanding continue to let contracts to them. Definition of madness is repeating the same thing expecting a different outcome...

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

        "Boeing and the Chinooks come to mind."

        I wouldn't normally defend Boeing but in this case, as in the case of BAe and the Nimrod MR4 mentioned in another post over the last few days, the blame should be laid at the hands and keyboards of the procurement "experts" in Whitehall who do not have a clucking fue about aircraft but think that, if they write a Requirement and someone sells them a solution, they can simply change the requirement as many times as they like without consequence. Never mind little details like aircraft having limited space available, or maximum all-up weights that have to include such minor inconsequentialities as the crew, fuel and a useful payload.

        But that's no excuse for not banning Crapita. They should have gone the way of the dodo years ago!

        1. EnviableOne Silver badge

          Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

          the Nimrod platform has been a continuing issue for the MoD procurement teams

          They bankrupt GEC Marconi on the AWACS project

          put severe dents in BAe Systems on the MR4

    3. oiseau Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

      Why?

      Because someone once decided to bash into people's heads that public sector was bad and that private was good much better, very efficient and that unlike the public sector, clearly understood the concept of value for money.

      This, of course, (like Greta Fowler would say), is absolute rubbish.

      Because value for money is a very narrow metric and depends heavily on who is evaluating, what they are evaluating but more than anything if they are actually valuating the right things.

      In the case that occupies us now, the right things are never evaluated.

      Not everything can be translated into money/dividends. eg: The benefit of having a decent public transport system in crowded cities even if they do not turn a profit or if it is neccesary to subsidize them is absolutely huge.

      Profit in and for a society/nation is not about money whereas for the private sector, it is only about money and shareholder dividends.

      In any case, the private sector has (long ago and all over the western world) clearly shown at every chance it's had what their concept of "value for money" is:

      The most money for them with the least value for the rest of us.

      As such, said sector is absolutely at odds with the aim of ensuring common good, general welfare and security and the well-being of everyone in the nation.

      Which is clearly a task for the state to undertake.

      The private sector does not give a Flying Flamingo® for the common good, general welfare and security and the well-being of everyone but themselves, it's just what they are, how they are built.

      You cannot put public matters in private hands, it's a recipe for ruin.

      O.

      1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

        And where it stops, not using private suppliers?

        Feeding soldiers only with food grown on State farms?

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

          When it means that defence of the country becomes dependent on who the for-profit supplier is, and who certainly has different loyalties than the country, then yes. The same goes for other critical national infrastructure, including the NHS.*

          *Yes, I'm very aware of the problem of cutting-edge medications/medical instruments.

    4. You aint sin me, roit

      Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

      The idea behind ignoring smaller, but more competent companies, is that when it all goes tits up (and the MoD have enough experience to know that it will), there will still be a company around to sue...

      Or pay to make it good... throwing good money after bad.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

      I am going to bet that most people commenting here have never actually worked with public sector clients...or indeed they work for them. It takes two to tango...

    6. Potemkine!

      Oligopoly

      An oligopoly (ολιγοπώλιο) (Greek: ὀλίγοι πωλητές "few sellers") is a market form wherein a market or industry is dominated by a small group of large sellers (oligopolists). Oligopolies can result from various forms of collusion that reduce market competition which then typically leads to higher prices for consumers.

      Small businesses are de facto excluded because they don't have the ears of the political deciders. The big ones do. No, no, it isn't corruption, it's called lobbyism.

      If you think it will change some day, I've got several bridges to sell for you.

    7. VulcanV5
      Unhappy

      Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

      "We" haven't banned Capita because Capita is hooked in as deeply to the UK's political structure as all the other big name parasites out there.

      There isn't a Tory party or Labour party or even, LibDem party conference that isn't blessed, one way or another, by the presence of free drinkies and buffets served up by friendly, gushing employees of the world's largest accountancy companies to conference attendees too stupid to appreciate they're being manipulated.

      As with the accountancy firms, so too with outsourcing businesses like Crapita: lobby, lobby, lobby for work but in addition to that, get the buggers at their party conferences, because that halfwit bloke standing next to the drinks table in the corridor is going to get a safe seat at the next general election and will be forever grateful for the respect and attention you pay him now when he's still obscure and not yet the Government Minister he was born to be.

