Defence Recruiting System (DRS) Feedback request

#1
There have already been a couple of threads on the thorny issue of the new, tri-service, regular, reserve, officer or other rank, online Defence Recruiting System (DRS) which is proving exceptionally troublesome.

It would be very much appreciated if we could gather tri-service feedback to highlight the issues potential applicants are having with DRS since it launched on Monday 13th November.

So far, most of the problems highlighted to the contracted company are from an AFCO angle, but it is appreciated it maybe equally as frustrating from an applicant's perspective and are also pretty certain we are potentially losing dozens, if not hundreds of applicants on a tri-service basis due to the software issues.

For those having snags, applying to join any arm of the UK Armed Forces, regular, reserve or auxilliary at whatever level in whatever trade, please contribute to this thread, explaining your issues and a timeline of delays to date so that they can be fed back to the contracted software company - hopefully to the mutual benefit of all services and the contractor.

The far from ideal solution in the interim, for those currently stuck in stasis, is talk direct to your local AFCO also as many are now manually processing applications - bearing in mind most are closed between 22nd December and 02 January.

For those wishing to apply to join the UK Armed Forces on or after 13 November 2017, please add your experience to this thread, good or bad.

Many thanks.
 
#2
Just to add, for those legacy applicants who already had an application to join underway on 13th November, any feedback on progress (good or bad) would be very useful.
 
#3
We're finding a good many "in flight" candidates (those whose application was already underway, prior to the switch) have significant discrepancies when the data was migrated across from the old system to the new.

The danger here, for example, is the new system could be telling us you have not sat the BARB test, passed interview, undergone a medical examination or attended selection. At present we can reach back into the previous system (the one that actually works!) and verify your status.

The snag is the old system gets switched off mid February and if the data migration is not correct, applicants may find themselves having to repeat selection elements as we have no record of successful completion.

It's worth highlighting to your AFCO, by email ideally, all completed selection elements which you cannot see recorded as completed on the candidate portal so the missing data can be manually corrected before February.

Please post any screenshots of error messages (deleting personal details before uploading) or list snags encountered when using the candidate portal.
 
#6
So basically the software isn't as good as an old fashioned SNCO beyond their 22.

And although cheaper to run is costing us millions in lost potential...
It's basically cost £70M over the preceding 5 years and has considerably less functionality than the system it replaces.

Currently applicants cannot apply online and their data is being manually inputted then manually processed in the case of the Navy and the RAF.

As with any system there's always going to be teething issues but the company seem to think the client is broadly content & if they say it enough times, the problem will go away.

It won't.
 
#10
Fair enough.

Can the old systems turn off date be extended?
The ranks incidentally were chosen advisedly.


There's no going back to the old system for financial & contractual reasons, so far as I'm aware but it has already been extended several times so far & the mid Feb chop date is just the latest in a series of extensions.

The relevance of the previous site will diminish as applicants move through the process and it is now "read only" but nevertheless critical because the data migration was flawed, with many applications (1000's) transferred incorrectly and it is, in many cases, the only correct reference source.
 
#11
We're finding a good many "in flight" candidates (those whose application was already underway, prior to the switch) have significant discrepancies when the data was migrated across from the old system to the new.

The danger here, for example, is the new system could be telling us you have not sat the BARB test, passed interview, undergone a medical examination or attended selection. At present we can reach back into the previous system (the one that actually works!) and verify your status.

The snag is the old system gets switched off mid February and if the data migration is not correct, applicants may find themselves having to repeat selection elements as we have no record of successful completion.

It's worth highlighting to your AFCO, by email ideally, all completed selection elements which you cannot see recorded as completed on the candidate portal so the missing data can be manually corrected before February.

Please post any screenshots of error messages (deleting personal details before uploading) or list snags encountered when using the candidate portal.
Hi, I was at my assessment on the 18/19th September when the old system was still in place. Unfortunately I was medically deferred and put on a 12 week excercise diary which has now been completed without any problems and sent off, so I'm just waiting to hear back now. While I was there I took the BARB test and was told I scored highly (qualified for every job in the army), and that this score would be kept on system for the next time I'm there. I also passed the jerry can carry, bag lifts and most the medical, although I'm not sure if any of this matters for the next time I hopefully go back in for assessment as I'll probably have to do it all again.

