Liam Fox - 'Radical reform' planned for MoD

#2
Of those 85000 civil servants he talks about how many are doing jobs that used to be done by Servicemen and Women but were turned civvy to save cash over the years? Things like admin clerks, chefs, VMs and depth maintenance on equipment? I smell a little bit of spin and playing with numbers here, there can't really be 85000 civvys working in MoD main building.
 
#3
Of those 85000 civil servants he talks about how many are doing jobs that used to be done by Servicemen and Women but were turned civvy to save cash over the years? Things like admin clerks, chefs, VMs and depth maintenance on equipment? I smell a little bit of spin and playing with numbers here, there can't really be 85000 civvys working in MoD main building.
It's a case of kill anything but the welfare budget so workshy will hopefully vote hug a hoodie in again. I fear for the next few years if things arent nice and dandy (heh) for the liberals in all parties. We're but a shell. Bow down to even more masters...
 
#4
But why a speech at the "Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors"? Is this the first indication that a lot of the TACs will be going? Seriously, what's wrong with using RUSI or, god forbid, Parliament for this sort of announcement?
 

Legs

ADC
Book Reviewer
#5
Of those 85000 civil servants he talks about how many are doing jobs that used to be done by Servicemen and Women but were turned civvy to save cash over the years? Things like admin clerks, chefs, VMs and depth maintenance on equipment? I smell a little bit of spin and playing with numbers here, there can't really be 85000 civvys working in MoD main building.
My bold.

Clearly not. But there are MoD sites all around the country. Abbey Wood, Liverpool, other London buildings, plus all those research and development sites, plus all those civvy drivers, mechanics, labourers etc.

I'm sure that with a few reviews of working hours, systems and getting rid of some of the wasterals that it should be easy to trim a few thousand of them.

Of course, this means that less tax is being paid, and more welfare is being paid. Who really wins?
 
S

Snoreador

Guest
#6
Of course, this means that less tax is being paid, and more welfare is being paid. Who really wins?
I pointed this out to a friend yesterday; this public sector reduction, in the hope that the private sector will take up the slack, doesn't really make sense. The reason being that taxation isn't really being reduced by much. So, there is still the same amount going out of each person's pocket, but less of that being spent on public services by govt.; it's not like people are being taxed less and given choice. And don't get me started on the welfare bill: "I'm not working class, I've never had a job!".

Anyway, that's a bit of a digression...
 
#7
There's a lot of spin on everything that is being said - trying to obfuscate by saying there are 85000 civil servants compared to 100000 soldiers, when actually those 85K support all three services.

Having served 33 years and having been a civil servant for the past good few I have seen the replacement of serving personnel by civilianising posts; acted as a line manager for civil servants and woe betide me acted as an award manager for the iniquitous bonus award scheme; and without those drivers, mechanics, accountants, unit admin officer staff, guard service personnel, labourers, stores people and myriad others you are going to be truly fucked - having observed carefully since the announcement of the SDSR, besides it causing needless anxiety, I have identified out of 240 civil servants here a grand total of three that we can probably do without.

A big thing Fox will announce will be decentralisation, so expect the numbers in London to reduce and perhaps spin about losing regional Forces divison, the staff will probably still be there doing important and necessary jobs, they just won't be called 4 Div or 5 Div; 2 Div is probably safe because it is Scotland's Army, but look for mergers of RF Brigades in the South East.
 
#8
But there are MoD sites all around the country. Abbey Wood, Liverpool, other London buildings, plus all those research and development sites, plus all those civvy drivers, mechanics, labourers etc.
That's pretty much my point Legs, the spin here is that all these Civil Servants sit behind desks in London spunking money on flamingo beak soup and swans blood when in actual fact a lot of them do things like driving trucks for less than we would pay a Service person to do it.
 
#9
Yeah!.Lets get rid of all those MOD civies!

What's that Sgt? I've got to sweep the camp roads, empty the bins and do regular gate guard duties now?
 