    8. gobaskof

      Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

      Banning Craptia would be a good idea.

      I have never dealt with UK government procurement, but I experienced the US government version when I was over there. I once wanted to spend $70k on some custom fabricated parts, but the time the bid had passed through procurement I hardly recognised it was my bid as they dress it up in so much legal speak. In the end after a many month delay it was awarded to someone who made us something that was sub standard, after a further long argument we got a slight discount. Woot $60k for something worthless, but I suppose their money goes on the team that can understand the bid documents and tick all the boxes in the response.

      Companies like Crapita specialise in hoop jumping for procurement bids. Nothing much else matters.

  2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    A normal SNAFU?

    I'm always seeing stories like this, has Capita ever done anything that works? By "works" I mean something that benefits the customers, not the corporate management bonuses.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A normal SNAFU?

      They are dire. As the main part of my job (not the army related stuff in the article), I use a piece of their software and it is terrible - frequent crashes, a horrendously high number of mouse clicks to do basic tasks, inability to perform the same task on multiple objects (makes what would be a 5min job using a competitor's software take an afternoon), and it grinds to a slow crawl if someone is stupid enough to run a report on a few thousand items.

      Apparently the licences are about £10,000 cheaper for us compared to the competitor mentioned above, but we've had to hire about two more FTE in my role since we switched...

      1. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: A normal SNAFU?

        ... yet your organisation was complicit in specification, design, implementation, UAT, training, sign-off and payment for the aforementioned piece of shite.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A normal SNAFU?

          Ah, an optimist!

          For this particular software package, the first four were done (or should I say "attempted"?) before our organisation existed - if we had been involved in those processes to any extent, it is news to me.

          "Training" consisted of one colleague (acquired through a merger, who had used a previous version) being told to sit with us for a couple of afternoons, and then answer phone calls when needed. Mostly, it was a case of "I wonder what this button does...".

          Yes, our outfit is terrible in many ways, but that doesn't absolve Capita of anything. Selecting their product is one item in a long list of our mistakes.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A normal SNAFU?

      Oh yes...because when a company does a good job that's newsworthy...especially at the Register.

      "Capita implements functioning back office system for happy client". I can definitely see that scoop coming to a tabloid headline near you.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: A normal SNAFU?

        Hi, AC! (in this case, Apologist for Capita). Have you got any examples, or are you spouting garbage?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A normal SNAFU?

          @Intractable Potsherd. I see what you did there. That's why you earn the big bucks.

    3. EnviableOne Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: A normal SNAFU?

      SNAFU = Situation Normal All F*@k3d Up

      therefore a "normal SNAFU" is similar to "an ATM Machine" or a "PIN number"

      is an expression of RAS

  3. osakajin Bronze badge

    Now we know where the top brass will be moving to after retiring.

  4. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    I get it...

    Ok, it's the regular 3 monthly "let's bash Capita" story. I'm totally all for that; but isn't there also an argument for saying that the Armed forces simply aren't an attractive career option for a lot of people, hence the lack of applicants?

    I can't speak for everyone, but it's certainly not a pathway for life that either of my children entertained.

    1. Dr Scrum Master

      Re: I get it...

      There're also the recent rounds of advertising which may not have done so well at attracting sufficient applicants...

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: I get it...

        Also, the current generation of recruits probably won't remember Iraq & Afghanistan very much

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I get it...

          "Also, the current generation of recruits probably won't remember Iraq & Afghanistan very much"

          You do know that there are lots of people who join the army specifically to fight and become warriors don't you? Fortunately they are not all Islington set navel gazers stuck in a sixth form political dilema pontificating about geopolitical problems way above their understanding.

          1. spacecadet66

            Re: I get it...

            "You do know that there are lots of people who join the army specifically to fight and become warriors don't you?"

            Yes. And what they actually become is security guards for the oligopoly.

    2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: I get it...

      The military is a wonderful career. Travel to exotic and exciting places. Meet new and interesting people. ... and kill them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I get it...