With regards to the bold part of your post, am I supposed to be able see more information on my assessment in the candidate portal? Right now all I see is that I'm still at the "Preparing Solider Assessment" stage. I'm also unable to scroll left or right on that bar, and where it says "View complete joining process >" below it looks as if it's supposed to be a link that I can click on, yet when I click on it nothing happens. Is this all normal, and is it worth contacting my AFCO or CSM just to make sure my status and data has been transferred correctly? Thanks.

 
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#12
Hi, I was at my assessment on the 18/19th September when the old system was still in place. Unfortunately I was medically deferred and put on a 12 week excercise diary which has now been completed without any problems and sent off, so I'm just waiting to hear back now. While I was there I took the BARB test and was told I scored highly (qualified for every job in the army), and that this score would be kept on system for the next time I'm there. I also passed most the medical, not sure if this matters or not for the next time I hopefully go back in for assessment as I'll probably have to do it all again.

With regards to the bold part of your post, am I supposed to be able see more information on my assessment in the candidate portal? Right now all I see is that I'm still at the "Preparing Solider Assessment" stage. I'm also unable to scroll left or right on that bar, and where it says "View complete joining process >" below it looks as if it's supposed to be a link that I can click on, yet when I click on it nothing happens. Is this all normal, and is it worth contacting my AFCO or CSM just to make sure? Thanks.

Excellent feedback, thank you, this thread is being monitored, so hopefully the software engineers can pick up on the glitches raised.

I suspect you should be able to scroll right to view the events you need to complete - can you please state device/operating system/browser? (Eg: Samsung A3/Android Fudge/Firefox)

From an RN/RAF perspective the data migration revealled flaws in the recruit test (BARB) totals & eligibility criteria, so it maybe worth emailling your AFCO just to place on record where you believe you are at and where the system states you are - if there's a discrepency.
 
#13
Excellent feedback, thank you, this thread is being monitored, so hopefully the software engineers can pick up on the glitches raised.

I suspect you should be able to scroll right to view the events you need to complete - can you please state device/operating system/browser? (Eg: Samsung A3/Android Fudge/Firefox)

From an RN/RAF perspective the data migration revealled flaws in the recruit test (BARB) totals & eligibility criteria, so it maybe worth emailling your AFCO just to place on record where you believe you are at and where the system states you are - if there's a discrepency.
Yes, I'm on a Packard Bell laptop running Windows 7 and using Firefox 57.0.2 (32-bit).

I will send an email to my AFCO now just to make sure, thanks!
 
#14
Hiya, after having problems for weeks with no registration number coming in, I tried the password reset as suggested by other forum users and it worked. However, now into the application process I am having serious problems submitting the various forms and documents. While I have managed to submit the initial application information and the 'Online Medical Questionnaire' (after some difficulty), I still can't submit the 'Supplementary Application questions for Candidates', even after two days of trying. I have gone through all the information, filled in and refilled in all the boxes, and still it won't submit. Every time I hit the 'yes submit my form' button, I will get a message stating that it either 'Timed Out' or it received an 'Error 500' (see attached photos).
 

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#15
This thread will be moderated strictly. The OP is after decent useful feedback. Bitching about the system or throw away comments will be culled and users thread banned.

Thank you

Guns.
 
#16
Hi, Not adding a great deal to this thread I'm sure, but as you've asked I'm currently attempting to join the reserves as an ex regular. Tried to register on the website and several weeks later am still awaiting my verification email ( so I can actually start the application!). If I didn't have my years of regular experience in hurry up and waiting to fall back on I could be getting quite frustrated by now lol
 
#17
Hiya, after having problems for weeks with no registration number coming in, I tried the password reset as suggested by other forum users and it worked. However, now into the application process I am having serious problems submitting the various forms and documents. While I have managed to submit the initial application information and the 'Online Medical Questionnaire' (after some difficulty), I still can't submit the 'Supplementary Application questions for Candidates', even after two days of trying. I have gone through all the information, filled in and refilled in all the boxes, and still it won't submit. Every time I hit the 'yes submit my form' button, I will get a message stating that it either 'Timed Out' or it received an 'Error 500' (see attached photos).
Thank you. This again highlights the fact the error is with the servers. Not that it helps the individual particularly.

