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I think you ought to read post number 967 in the PPrune Military Aircrew forum for the latest [para 5e refers].


Worth reading all of the posts to get a flavour of what's in store for you [I know, there are 25 pages; but this subject is going to have a direct impact on the money you get, be it pay or allowances]. If you think your admin is dodgy now, just wait until the autumn. Start saving your pennies to build up a small pot of cash for Christmas. If the RAF experience is anything to go by, a lot of you will have an empty piggy bank by then.


Lantern Swinger
I've heard all the scare stories but seriously, what new bit of kit hasn't had initial problems?
The Forces are years behind civvie street because individuals don't use IT to manage their pay and employment info. That's not to say that civvie systems don't have teething problems either!

Besides, is it JPA causing the problems or the companies who are meant to have built it correctly in the first place? What good does manking about it before you've tried it do? You're dooming JPA to failure before you've even touched it.

Whilst I'm not ignoring the issues some are certainly experiencing with JPA, I'm going to reserve judgement until I've tried it for myself, and even if it isn't a smooth ride at first, I am looking forward to what JPA is meant to give us all.
brains said:
Besides, is it JPA causing the problems or the companies who are meant to have built it correctly in the first place?

What a ridiculous attitude! What difference would that distinction make to the AB with 3 kids who doesn't get paid one month and his mortgage payment bounces? And as the RN "Logistics" branch take indifference and incompetence to new levels at the best of times (unlike the crabs, whose only capability seems to be getting the correct allowances to the correct people - luxury!), we can expect zero sympathy from the POWTR beseiged by panicked phone calls on day 1 of introduction.

Personally, I expect JPA to be the biggest screw up in pay & conditions and general admin since the oh-so-well-thought-out Pay 2000 introduction. A huge problem for us is that unlike the Army and RAF, most of our people do not have easy access to a PC even when shoreside. At COLLINGWOOD for instance, a legacy IT contract with Flagshit means that less than 10% of people on base have an IT account - how are the remaining 90% meant to do their account updating? Your blessed civvies in civvie companies who update their own pay accounts are at least trusted with a computer - hardly anyone in the RN is, especially below PO.

And as for support - read the PPRuNe boards for the RAF experience - you can bet that we're going to get even worse. And if anyone higher up in the RN ever receives a formal complaint as to why JPA was introduced with so many glitches .... welcome to another example of some fat Lt Cdr and his pet WO in an air conditioned, IT-connected, DII enabled office passing back all queries with "Problem? What problem?".

IMHO, the only person in the Forces likely to benefit from JPA is the former VCDS who retired from the RAF to work for EDS "Defense Advisory Council" - so let's give three cheers and a New Labour pat on the back to Air Chief Marshal Sir Anthony Bagnall GCB FRAeS RAF.

In March 2006, EDS launched the EDS Defence Advisory Council, comprising a panel of defense experts from around the globe to develop new insights and ideas for existing and prospective defense clients. The DAC is led by retired Air Chief Marshal Sir Anthony Bagnall, a retired senior Royal Air Force (RAF) commander with 41 years of service.

Despite brains' optimism (I strongly suspect he's actually quite senior in the mob from his party-line approach), I await the huge financial problems of the sailors least likely to be able to cope, and the resultant destruction of morale, with resigned trepidation. BZ pusser. Again.


War Hero
Personally, I find it reassuring at present that if you have a query/problem about pay or other admin issue, you can simply go to the ship's office and sit down with a writer and discuss the issue in person.

I'd hate to be stuck with a computer, trying to work out what I'm meant to do, or what I am able to do... I'd much rather speak to someone who is an expert (as currently happens) even if just for peace of mind.


War Hero
Good points and well made Geoffrey and realistically the chances of it coming in problem-free are zero. All new systems have problems but I woud hope (always an optimist) that most of the serious problems experienced by the RAF have been resolved before we get it. If not, they should delay it further. If they don't - that would be criminal.

On the subject of user interface, well assuming we can actually find somewhere to access it (some of us are not near a major establishment & don't have access to main MOD networks) there is still a great leap of faith that our people will be able to use it well. I pity the poor old Writer staff during the first months of transition.

