Defence Recruiting System (DRS) Feedback request

#41
Started my application in August so had it submitted before the change in system

My problem was getting through the process, was waiting for my fitness test and security check emails for 2 months
 
Last edited:
#42
My application was started a long time ago and I am now at the stage where I've completed PJFT but am awaiting a PRNC date. I have been given a date for entry to HMS Raleigh over the phone, which eventually turned up on the DRS system, but I've not received any other information since. Upon completion of PJFT I was expecting some sort of communication as to what comes next and when but have not heard anything and have had to chase AFCO for the date I've been given. I completed PJFT in November which sounds like about the time things started to migrate...

From my point of view I'd very much like to know when PRNC is so that I know how long I have left to get fit (or fitter) and plan any time off work etc. When I rang the AFCO I was told that PRNC is typically 6 weeks before entry date but this doesn't seem very specific and I have had no other information other than what I can find for myself. I'm also now on my 3rd careers advisor since November and e-mails to individuals have so far gone unanswered. I shall continue to persist and I'm sure I'll get some answers out of the AFCO eventually, but in my last few attempts by phone it genuinely seems that they have access to less information than I do.

Specific issues with DRS:

After being barely able to use the system at all in late 2017, when I was eventually able to log in I saw a dashboard page outlining a number of steps I need to complete that replicated a lot of information I'd already supplied on the paper application form, most of them stating that I needed to Start a section or submit extra information.

Status of application graphic
At the top of the dashboard it has a series of connected dots which puts my application status somewhere between "Application Review" and "Suitability Assessment" even though I already seem to have an intake date for HMS Raleigh - the next step is "Fitness" which I assume I have already passed (unless this refers to the PRNC element), so this summary of my application status seems to be wrong.

This graphic should also have a '>' chevron to allow scrolling to the right but it doesn't get rendered, so it's not obvious that you can scroll this image to the right.

Data migration
Multiple sections are shown for what seems to be an electronic version of the paper application form, with several requests to add additional data. When I click on these sections it is apparent that some data has been pre-populated with information that I have already submitted, but other data was missing:

  • Identification section - all ID details and numbers were missing.
  • About You section - details of Dr/ dentist were missing.
  • Education & Quals section - my university position was listed twice for some reason, but missing details of degree classification. My secondary school was listed but no details of my quals survived the data migration, so I had to add those in manually.
  • Other Skills section - the additional information section is rendering some JS nonsense as "object[Object]".
  • Employment section - this might be missing data from migration but is so unusable I can't tell.
In addition the address listed in this section differs from the address that is found under marketing preferences (which can be accessed by clicking on the settings/userprofile cog), the latter of which has an address that is now almost 3 years out of date.

Server side bugs
This marketing preferences address doesn't update - click on the cog, go to the address section and at the bottom there is a link to edit the details. I enter the details, a pop-up appears when the server-side reloads the page saying "your details have successfully been updated" - it's sent valid JSON data to the API Controller at /UpdateProfile - but on re-loading the DOM the old address however is duly re-rendered. The back end appears to be doing nothing.

When I tried to edit the Education and Quals section I made the rookie error of painstakingly adding in everything in one go then attempting to save the form. It gave me a server 500 error each time. I eventually managed to get my data in by doing it in single stages (delete the second uni listing, then save, edit the uni qual, then save, add a-levels, save then GCSEs etc) which did eventually persist to the DB. Sadly I'm not sure what the cause of this bug would be but it probably has something to do with arrays of items in the view model and multiple add/remove actions in these lists. If I was a tester that's where I'd start looking anyway.

The dashboard shows a link to "View your development plan >>" which when clicked on results in a 404.

Declarations section - after clicking "Yes submit my form", the server times out.

Front end bugs
The dashboard page itself has an e-mail icon with a red exclamation mark annotation which suggests I have unread mail. When I click on the mail icon to see the mail page, there is no mail.

In the interests section I have 6 entries in the hobbies datagrid area and this doesn't render properly, instead of forming a scroll bar it over-renders onto the next section header of the form.