#10
The total of 85,000 civil servants is often used to portray an image of 85,000 bowler hatted 'Sir Humphreys' lurking in various parts of the MOD, doing nothing and not having a clue about the forces. The reality is somewhat different.

Of those 85,000, several thousand of them are the MOD Guard Service and MPGS. About 2500 of them are the RFA (the Navy store ship crews). About 20,000 of them are industrial workers who do a variety of manual jobs such as dockyard workers, munitions depot technicians, crane operators, warehouse workers etc and all the other technical trades needeed to ensure that the forces get their kit stored and maintained and supported.

The remainder are of a variety of grades, but over half of which work in direct admin support of units across the UK. For instance many people work in small units doing admin jobs, which would otherwise need to be done by already busy forces personnel. They also run the billing side of life, ensuring MOD pays and is paid for its work, and so on. There are several thousand scientists working at DSTL, coming up with lifesaving kit for HERRICK - many people on HERRICK owe their lives to the kit that DSTL bods have come up with.

There is only a very small cadre of traditional 'policy wonk' type civil servants, and these are mostly in London doing intelligence jobs and policy planning jobs. Even there, they work in mixed forces / civvy teams - its extremely rare to find a purely civil servant department in the MOD. Even in London there are less than 2000 MOD civil servants of all grades and roles - and this is decreasing heavily.

The MOD CS also deploys operationally, with Civil servants deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan to fill a variety of roles. At any one time there are around 150 civil servants operationally deployed, and this has been constant now for nearly 10 years. There is a lot more operational experience in the MOD CS than you might think!

One of the reasons why the MOD CS seems so large is because it had a lot of civilianised ex forces posts put into it in the 90s - its a lot cheaper to employ a CS than it is to employ a Forces person, so back in the 90s we put a lot of forces posts into the civilian world. This makes it seem larger than comparing nations - however many of the jobs done here would be done by a forces person in other NATO countries.

My personal predicition is to see a MOD CS of about 65000 all up - thats roughly 20% manpower cuts. It won't save huge amounts in doing so - salaries are far lower than their forces peers, and the wider costs are limited to pension, so you don't save much at all. I'd expect to see the DE&S shafted, bases closed losing their admin staff and possibly some more privatisation.

The question though is what part of Defence do you want the MOD CS to stop supporting and what jobs are YOU willing to do to pick up the workload that will be left when your CS support goes?
 
#11
"But why a speech at the "Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors"? Is this the first indication that a lot of the TACs will be going? Seriously, what's wrong with using RUSI or, god forbid, Parliament for this sort of announcement? "

It is a speech to the RUSI, but they're using RICS for the location - I'm not sure why this is the case, but it could be due to numbers and seating, or maybe RUSI is closed?

This is more of an update - a lot of senior officials gives these sort of talks all the time to RUSI, and as there is no policy announcement, there is no need to give it in Parliament first.
 
#13
Every government department is over staffed except for the MoD?
Something has to give.


My dept has halved it's headcount in 3 years. If I go on leave there is now no one to cover me.
 
#14
I think there's a lot to be done not just in cutting wages bills.

Just one example related to IT - a Central Government Department decides to update and whizz-up all Government Websites to appeal to a younger audience. They employ a specialist company at gazzillions of pounds to do it. They do not however specify any requirements related to security of data. When the specialist company starts contacting all the outsource companies that work for the Government Departments that actually hold the data that's to be processed by this website, they can't have it because it's secure data. Then everyone spends gazillions of pounds arguing whose fault it is, and designing ever more expensive solutions to the problem.

I'm sure everyone working on Government Contracts, not just those related to MOD, can think of other examples.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#15
Why is the speech being held at RICS?

After years around Whitehall, one rule is clear - NEVER believe in conspiracy over cock-up. The speech is undoubtedly taking place there as it was decided upon too late to book anywhere else suitable.

As for the BBC line this morning about civvies being replaced by Servicemen - yes, right, that'll really work, won't it? As pointed out by many others above it's utter nonsense - it would prove inefficcient, expensive, and morale-negative.

