JPA COMPUTER SYSTEM - OUCH!

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

See http://www.pprune.org/forums/showpost.php?p=2758600&postcount=967

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.

http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=219026
 

Brains

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.
 

dunkers

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.
 

SILVER_FOX

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.

SF
 
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?
 

Brains

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".
 

bunnyjumper

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:
 
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