The employment section is totally unusable. I've attached a screenshot to demonstrate this. The grid of previous employment is totally foobared.

SSO/Signon
Security time out page telling me to log back in again renders a "Logout" option in the top right of the web page in the banner. I obviously can't logout if I'm on a login page.

At one stage (presumably due to a timeout) I was redirected to /login but it again rendered the "Logout" banner option and also the settings cog and e-mail symbol.

Overall security aspects
This site has not been adequately tested and this concerns me becaue it contains sensitive personal information relating to recruits that could have adverse consequences if leaked. Given that basic features such as page layout and form submission don't work I have grave doubts that much attention has been paid to the security aspects of setting up this website.

It would be highly entertaining to let a competent team of penetration testers work on this site and see what they find. The source code sent to my browser itself contains all sorts of crap that really should not make it into a live production website:

Rendering the page https://apply.royalnavy.mod.uk/ *without* being logged in sends me the (un-minified) JavaScript code withdrawApplication.js - this exposes implementation details of how the withdrawal feature works and it looks like if someone can get hold of an application ID (e.g. via an intercepted e-mail) they could bang in a request to withdraw an application without being logged in. I hope the server side catches this and prevents it, but I wouldn't bet on that.

This page also offers lots of commented out code that should never have made it to a production server in expandMarketing.js (why this is sent as part of the logged-out home page is again beyond me).

Other source code gems I've seen on the way (hit F12 on your browser if you wish to see for yourself):

footerScripts.js line 55 - //why is this no longer working? SVL
Profile.js line 17 - //var correspondenceAddress = common.address.populateAddressViewModel("CorrespondenceAddress");

DOM header: <!-- This is being done since bundling is currently breacking css files!!!-->
Also DOM header: <!-- note - Prod version-->

I could look further but I think that's enough for tonight. I'm currently working as a software professional for my sins and can tell you that this website should never have been put on a production server and released to the public. I am stunned that the MoD has decided to put this system live when it is clearly not finished, particularly when you already had an existing recruitment system that was working. There would have been far less damage to recruitment operations and the service's reputations by extending the lifetime of the existing system until this system was in an acceptable state....

Lastly, who in Capita do I send my beta testing invoice to?
 

Attachments

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
#43
My application was started a long time ago and I am now at the stage where I've completed PJFT but am awaiting a PRNC date. I have been given a date for entry to HMS Raleigh over the phone, which eventually turned up on the DRS system, but I've not received any other information since. Upon completion of PJFT I was expecting some sort of communication as to what comes next and when but have not heard anything and have had to chase AFCO for the date I've been given. I completed PJFT in November which sounds like about the time things started to migrate...

From my point of view I'd very much like to know when PRNC is so that I know how long I have left to get fit (or fitter) and plan any time off work etc. When I rang the AFCO I was told that PRNC is typically 6 weeks before entry date but this doesn't seem very specific and I have had no other information other than what I can find for myself. I'm also now on my 3rd careers advisor since November and e-mails to individuals have so far gone unanswered. I shall continue to persist and I'm sure I'll get some answers out of the AFCO eventually, but in my last few attempts by phone it genuinely seems that they have access to less information than I do.

Specific issues with DRS:

After being barely able to use the system at all in late 2017, when I was eventually able to log in I saw a dashboard page outlining a number of steps I need to complete that replicated a lot of information I'd already supplied on the paper application form, most of them stating that I needed to Start a section or submit extra information.

Status of application graphic
At the top of the dashboard it has a series of connected dots which puts my application status somewhere between "Application Review" and "Suitability Assessment" even though I already seem to have an intake date for HMS Raleigh - the next step is "Fitness" which I assume I have already passed (unless this refers to the PRNC element), so this summary of my application status seems to be wrong.

This graphic should also have a '>' chevron to allow scrolling to the right but it doesn't get rendered, so it's not obvious that you can scroll this image to the right.