For interest - there's an RAF FSgt working with me out here who has been short-changed by approx four hundred pounds a month since April. The RAF say that he must access a terminal to input the correct data. There are no terminals out here, yet they continue to say "you must access ...." Thankfully our writer staff are generally more flexible than their RAF counterparts and there are always emergency payments so I seriously doubt that we'll be left with no pay.

Unfortunately there won't be many Wtrs to answer your queries. The UPO and MACCO billets are being slashed as a savings measure on the back of JPA.

If you don't have your own PC at work - ie an Occasional User who has to use the terminals dotted round Collingwood, Sultan, Drake, Nelson etc - and you have a query, you will need to call JPAC (the enquiry centre) using the phone next to each Occasional User Terminal.

Those of us with regular PC access will have to e-mail our queries and wait for a reply.
Yep, the JPAC were contracted to be the first point of contact for all JPA queries, Writers were no longer supposed to be the people you went to if you had an issue with what appeared in your Pay Statement. So Pusser, in all his glorious wisdom, wrote off all our gapped billets and slashed Writer manpower across the board.

Meanwhile, JPAC collapses under the weight of it's own incompetence and is completely unable to do the job it's contracted to do, and passes the "first point of contact" buck back to the RAF Admin staff, who've had less JPA Training than JPAC. The RAF can only access JPA at certain times of the day to ease the strain on the servers, and the fairy that owns the magic wand that's going to make the servers able to cope with the increased data traffic from Jack logging on too, has gone AWOL.

I am currently working right next to the RAF desk in a joint-service UPO.

So, in a nutshell, you can expect your pay to be screwed beyond all imagination but you won't be able to check on it because you won't be able to log into JPA except for every second Tuesday in months beginning with "Z". JPAC will refuse to do what they were contracted to do and talk to you about it, and the buck will be passed back to the one or two Writers left in your UPO after Drafty's finished with his knife. None of these Writers will have had more than four day's training on JPA, and pretty much their only recourse will be.... to ask JPAC what's going on. To date, JPAC's standard response to any pay queries has been to keep you on hold for anything from 15 minutes to an hour, then admit that they don't really know how to help with the problem, promise to get back to you within 24 hours, and then forget about you.

God help us all.
I have a friend who until recently was working with the JPA Implementation Team as a holdover. When I spoke to him yesterday about this, he told me that there are so many snags with JPA that everyone in the know has been told to keep quiet so as to not worry people, and that is with the system now at "design maturity" (ie no more glitches will be sorted out). Apparently its purely because in yet another masterpiece of defence procurement, the contract with EDS is written in such a way that if JPA doesn't work properly, the MOD (not EDS, whose fault it will be) has to pay for software problems to be corrected. And there's no money to do that.

Make no mistake, we will be royally screwed over in October, and thanks to the craven attitude of today's senior managers who are in thrall to the budgeteers, there's nothing that can be done to avert the crisis. If I were you, start saving for that rainy day fund now, because Halloween will be particularly scary this year.

Who would like to bet that anyone gets sacked/in trouble over this debacle?


Lantern Swinger
geoffrey said:
Despite brains' optimism (I strongly suspect he's actually quite senior in the mob from his party-line approach), I await the huge financial problems of the sailors least likely to be able to cope, and the resultant destruction of morale, with resigned trepidation. BZ pusser. Again.

I wish! I just don't see the point in spreading doom and gloom unnecessarily.

My point about the companies is that the forces are not trying to screw us all by deliberately introducing a system to stop us getting our money and p*ssing us off.
The motivation for doing this is certainly cost-saving in the long run, but the ideas behind JPA are not bad, which is more than can be said for the state and way in which it has been introduced. That is irresponsible - it should have been properly tested and properly built, but I'm sure that releasing a cruddy system was never part of the grand JPA plan.
I feel very sorry for those already affected - JPA should not have been allowed to enter service until it was fit-for-purpose.

If it is still a load of rubbish when it goes live across the mob, then it is the duty of the powers that be, via the chain of command, to ensure that everyone is looked after - isn't that part of TORs for COs, XOs and even DOs? It will be a good test of how the RN actually responds to its people.

I'm not taking the party line, but I am not going to slag off something I've never used and which hasn't caused me any problems. Now if it does go t*ts up when it's live for us, I will be moaning with everyone else!

