DE&S+ Or A GOCO? White Paper Issued

Discussion in 'The Fleet' started by soleil, Jun 12, 2013.

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  1. Not really that niche as it is where a significant chunk of the defence budget goes. Decisions made there have an impact on every one of us.

    I've done a few tours in and around procurement and there is no doubt that, despite many hard working good people both in and out of uniform, the system is fundamentally broken. Unfortunately I'm not sure either of the options will change that too much. The GOCO option will make a small number of people very rich at the expense of everyone else who works there - see QINETIQ privatisation as a good example.

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  2. Seadog

    Seadog War Hero Moderator

    I understood sol's meaning of 'niche' to refer to how few RR members will be inclined to take an informed interest in the subject. There may be some ill informed bitching about 'snivel serpents' and some historical revisionism about how excellent procurement was in my day.
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  4. Pepys may now be spinning in his grave.
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  5. It's about time. A system brought about in the sixties simply won't work today. It will be interesting to see if the process will become more public now too.
  6. I doubt it, they'll just hide behind commercial confidentiality.

    What we actually need is a system that rewards success rather than the current one which shares responsibility amongst so many people that no-one is ever held accountable. At least the BBC (eventually) sacked the bloke responsible for their latest IT fiasco. When was the last time anything similar happened in defence procurement?

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  7. The problem I see, albeit with extremely limited experience of procurement, is that in addition to there being too many parties being involved along the conveyor belt, the long process of procurement also means that each point along the line may also have a high turnover of personnel. So if it wasn't bad enough going from point A to all the way to point Z before any decision is made, point B, G and T have had six different people in that position in the life of the project before it's even reached point X.

    No process can work effectively in that manner.
  8. Levers_Aligned

    Levers_Aligned War Hero Moderator

    There's also the matter of the government finding a way out of this mess by effectively 'privatising' the procurement business, hedging the risk attached to the commercial sector whilst not having the foggiest about how to deal with its own lack of contractual adeptness. The Armed Forces - and the Civil Service - have never been particularly clever at writing and sticking to contracts. It's alluded to in the WP but with no real 'so what we're gonna do is this' attached to it. Think about how many times in previous lives MoD have bought, signed for and then changed the spec or changed its mind about this, that or the other. Think also how many times they've contracted an entity in full belief that they'll do this, that and the other and then discovered otherwise because the clown who wrote it up had his head stuffed up his arse, or was bamboozled by spin and flashing lights. I'll give you an example - the numerous software-heavy applications we all use(d) as part of our everyday lives ... much of which were grossly underpowered or not fit for purpose. Then there's the capital projects which grow arms and legs as soon as they are shook on. Do the government really expect the commercial sector to be quite so flexible or forgiving? What you'll sign for ... is what you'll get. Want it different? Tough. That's what is on the bench and that is what was asked for.

    This 'sixty year old formulae' may be shit, but it offers (at a modest cost) a level of levity and wriggle room that MoD/AF need, unless they sharpen up their act when asking for Gadget X. Where I work, we spend valuable and expensive hours covering for shoddy contract work, where very, very important equipment of the magnitude of 'special' has just been missed off the 'what if it goes wrong?' level simply because MoD/RN have spent their time happy-clapping and not covering all bases. Commercialise that? You'll get the big FOP with sauce on it. Rubbish contract work. Goodwill factor by ex-matelots.

    I can see some harsh times ahead if this WP goes through without the right level of consultation. The intent is right - but shifting risk of procurement onto contractors either gives them the guilded opportunity to make things worse by lengthening the process because they wont carry that risk without guarantees (and who would?) or destroy the whole process entirely unless it suits their needs ... and that offers great opportunity for corruption and influence.


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