Data migration
Multiple sections are shown for what seems to be an electronic version of the paper application form, with several requests to add additional data. When I click on these sections it is apparent that some data has been pre-populated with information that I have already submitted, but other data was missing:

  • Identification section - all ID details and numbers were missing.
  • About You section - details of Dr/ dentist were missing.
  • Education & Quals section - my university position was listed twice for some reason, but missing details of degree classification. My secondary school was listed but no details of my quals survived the data migration, so I had to add those in manually.
  • Other Skills section - the additional information section is rendering some JS nonsense as "object[Object]".
  • Employment section - this might be missing data from migration but is so unusable I can't tell.
In addition the address listed in this section differs from the address that is found under marketing preferences (which can be accessed by clicking on the settings/userprofile cog), the latter of which has an address that is now almost 3 years out of date.

Server side bugs
This marketing preferences address doesn't update - click on the cog, go to the address section and at the bottom there is a link to edit the details. I enter the details, a pop-up appears when the server-side reloads the page saying "your details have successfully been updated" - it's sent valid JSON data to the API Controller at /UpdateProfile - but on re-loading the DOM the old address however is duly re-rendered. The back end appears to be doing nothing.

When I tried to edit the Education and Quals section I made the rookie error of painstakingly adding in everything in one go then attempting to save the form. It gave me a server 500 error each time. I eventually managed to get my data in by doing it in single stages (delete the second uni listing, then save, edit the uni qual, then save, add a-levels, save then GCSEs etc) which did eventually persist to the DB. Sadly I'm not sure what the cause of this bug would be but it probably has something to do with arrays of items in the view model and multiple add/remove actions in these lists. If I was a tester that's where I'd start looking anyway.

The dashboard shows a link to "View your development plan >>" which when clicked on results in a 404.

Declarations section - after clicking "Yes submit my form", the server times out.

Front end bugs
The dashboard page itself has an e-mail icon with a red exclamation mark annotation which suggests I have unread mail. When I click on the mail icon to see the mail page, there is no mail.

In the interests section I have 6 entries in the hobbies datagrid area and this doesn't render properly, instead of forming a scroll bar it over-renders onto the next section header of the form.

The employment section is totally unusable. I've attached a screenshot to demonstrate this. The grid of previous employment is totally foobared.

SSO/Signon
Security time out page telling me to log back in again renders a "Logout" option in the top right of the web page in the banner. I obviously can't logout if I'm on a login page.

At one stage (presumably due to a timeout) I was redirected to /login but it again rendered the "Logout" banner option and also the settings cog and e-mail symbol.

Overall security aspects
This site has not been adequately tested and this concerns me becaue it contains sensitive personal information relating to recruits that could have adverse consequences if leaked. Given that basic features such as page layout and form submission don't work I have grave doubts that much attention has been paid to the security aspects of setting up this website.

It would be highly entertaining to let a competent team of penetration testers work on this site and see what they find. The source code sent to my browser itself contains all sorts of crap that really should not make it into a live production website:

Rendering the page https://apply.royalnavy.mod.uk/ *without* being logged in sends me the (un-minified) JavaScript code withdrawApplication.js - this exposes implementation details of how the withdrawal feature works and it looks like if someone can get hold of an application ID (e.g. via an intercepted e-mail) they could bang in a request to withdraw an application without being logged in. I hope the server side catches this and prevents it, but I wouldn't bet on that.

This page also offers lots of commented out code that should never have made it to a production server in expandMarketing.js (why this is sent as part of the logged-out home page is again beyond me).

Other source code gems I've seen on the way (hit F12 on your browser if you wish to see for yourself):

footerScripts.js line 55 - //why is this no longer working? SVL
Profile.js line 17 - //var correspondenceAddress = common.address.populateAddressViewModel("CorrespondenceAddress");

DOM header: <!-- This is being done since bundling is currently breacking css files!!!-->
Also DOM header: <!-- note - Prod version-->

I could look further but I think that's enough for tonight. I'm currently working as a software professional for my sins and can tell you that this website should never have been put on a production server and released to the public. I am stunned that the MoD has decided to put this system live when it is clearly not finished, particularly when you already had an existing recruitment system that was working. There would have been far less damage to recruitment operations and the service's reputations by extending the lifetime of the existing system until this system was in an acceptable state....