For me, the glass is half full.
Brains said:
If it is still a load of rubbish when it goes live across the mob, then it is the duty of the powers that be, via the chain of command, to ensure that everyone is looked after - isn't that part of TORs for COs, XOs and even DOs? It will be a good test of how the RN actually responds to its people.

How on earth can a DO/XO/CO "respond to their people" about JPA? The whole point about the system is that the chain of command is removed from the equation, and that each AB takes 100% responsibility for his own pay. Which is why it's such an inappropriate system for the RN. The naval pay system at present is the computerised version of the old-fashioned but effective method where a unit looks after its sailors, because the sailors do not have the access to IT or training to do it themselves. Thirty years ago, that's what civilian companies did, but then they gave everyone a computer, and the people at the very bottom were contracted out to employment agencies.

We haven't given everyone a computer. In fact, we haven't even thought about giving everyone access to a computer. The reason why? Because computers are expensive, become obsolete very quickly, and break when subjected to the inevitable combination of cups of tea and ship roll. And, there's no need, because a small group of people (Writers) were meant to look after your pay for you.

With JPA, everyone has become a New Labour "stakeholder" in yet another crappy IT white elephant built by a company famous for screwing up every major IT project its been awarded (CSA, Inland Revenue, Immigration etc etc). And your "powers that be" in a unit can do absolutely nothing about it, because some Admiral has taken away my powers and discretion and given it to a undermanned inexperienced call centre called "JPAC".

My glass is half empty, cos Tony Bliar has stolen the other half to give to EDS. And to their "Defence Advisory Council".


Lantern Swinger
Actually in my civvy street job they introduced a similar system to JPA about 5 or 6 years ago. We were predicting chaos, because it had early teething probs, but in the end it worked quite well. The only arse is remembering to do the bookings!! We use it for everything from work time booking, to travel and expense claims, even the annual appraisals are done on it.

RNR also have to cross to JPA and we're all saying the same things - we're rumoured to be losing our writers full stop. But until it actually goes live, no-one can say what it's going to be like. Although, I haven't done my training yet because the servers went down. :roll:

Let's face it, it's a change, and despite what anyone says, no-one deep down realy likes change. :wink:


Lantern Swinger
geoffrey said:
Apparently its purely because in yet another masterpiece of defence procurement, the contract with EDS is written in such a way that if JPA doesn't work properly, the MOD (not EDS, whose fault it will be) has to pay for software problems to be corrected. And there's no money to do that.

I may have to retract my first reply. I've just noticed the bit about EDS being involved. I have to admit I didn't know that. You see EDS are also involved with my civvy employer. They provide the contract for the IT equipment. Absolute s***e. I don't think they have a lot to do with our version of JPA - probably why it works.


I'm not sure how alone I am here, but how many people have actually tried out the e-Learning package for JPA?

I've completed both the User and Line Manager packages but to be honest I can't see the difference! I understand how to submit claims and do all the things that a standard user can do, but when it comes to the line manager side of things I just hope the system flags up leave requests etc with a nice big box that says 'AET Bloggs request leave from blah to blah' with 2 buttons Approve and Deny. Is that me being a bit hopefull do you think?

That's where the problem will eb with people like me who already have to spend too long sat in front of the one eyed monster all day having to sort through and check people leave entitlement etc, that's not what I trained for and its not what I get paid for, its a Wtrs job, but it looks like I'm going to be doing it!


Lantern Swinger
Civil service in MOD introduced a similar system called HRMS last year, initially it had major teething problems, but now works pretty well. Its much more straightforward to get things done, but has taken a major culture shift in CS thinking to achieve.
With respect, Empty-Vessel, it's not a Writer's job and it never has been. Writer's have NEVER approved leave for anyone, they just deduct whatever leave's been taken from that person's entitlement after it's been properly authorised on a leave pass by.... the Line Manager. So you're not doing anything that you're not supposed to have been doing in the first place.

You might be reassured to hear that it will work exactly as you hope it would - AET Bloggs puts in a leave request over JPA, then it appears in your JPA In-Tray and you either click "Approve" or "Reject". Job done. Cuts out all the wandering around the ship/establishment looking for a DO/HOD to sign a leave pass.