      Private Eye had the story of the CO of a (Scottish?) regiment who got fed up with the number of people coming up to him saying that they'd love to join up but got nowhere with Crapita, so he started taking details and tried to pass them up the chain.

      He got slapped down of course... "Not your job", etc...

    4. phuzz Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: I get it...

      I wouldn't be surprised if over time the number of people interested in joining the armed forces has gone down, but a 20% drop in one year is pretty steep.

      Mind you, the 50% jump in applicants in 2016-17 needs some explanation as well. Particularly effective adverts? Young people suddenly becoming more bloodthirsty? Counting error?

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: I get it...

        Mind you, the 50% jump in applicants in 2016-17 needs some explanation as well. Particularly effective adverts? Young people suddenly becoming more bloodthirsty? Counting error?

        Maybe some people* felt more patriotic because of the Brexit vote?

        * Not me personally though

      2. EnviableOne Silver badge

        Re: I get it...

        posibly due to the large numbers of expeirneced staff let go by the Defence review and re-applying?

    5. juice Silver badge

      Re: I get it...

      > isn't there also an argument for saying that the Armed forces simply aren't an attractive career option for a lot of people, hence the lack of applicants?

      Monday: we sold 200 ice creams from our old truck

      Tuesday: we introduced our new ice cream truck. The speaker doesn't work, and there isn't a window, so we have to open the passenger-side window to give out ice cream and get money We only sold 100 ice creams..

    6. herman Silver badge

      Re: I get it...

      "lack of applicants" - TFA states large numbers of applicants quit in frustration trying to navigate the web site.

    7. spacecadet66

      Re: I get it...

      I feel like the Germans have the right idea here. Thanks to some deliberate postwar social engineering, the Bundeswehr is seen as a low-prestige employer of last resort. It certainly beats the "SuPpOrT tEh TrOoPs!" mentality prevalent in the USA.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1.3 billion could have given each of the 110,000 recruits a 10 grand bonus. Wouldn't that have just been a bit easier? And put the money in the pockets of the people who deserve it rather than Crapita executives? What is wrong with the world?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      £350m per week extra will be going to the NHS soon I believe. That's an extra £233 per week for every NHS employee?

    2. Templogin

      Giving Money Away

      We constantly seem to be able to give loads of money away, but not to the riff raff.

  6. boltar Silver badge

    When I was young...

    ... back in the 80s they had Forces recruiting centres. Why not bring them back? Not everything works well online and when I went to one to have "the chat" I realised pretty quickly that I probably wasn't suitable for a life in the Army. If I'd done an online application god knows how much of my and their time I'd have wasted befire I'd come to the same conclusion.

    1. David Neil

      Re: When I was young...

      They still exist, there is one on Queen St, Glasgow

    2. Insert sadsack pun here

      Re: When I was young...

      They were never particularly busy, they were terrorist targets, they were expensive to rent. You don't see many recruitment agencies with High Street shopfronts any more but 20 years ago they all used to have little postcards in the window. Now you don't need them because it's all online and easy...

      ...oh.

      1. Ashto5

        Re: When I was young...

        Why not put them in Job Centers ?

        Got a crap life join the army and blow crap up you will love it

        Maybe have a few guns laid out for them to try

        The odd tank parked outside

      2. boltar Silver badge

        Re: When I was young...

        Well they wouldn't be very busy because you're not going to get a stream of people queing to join the army but 1 recruit to them is probably equivalent to a thousand shoppers at Tesco.

        As for terrorist targets , well yes, but then anything was a target for the IRA. Ask the parents of the children those psychopaths blew up.

    3. herman Silver badge

      Re: When I was young...

      Also, I would think that many recruits are unable to read and handle a web application. (I am an ex-army officer, so I know what the quality of recruits are like!)

      1. sniperpaddy

        Re: When I was young...

        Projecting much?

        Youngsters these days are very familiar with standard browser-based UI's.....unless it is badly designed.

      2. Templogin

        Re: When I was young...

        Perhaps this ex-officer might like to go forth and inspect a few war memorials and contemplate the quality of those who died.