Lastly, who in Capita do I send my beta testing invoice to?
Excellent feedback, thank you, I'll forward you detailed response to the software engineers.

With regard your application, regardless of the inadequacies of the software, most (if not all) AFCOs are manually processing applications so you will hopefully not be disadvantaged, despite the frustration understandably felt.

The PRNC won't be booked until an entry date is (manually) allocated. One your current careers adviser has notification of your start date, they will confirm your availability dates and request (manually) a PRNC.

Again, top feedback, this is exactly the information required to hopefully get the company to sit up and take notice.
 
#44
For all potential applicants having trouble activating their online DRS portal, call the dedicated helpline direct: 0345 602 0450
My son telephoned this number today but was advised that there is still technical problems and they are still trying to get the system working!! They advised that they will refer his error again to IT and the only advice they could give is to keep trying.

He has also e-mailed the AFCO on Tuesday asking for their help but has not heard anything yet but I do know that they were having problems with their e-mails before Christmas so they could still be having issues. Due to school commitments (revision for mock GCSEs) it was too late to phone the AFCO today so he’s going to phone on Monday. Fingers crossed they can help.
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
#45
My son telephoned this number today but was advised that there is still technical problems and they are still trying to get the system working!! They advised that they will refer his error again to IT and the only advice they could give is to keep trying.

He has also e-mailed the AFCO on Tuesday asking for their help but has not heard anything yet but I do know that they were having problems with their e-mails before Christmas so they could still be having issues. Due to school commitments (revision for mock GCSEs) it was too late to phone the AFCO today so he’s going to phone on Monday. Fingers crossed they can help.
Again, good feedback and sorry to hear of the problems encountered.

It really does irk when we have to apologise on behalf of an incompetent third party, nevertheless I hope it's appreciated the frustration is mutual.
 
#46
It really does irk when we have to apologise on behalf of an incompetent third party, nevertheless I hope it's appreciated the frustration is mutual.
Having you and other dedicated AFCO's on the case Sir speaks volumes for these young thrusters , choccy hob nobs MID ;).
 
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#49
Hi, I’m new to this. I was wondering what would be the next best thing for me to do? As I have already applied a month ago and I haven’t got a call back or more information about my application. As a result I contacted my local AFCO to see if I could get my application manually processed but they said they only deal with applications through the online portal.
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
#50
Hi, I’m new to this. I was wondering what would be the next best thing for me to do? As I have already applied a month ago and I haven’t got a call back or more information about my application. As a result I contacted my local AFCO to see if I could get my application manually processed but they said they only deal with applications through the online portal.
That is correct unfortunately however there are contingency plans afoot - watch this space because we may well follow the RAF and ditch the system to go to fully manual processing whilst they fix the bugs.
 
#51
My experience is a recent one starting only a week ago.
Started to apply online for chosen role and got as far as receiving the email thanking me for my interest and asking me to register for eligibility to join. Received an email asking me to login to the candidate portal. When I attempt to do this is states that it does not recognise me or my details.
Have rung helpline who advises me to keep trying and yes that they do know who I am!!
Should I ring AFCO? Should I just keep trying to login? Or is there another way to log on?
Yes, I am at a very embryonic stage of my journey, haven't given details over the very basics, but I'm guessing patience with persistence is the key.

Thanks
 
#52
I have been using the top link you suggested, but thanks for ensuring I'm not making a mistake.

The call centre has escalated my issue to the IT boffins apparently and if it's not fixed by Monday then I'm to ring them back apparently.

AFCO has also (as others have said) told me that it's all online only, no paper option.

Must be as frustrating for them as it is for us!

This WILL be my career, I'm not going to let technology stop that!
 
#56
My application finally went through this morning after a month of trying. Previously I was receiving the Error 500 or Timeout message when trying to submit the full online application.

I haven't yet received an email from the support team telling me that the issue has been resolved though, so I suggest that anybody who has had the same problem as me to log in and try again now whilst it appears to be working.

Thanks to all for the advice on this thread!
 
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