As an aside it has been claimed for over a month that the issue is due to limited bandwidth, but this and other posts are showing a server timeout error.

Frustrating though it is, there are three "workarounds". One is to complete the form late at night or early in the morning when there is low activity, another is to either take a screenshot of your completed sections & email it to your contact centre for manual input or write out the text and email it back.

Hopefully the penny will drop sooner or later that the servers do not have sufficient grunt capacity to handle the volume of users.
 
#18
Thank you. This again highlights the fact the error is with the servers. Not that it helps the individual particularly.

As an aside it has been claimed for over a month that the issue is due to limited bandwidth, but this and other posts are showing a server timeout error.

Frustrating though it is, there are three "workarounds". One is to complete the form late at night or early in the morning when there is low activity, another is to either take a screenshot of your completed sections & email it to your contact centre for manual input or write out the text and email it back.

Hopefully the penny will drop sooner or later that the servers do not have sufficient grunt capacity to handle the volume of users.
To determine whether it is server load or bandwidth constraints, is trivial for those that have any business being in a data center in the first place. I could name half a dozen site members here off the top of my head that could have the answer within a day as to which it was.

The issue may not be between the applicant and the web server, it may be back-end related, where for example, the applicant is in Scotland, and is served from a web server in Glasgow, but the database and/or processing logic is in (for example) Slough. Or California, for that matter. Depends on the architecture of the solution greatly, but it is far from rocket science, and if the contractor is claiming bandwidth, then that's an easy one to fix. The 500 status code indicates server error, but that could be because the application is unable to get back-end input, due to bandwidth constraints. Or the application logic is made of cheese (more likely).

The going rate for a 10G wavelength or Ethernet link is a few grand a month, unless it's across oceans (unlikely). I recently did one between a UK data center near London and one in Frankfurt. It was protected too; ie two physically separate paths, one via Paris and one via Amsterdam. The cost to the customer was under $6K/month. Within the UK, it would be significantly cheaper. Given the cost to the MOD at large of a lack of recruits entering the pipeline, this is pocket change. At work, we typically stand up something like that in 30 days, if construction is not required.

My money would be on ropey application logic design or implementation, rather than bandwidth.
 
#19
To determine whether it is server load or bandwidth constraints, is trivial for those that have any business being in a data center in the first place. I could name half a dozen site members here off the top of my head that could have the answer within a day as to which it was.

The issue may not be between the applicant and the web server, it may be back-end related, where for example, the applicant is in Scotland, and is served from a web server in Glasgow, but the database and/or processing logic is in (for example) Slough. Or California, for that matter. Depends on the architecture of the solution greatly, but it is far from rocket science, and if the contractor is claiming bandwidth, then that's an easy one to fix. The 500 status code indicates server error, but that could be because the application is unable to get back-end input, due to bandwidth constraints. Or the application logic is made of cheese (more likely).

The going rate for a 10G wavelength or Ethernet link is a few grand a month, unless it's across oceans (unlikely). I recently did one between a UK data center near London and one in Frankfurt. It was protected too; ie two physically separate paths, one via Paris and one via Amsterdam. The cost to the customer was under $6K/month. Within the UK, it would be significantly cheaper. Given the cost to the MOD at large of a lack of recruits entering the pipeline, this is pocket change. At work, we typically stand up something like that in 30 days, if construction is not required.

My money would be on ropey application logic design or implementation, rather than bandwidth.
Good feedback, thank you.

Hopefully the relevant software gurus are already on the ball with this but after a month without any noticeable improvement on the live site, following 5 years development, I remain sceptical at best.
 
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#20
Hi, Not adding a great deal to this thread I'm sure, but as you've asked I'm currently attempting to join the reserves as an ex regular. Tried to register on the website and several weeks later am still awaiting my verification email ( so I can actually start the application!). If I didn't have my years of regular experience in hurry up and waiting to fall back on I could be getting quite frustrated by now lol
Probably worth the standard: Check junk/spam emails, first.

Failing that, we're only just seeing applications filter through after 5 weeks of complete constipation, so it maybe worth logging into the application portal if you have progressed that far, to check status.

If no joy, just give the helpline number a call to verbally check your application status. I think Army applications are a bit behind the other two services due to the fact the process differs and the volume is far greater.
 

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