JPA as an idea isn't actually a bad thing. You'll be able to do a lot of stuff yourself that you'd normally have to wait for Writers to get round to doing, such as get your travel claims paid. You input your details (same way you always did on a C28 or C30 anyway) and instead of waiting for some Writer to process that and the other 140 claims dumped in his tray that day, it just gets paid into your bank account.

...If it all works as it should, and therein lies the rub.


Fair one, didn't quite think about that properly, glad to hear its as simple as it could be though!

Here's to it working and to everyone getting paid what they're due with the minimum of fuss.


im on a unit where the RAF personnel have been trying to get to grips with JPA since April they have shown me how to use it and some of the problems associated with it, i know its not quite the version we are getting and they will be upgrading as we come on-line, as will we when the Army do later.
There are never enough terminals for use as we all dont have nice office jobs, it can take ages to do simple checks which will be no good for leave passes, travel claims etc, the system was only available for use by "normal" people during certain hours of the day as the servers couldnt handle the amount of users logging on (ie 8am). which doesnt bode well when another 35,000 log on, base IT help numbers should be put on speed dial now if i were you.
The writers on our unit havent got a clue, because they are Navy they dont see it as their problem until the Navy come on-line in Oct and have so far recieved very little training in anticipation of JPA going live, so havent been able to provide the RAF with any help, cant see that changing much when we get on it either.
No information about the e-training packages etc are being given to the lads on the shop floor many dont have computer log-on's, this is just poor management on our section i know but we can't be the only ones.
Our unit like many others in the RN will be away during the transition period without access to computer systems with JPA log-on and are looking forward to having our pay propper screwed for some months afterwards with no access to sort it out.
The RAF PSF's (UPO's) had cash available incase it all went tits up on pay day, which as far as i know it didn't but was that more luck than judgement? given that the RAF is a more stable armed force and not nearly as mobile/deployed as the Navy/Army and all the problems that will bring.
On the plus side, if it can be made to work (ie proper investment) it is a really good idea allowing people to be more responsible for their own lives. but given this is being brought in as a cost saving measure i suppose we can rule that out. But then lets face it how many times have we looked at our pay-statement and wondered what the hell was going on, so can it be worse than waiting 3 months for a mid-monthly and being charged for quarters twice etc?
no-doubt the Navy wont allow its JR's to access the system anyway as anyone below CPO cant possibly handle the responsibility and will be too busy cleaning something to log on (PO's are not treated like SR's - don't get me started), because we treat our people like children.
Roll on Oct, belive me you thought pay-2000(1) was a good shafting bring on JPA! :roll:


Book Reviewer
Have a look a this thread:

I'm amazed by the rhetoric and uninformed comment. Before I get flamed to death, let me impart a few seeds for thought.

How many people have stopped to consider how often with the CURRENT pay system across all three services that pay errors are made? One of the principal reasons behind JPA is that all three services routinely make over payments/under payments or even no payments.

MoD could simply not afford to implement three bespoke IT systems for the services to replace the current systems. Equally a further reason behind JPA is to drive out the inequalities that exist in terms of pay/allowances etc, so one system made sense.

If you have to ask why are MoD finding the implementation of JPA difficult then consider this:

How are we different from Shell, BP, Boots - We offer a 'service' that borders on almost being a welfare system. We manage pay, pensions, career management and other HR services on one system. Civilian companies rarely if ever work in this way - the military is largely unique.

Getting a COTS product to offer the bulk of the services we required would always have been a significant challenge. Harmonising and simplyfing the pay/allowances rules would always be a significant challenge.

The biggest challenge however remains, getting people used to doing a lot of work themselves - get used to it, we are a shrinking Navy. There simply cannot be enough people to do all the work. And if that means we streamline our own administration so be it.

But don't think that 2SL downwards have simply thrown this system in without recognising the difficulties - I cannot for a moment accept that they would be happy if a single serviceman wasn't paid correctly. I think you can be assured when that happens somone will be roasted.

It won't be perfect when it arrives - its getting better, I use it in a Joint Unit and we've seen a big increase in its resilience and useability - but it will get better.

And incidentally, EDS are not the bad boys here - really! They were told to implement what they had by a certain date and they have. That they said that date was barking, well.......

I'm worked with EDS on and off for the past 16 years and whilst they are far from perfect they are no better or worse than any other major IS contractor.
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