  7. LDS Silver badge
    Devil

    Next step: outsource the whole military to Capita...

    ... they know well how to find low-paid recruits.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Next step: outsource the whole military to Capita...

      Just conscript Crapita staff...

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Next step: outsource the whole military to Capita...

        Just conscript Crapita management...

        FTFY

      2. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Next step: outsource the whole military to Capita...

        The medical hospitals would be full of soldiers with holes in their feet..

      3. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Next step: outsource the whole military to Capita...

        We would end up with a new definition of BYOD - Bring Your Own Defence

      4. Ashto5

        Re: Next step: outsource the whole military to Capita...

        When they attack the safest place will be directly in front of them

  8. Alpy
    Facepalm

    Large outsourcing is dead within UK Gov...

    ...and this project should be a visible reminder why!

    DRS has been a disaster and the horse needs to be put to rest. Between a several year delays in the application being completed (debate exists to this day if that it is actually complete!), huge overspend, and a system that has clearly crippled the recruitment processes of all services, it's time this ancient, monolithic, waterfall approach to IT projects are also put to rest.

    The 2019 Army figures looked good due to a significant reduction in target and the near but damn it, removal of any real entry barrier into the Army. It's not something to be proud of in hindsight.

    I hear that Capita are also looking to extend the contract further from 2022 into 2024 as part of AFRP (Armed Forces Recruitment Program). Madness.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: it's time this ancient, monolithic, waterfall approach to IT projects are also put to rest

      I'm sorry, what's the problem with waterfall ? Is it because it is a system that has given valuable results since the beginning of IT ?

      Don't be mistaken, I'm pretty sure that if Capita had used today's super-trendy Agile approach, it would have produced the same amount of turd.

      The problems start with the specifications : get that wrong and it doesn't matter how you code, you'll get garbage in the end.

      1. Robert Grant Silver badge

        Re: it's time this ancient, monolithic, waterfall approach to IT projects are also put to rest

        The problems start with the specifications : get that wrong and it doesn't matter how you code, you'll get garbage in the end

        Imagine a process that didn't pretend specifications could be got right up front, but started early, and iterated. What a good idea.

        1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

          Re: it's time this ancient, monolithic, waterfall approach to IT projects are also put to rest

          You mean a situation when Capita does not even have to deliver anything at the end because it was never specified up front that something has to be delivered on a specific day?

          I am sure Capita will love it.

          1. Robert Grant Silver badge

            Re: it's time this ancient, monolithic, waterfall approach to IT projects are also put to rest

            Because specifying that something should be delivered in two years is more reliable than seeing progress every 4 weeks? Sounds like you're having a nice dream.

      2. Glen 1 Silver badge

        Re: it's time this ancient, monolithic, waterfall approach to IT projects are also put to rest

        My understanding is that the point of the new(ish) trendy agile canban woowoo is that it *expects* changes in specifications, and tries to factor them in.

        The problem being that if the changes never stop (because, say, the folks in charge don't know what they're doing), then neither does the project. That suits Crapita all the way to the shareholders meeting.

        Not sure if that's the case in this specific instance, but have seen it happen elsewhere. A manager sees the new shiny, and suddenly its a "must have".

        1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: it's time this ancient, monolithic, waterfall approach to IT projects are also put to rest

          The problem is not crapita, but the contracts signed by the civil service to crapita.

          Because there'll be a change in minister with a "wouldn't it be good if xxx was added to the system", with the civil service drawing up a new spec and handing it to crapita who then charge an arm and a leg for the varience on the contract.

          And then outsourcing the work to the cheapest job shop they can find, and pocket the change.

          Followed by offering the minister's wife/children/cousins a job

          1. You aint sin me, roit
            Holmes

            Re: it's time this ancient, monolithic, waterfall approach to IT projects are also put to rest

            Standard operating procedure... give them the bare minimum that meets the requirements, even (especially) if you know it won't work.

            Win the project by tendering below cost because you know you'll make your money on "change requests" to plug the holes in the spec that you knew were there all along, but didn't tell the customer.

            Cynical, and you spend more time ensuring that you meet the spec rather than create a quality product, but lucrative.

