Losing the UPO staff

I just thought that we should start a thread on this since it is the most phenomenally incompetent piece of management I've ever come across. I'm absolutely astounded that DNRes allowed it through (actually, not true when you consider the last incumbent, who was as Mike Catt to the Jonah Lomu of Naval Policy).

We're losing the skilled instructor/administrator that keeps the Divisional System monitored, the funds audited and balanced, the advice that part timers need to stay in line with the Regulars' procedures and practice. We're getting an untried and unproven pay and allowances system which hasn't been designed with the vagaries of the reservist in mind, that (if it works) will do about 20% of the functions of the staff it replaces, and which is to be hosted on a system (DII) that won't be in place for several months AFTER JPA comes on line.

Anyone who did this in industry would be sacked. Why are we supposed to roll over and accept it?


Lantern Swinger
I have heard it mentioned that we will have to use JPA to sign on for a drill night. Thus the problem of what to do on drill nights will be solved. By the time everyone has found a (working) pc, remembered their username and password and logged off again it will be time to go home. This is before we book training, claim for weekends, submit requests etc. Should make for really productive 2 hours. At least the interpretation of rules won't change every time the staff do.


I tend to agree, the CPO(WTR) is the only useful member of the permanent staff in many units. Sometimes they can be a hindrance but in my experience they hold it all together. Who will when they have gone? As for JPA - the cockups that happen now are sackable in the outside world - it can only get worse when to quote Little Britain "....the computer say nah..."


Lantern Swinger
Are you actually losing the CPOWTR, or just the pay element of his work? You should still be retaining them for Admin purposes I believe?


War Hero
PompeySailor said:
Are you actually losing the CPOWTR, or just the pay element of his work? You should still be retaining them for Admin purposes I believe?

My understanding is that the CPOWTR will go, and I have grave reservations about the introduction of JPA. It may work for regulars that have access to an IT system that actually works, but for reservists who may only have 2 hours a week (let alone those that are on Lists 1, 4, 5 and 6) this has all the hallmarks of being a disaster.

I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times are IT system worked in 2 years, and now DII has been pushed back into 2007 we're supposed to make it work on our current, creaking network.

I hadn't thought of some of the implications you raised MO - the SM etc will certainly have their work cut out.
If I can recall a certain unit had no data comms to the MoD network for several YEARS and used to post their stuff across to another unit for processing. This may still be the case.
It gets worse, PT, the SMs are ROs and hence civil servants, and have amongst themselves agreed that they will not accept having the CWTRs' work shoved onto them. It would be a change to their Ts & Cs and would have to be approved by the CC's unions, which it wouldn't be. Quite rightly so, IMHO.


I think that although as a general principle I am against swapping people for technology, there are a couple of points here which link with the other thread within this theme on Evenings/Weekend Training.

1. The quality of permanent staff is very variable. Good people are a terrific asset to a unit, but I’m sure we can all think of instances where staff have been unhelpful/just not in the slightest bit interested in the RNR. On the Evenings/Weekend Training topic I cited the example of a CPOWTR who shut the UPO for much of a training evening. Quite when he expected people to be able to do any admin is a bit of a mystery, but as his main ambition seemed to be do the barest minimum possible before going outside that wasn’t exactly a key concern for him. In that instance an IT system might very well have been preferable.

2. If the system can be made to work, and work well, then units could work towards a drop -in type approach whereby the ship’s company could pop by and do their admin at any time throughout the week. This would allow units to focus on providing good quality training weekends, and good unit activities on evenings free from the constant need of people to nip away and do admin stuff.

On balance, technology is a good thing, when it works, and it would be great for people to apply for travel warrants, book training, search for courses and so on on-line from their normal civilian work. However, this could create a technology divide amongst the ship’s company – and experience suggests that it wouldn’t work for the first few year’s anyway - so the answer is that the RNR needs both good IT and good people.

If this is really all about money - and it normally is - how about civilianising the posts? That would be cheaper and provide a If source of stability in the unit.


Ah, but le_jaq - you clearly have never come across JPA. It will be an absolute disaster, and make Pay 2000 look like a well-introduced popular system. Mark my words...

Having said that, at least the MOD are trying to change. The system for drill night signing-in has been due for an overhaul for years now, as we must be the only large 21st century organisation in the UK who uses carbon paper, weekly print outs sent out from a central 1970s mainframe and INDOCS posted to an army of bored ladies in Gosport (even if they answer the phone from Glasgow now!). And, why oh why do the drill printouts still have an ASCII outline of a River-Class MSF on them? Kick ... teeth ... memory. Etc


Lantern Swinger
IMHO this will be one of those cost saving measures that will only look good on paper. The loss of UPO staff will save salaries, but they will not take into account the lost efficiency and wasted time as personal try to wade through websites and intranets...

I recently wasted 20mins on the Civil Service HRMS System (not unlike JPA, in fact I think JPA is using the same software?)... trying to find a simple allowances form. After 5mins browsing an on-line manual, I tried to download the form but drew a blank... I used the search facility without joy... went back to the manual and re-read it. Repeated the process again, but broadened my search... no joy. Try a couple of other wide searches. I was just about to give up and call the helpdesk when I was drawn to a listing of DINs... checked out a couple that might be relevant. Among those, bingo I saw a mention of the allowance I was trying to claim only it had been re-named. The form had been changed, but the on-line manual was out-of-date. Now if I'd spoken to HR (... read as UPO) I'm sure they'd have been able to point me on the right track straight away.

Difficult to put a price on this wasted time, but all too easy to lose sight of!!!