Lions, Donkeys & Dinosaurs

Discussion in 'Films, Music, TV & All Things Artsy' started by Tricky71, Oct 1, 2008.

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  1. I do not know if this has been posted or recommended before (proberbly) but it must be up there with the "MUST READ" books.

    ***** 5 stars for me.

    Unbelievable read, all parts of the Tri Services. Not just the RN.
  2. And another opinion is......

    This review is from: Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs (Paperback)
    It's not surprising that this book has been so well recived by the media. Because it simply repeats all of the tripe that they print. Mr Page has fallen into the trap of believing everything he reads in the papers, without, it seems, pausing to think about whether there might be an agenda behind those reports. So he rehashes old, inaccurate and naive stories and choses to give no credit - because he and his publishers are not interested in doing so - to the huge succeses that there have been in equipment to the front line. Example - why did the UK pay so much more for its Apaches that the Isrealis? Because the Brits bought an entirely different, and much more capable version that has made a phenominal difference to the Army's capability. not surprising that they cost more is it? But then good news stories don't sell, do they?Mr Page doesn't seem to appreciate that - since nobody has written about it in the papers, actually there is a very sophisticated process for assessing needs, costs and risks involved in buying defence equipment, that has to take into account that this stuff is rather more complex than buying a family car. Sure, it's entertaining, but (aside from the annoying writing style), this needs to be taken as a work of fiction, not fact.

    So you pays your money and takes your pick.
  3. chieftiff

    chieftiff War Hero Moderator

    A very sophisticated system that generates buereaucracy, encourages self indulgence and nepitism, is overly complicated, far from transparent and one which profit making companies (companies that in the real world have to demonstrate business skills and acumen) no doubt laugh at hysterically. Page set out to demonstrate this, or more succinctly he set out to question how the MoD interpret the terms VALUE, QUALITY, NEED, TIME and COST.

    There is some spin, and some of the remarks are tabloidesque but I found it a good read, I can't think of another book about procurement that I would have stuck through anyway.
  4. Actually I thought it a very good read too, it reflected the thoughts of both myself and a LOT of my peers onboard :)
    I would recommend it.
  5. Whilst I haven't read the book, I have read some of his writings and I must say I am not impressed. He certainly learnt his style at the Scum School of writing and seems to often deliberately misrepresent the realities to support his master theory. Very much a case of deciding the answer first then trying to find a question that fits.

    Having spent much of my working life on either side of the procurement struggle, and it is a struggle, I would agree our system is by no way perfect, at times the MOD is not the smartest purchaser and is often the cause of it's own problems, equally we manufacturers make mistakes too especially in some aspects of skill aquisition.

    Yes there are problems, no one has had the guts to take the very needed reforms of the system under Thatcher (one of her good jobs) on to the next essential step, but Mr Page seems to have failed both in diagnosis of the problem and in prescribing the cure.
  6. CT, you mean you've never been faced with that marvel of modern literature "A Guide to Smart Procurement"??? If you suffer from insomnia, this one's for you. :sleepy: :sleepy: :sleepy:

    WRT LD&D, there were some good bits of info, how much of it is fact? Dunno. I disagreed with the conclusions as well. There was one interesting point raised: Defence spending is the only part of Government spending NOT subject to such rigorous scrutiny.
    Again, not sure how true that is with Defence Select Committee etc.
    Hey ho.
  7. It's wrong. The OGC gateway process is much lighter in terms of scrutiny than MoD. In my experience much of the cost and time delay in the MoD system is down to the burden of scrutiny, frequently with the cost of audit exceeding the value of the work being audited.
  8. Cheers for that Karma. Always happy to be corrected.
  9. Second Karma's post.

    My experience is also that a substantial proportion of delays, cost overruns and requirements changes are due to the ludicrous number of "scrutiny" organisations and the level of audit trail required. You only have to be familiar with the amount of operational analysis done for the MARS project and how it changed over the years to see how complex the system is (and we still haven't bought a single fleet tanker FFS!). FSC is in a similar situation.

    Then you get onto the stupidly onerous nature of MoD contracts which include reams of compliance with all sorts of legislation (eg Montreal protocol for desk studies FFS!) and yet never seem to have enforceable penalty clauses.

    The whole system has been designed with laudable objective of ensuring taxpayers money is spent efficiently, but in fact has become a monster that actually prevents that happening. As with all bureaucracies, compliance with "the system" has become the most important thing, rather than getting decent kit on time on price, which is the actual objective.
  10. NaB

    Part of the problems on cost over runs is wholly unrealistic budgeting partly because every one is very frightened by big numbers and partly because the MOD fails to engage properly with industry, as you say this is then compounded through the approval process where additioanl performance has to be squeezed and thus costs escalate again. If you add to that the reality that the MOD seems incapable of even the most basic cost benefit analysis it is not surprising things cost to much then over run.

    AS for the system having a laudable objective for protecting the tax payers money that is a laugh, the system is solely intended to ensure that civil serpents are not blaimed for waisting the taxpayers hard earned cash when even more of it zips of to money heaven.
  11. I think it was aimed at preventing the sorts of contract awards that led to prosecutions in the late 80s, but in doing so is just having further emb8ggerances!

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