What is much more likely is that they will decide to transfver whole swathes of the MOD to private industry - why not have a plc running an Airfield, for example? Or why not privatise most of the DES? I'm not saying it would save any money, but it would reduce MOD headcount drastically - good headline-grabbing stuff. However, I am not expecting too much today - as Dr Fox can hardly anticipate the SDSR, after all, it's not as if any decisions have already been reached or anything, surely?.....
 
#16
Every government department is over staffed except for the MoD?
Something has to give.
My dept has halved it's headcount in 3 years. If I go on leave there is now no one to cover me.
That as maybe SF, but the public purse still cannot pay the bills.
I would rather that £50 billion was taken from health and welfare and the defence budget increased, but as I have no say it isn't going to happen that way.
Every government department is evidently required to take its share of the pain so there isn't any gain in complaining about it, might as well pucker up and help find away to make the cuts in the best way.
The only way to look at this now is that the sooner the cuts are made the sooner this mess can be put right.
 
#17
There are several thousand scientists working at DSTL, coming up with lifesaving kit for HERRICK - many people on HERRICK owe their lives to the kit that DSTL bods have come up with.

I'd expect to see the DE&S shafted, bases closed losing their admin staff and possibly some more privatisation.
Significant cuts in these two will work for few years then it will become clear that they do actually do a vital task.
 
#18
I think it's a case of wait and see, how will they go about reducing the manpower and keeping the operational aspects working. There is the old TUPE way, which might look good on paper, but costs more to the government out of other budgets. I can see DE&S having a few thousand removed and put into industry, of course this means industry will have almost complete control over the project and costs, which will mean that you have to count on industry not to rip you off and do all the work to cost.

DSTL seems to be another place that could be a nice little earner for someone, they already halved it with the QinetiQ sell off (where the MoD got seriously ripped off!) and another slice of that could give more profits to industry, whilst soft charging the MoD even higher rates.

All the unit jobs, such as MGS may well be looked at as being better with the private sector as well, look at the prison service with Group 4 Security, they could well hive this type of work out and hey presto, you lose a couple of thousand civil servants, they'll still be doing the same job on the same wage, but the balance book shuffle will make someone happy as it's off the MoD books for permanent costs.


All in all it's not going to be pretty, they're going to cut the armed forces down, and with that in the past they've tended to hire more CS, as it's cheaper (as Jim30 says), but in this instance they're also going to cut CS, so this time round they are going to have to cut the amount that the armed forces do, there is no other way, sure they'll come out with some trumped up saying like 'cheaper, faster, better', but in reality they'll have to reduce the ability of the MoD down to do that, so expect a few things that we do just now to bite the dust.

It's also interesting to note that the whole training PFI is still being looked at, even though it has now been assessed as being nearly £2 billion more expensive than just staying as we are, there was a lot of grumbles about it reducing the quality and ability of training, but how exactly can they still look at going ahead with this when it'll be more expensive, and a reduced service, oh wait, i think companies like QinetiQ and Sodexho are involved!
 
#19
I think there's a lot to be done not just in cutting wages bills.

Just one example related to IT - a Central Government Department decides to update and whizz-up all Government Websites to appeal to a younger audience. They employ a specialist company at gazzillions of pounds to do it. They do not however specify any requirements related to security of data. When the specialist company starts contacting all the outsource companies that work for the Government Departments that actually hold the data that's to be processed by this website, they can't have it because it's secure data. Then everyone spends gazillions of pounds arguing whose fault it is, and designing ever more expensive solutions to the problem.

I'm sure everyone working on Government Contracts, not just those related to MOD, can think of other examples.

Yanks can be just as bone...Remember the drama with UAV downlinks being discovered as being unencrypted when it seems so blindingly obvious to you or me.
 
#20
Parts of the armed forces will be taking a "capability holiday". Sounds lovely... really relaxing.
 

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