  9. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Magic Money Shot Questions

    The contract is due to end in 2022. Although the MoD has the right to use DRS in perpetuity, it must still pay maintenance fees to Capita for the upkeep of the software.

    How about MOD upgrades to the software? Is that included in their right to use DRS in perpetuity?

    1. Mark192 Bronze badge

      Re: The Magic Money Shot Questions

      I'd expect any change to the system (other than patching for vulnerabilities and bugs) would incur hefty fees.

      We had a similar clusterf- with our outsourced system. Ended up junking it -and 'them'- and taking everything in house, hiring people who really knew their stuff and didn't keep fobbing us off with 'working to design'.

      Don't know if it was cheaper in-house but, as a user, I saw more stability improvements to the old system in the first month of taking it in-house than the previous bunch had managed in several years.

      For such a large organisation, outsourcing something so core to the business doesn't make any sense unless an off-the-shelf product. They should have taken on a board-level IT person that knew their stuff and gone from there.

  10. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "it must still pay maintenance fees to Capita for the upkeep of the software"

    "Upkeep"? You mean "so they might finally get it working properly"?

    I'm still amazed everyone just accepts that software will always be delivered in a crap state and require constant fixing until it goes obsolete. Try the same with real estate and see what reaction you get.

    1. Glen 1 Silver badge

      Re: "it must still pay maintenance fees to Capita for the upkeep of the software"

      If I buy a house, didn't get a survey and later discover something wrong with it, it has become *my* problem.

      If I *did* get a survey... Is the problem something a surveyor should have spotted? Even If the problem is only discovered 10 years later? 20?

      We pays our money and makes our choice.

      1. Julz Silver badge

        Re: "it must still pay maintenance fees to Capita for the upkeep of the software"

        I think you will find that the survey will be very carefully worded such that there is no legal responsibility taken by the surveyor or their company. They can be useful to get an overall idea of the sate of a property but they are useless as a form of insurance.

        I once bought a house which had some off cuts of wood piled up in the cellar coal room. The survey 'usefully' pointed out that it might be a source of wet or dry rot. Well bugger me, who'd of thought. The same survey noted that a sink in one of the bathrooms was a bit crazed and should be replaced. No matter that it was a two hundred year old original fitting and probably worth more than the cost of the survey.

        One of the main problems I see is that the fear of speculative litigation and the requirement to maximize profit has undermined one of the original purposes of such things. In our wonderful world, the exact wording of contracts is given much more weight than it's intent, not to mention the moral obligation of suppliers to actually providing usable goods and services. Doing a good job is no longer seen by such firms as part of their reason for being. Probably in part, because however shit their last delivery was seems to have no bearing on whether or not they will get another job in the future, even from the same schmuck.

        Can't help thinking that if the only measure that is given any credence is money, then this mess is inevitable.

        Bugger me, I think I might be turning French. The horror...

        1. hairydog

          Re: "it must still pay maintenance fees to Capita for the upkeep of the software"

          The valuer (didn't waste money on a survey) queried whether the extension that houses my utility room had planning permission. It was added in 1770.

  11. AdendHy

    I take issue with "most notorious outsourcing company" descripton... surely there are a number of other candidates for that title? G4S, Serco, Atos to name but a few.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    25,000 fewer applications to join the military in the following year

    I thought this was in line with keeping the UK armed forces down, non? ;)

    1. Insert sadsack pun here

      Re: 25,000 fewer applications to join the military in the following year

      The only possible explanation for Capita's continued existence despite its many failures, commercial underperformance and general shittiness is...it's a Putin-funded plot to bring down the British state from within.

      1. spacecadet66

        Re: 25,000 fewer applications to join the military in the following year

        If I were Putin (which I am not, I am in fact Gülşat Mämmedowa), I wouldn't bother with anything as difficult as plotting. I'd just sit back and let plain old ordinary corruption continue to run its course.

  13. Trigonoceps occipitalis

    2012

    I wonder how the London Olympics would have fared if Capita had been doing military recruiting in the years running up to the event.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do NOT leave out Capita's friends

    Any big contract, you know the hideous talons of PA Consulting and McKinsey are there, grabbing every last pound they can. Oracle will be hoovering up what's left.

  15. Ashto5

    Again & Again & Again

    These people are military they can kill you in hundreds of different ways

    The others are salesmen and they can rob you in hundreds of different ways

    Who thinks letting them negotiate a contract is a good idea ?

    Capita has the brains and still keeps coming out on top even when they mess up

    Dominic Cummings needs to get a grip of these things and sort them out

    1. SuperGeek

      Re: Again & Again & Again

      "Capita has the brains and still keeps coming out on top even when they mess up"

      Really? "has the brains", "capita" and "mess up" in the same sentence? Let me FTFY:

      "Capita has NO brains and still keeps coming out on top even when they mess up royally, which is all the time, cause they're a pile of runny brown poo-brains"

      There. True to fact!

  16. Ashto5

    Time for change

    It is time that the rendering process included

    Previous history

    Named people ( so that the same people can’t just change company name)

    Decent negotiators NOT civil servants or bullet monkeys

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Time for change

      The Rendering Process

      Are you suggesting Capita should be boiled down for the fat it contains?

      You know, that might just work!

  17. NeilPost Bronze badge

    £1.3bn WTAF

    I’m just staggered that the cost of Aemy recruitment is £1.3bn over 10 years of the contract... with it seemingly only being on and up for the last 5.

    You could run a manual system for a fraction of that.... which would you know work. Employ some aged 50+ traditional Personnel Officers to run it.

  18. AdrianMontagu

    Why aren't Outsourcers held to account?

    There have to be repurcusions for such an appalling waste of money. It is simply not good enough to embarrass Capita management in front of the Public Accounts Committee.

    There have to be financial penalties written into ALL large Government contracts. Those penalties MUST also have a financial impact upon the management individuals. That is the only way we will bring this ludicrous situation to an end.

  19. clintos

    Typical capita

    they lost the NATS contract due to terrible management. but, it never ceases to amaze me, how paying gov for contracts always gets garbage in the door.

  20. //DLBL SYSRES

    Does anyone know if Capita have ever delivered a working system, on time and on budget?

    1. X5-332960073452

      Isn't that a pick any two, but not all three answer?

  21. x 7

    Capita = Success

    Using Capita to run projects such as this is a long established way of cutting government department budgets without announcing cuts.

    If you can't recruit staff you don't have to pay them, so cost savings achieved.

    Incompetence breeds success, thats why the Tories love the

  22. Mark Major
    Facepalm

    A few smart developers

    As always, a team of half a dozen decent developers could have done better, for a fraction of the cost. We're only talking about a dozen applicant web pages, a database and a back-end candidate approval process?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The reason they're still in business

    Capita are still in business for a handful of fundamental reasons:

    the public sector don't talk to each other - they can make an arse of something next door to another 'prospect' and they'll be none the wiser.

    accountable stakeholders within their customer base don't want to draw attention to the fetid heap of shit they approved

    public sector rarely specify things properly, and when they have drawn up a tender, and bid for it, SIs know the goal posts will have moved by kick-off/transition.

    extending on from the previous point, they bid low and 'answer the exam question' because they know they can rinse the customer blind via change control when the customer actually decided what they want, without fear of competition.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Applied via AFCO last year

    ... and ten months later, I'm still in the midst of a to-and-fro with Crapita.

    Don't tell me outsourcing works. It clearly doesn't.

  25. spacecadet66

    So what you're saying with this headline is, Capita has done a public service for once.

  26. TechHeadToo

    I worked for Capita, briefly. The organisation was driven from the top to be utterly unscrupulous and blind to users needs, to the point of deliberately luring them into bad specifications so they could charge double for changes.

    I have watched them since - the departure of the Chief Exec as a sop to be able to say they were all cleaned up. The give capitalism a bad name. It seems that every system they 'somehow' acquire (WHY was he thrown out?, oh yes - suspected bungs to toady politicians)

    Disgraceful. As I get older seem to get more right wing. The only answer is really to bring back capital punishment, and asset stripping, as for drug lords.

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