Military Covenant - Conservative Partys interim report

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by thingy, Jun 17, 2008.

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  1. Liam Fox (Shadow Defence Secretary) and the author Frederick Forsyth will be publishing the interim Report of a Conservative party commission investigating the health (or otherwise) of the Military Covenant.

    Summary of interim proposals on BBC Online: 17 June 08

    Further information available in the Daily Telegraph: 17 June 08

    Copy of interim report (in MS Word format) available at:

    For the views of matelots on this topic see Rum Ration below:
  2. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    A surprisingly mealy-mouthed document in my view, which completely ignores the huge elephant sitting, farting menacingly, in the entrance hall to Main Building: underfunding. What the Tories need to promise is a full-on Strategic Defence Review together with a commitment to fully fund its findings. Tinkering around in the existing budgets won't work.
  3. I think Tory penny pinching could actually be what we need in some respects.

    Imagine how good it will be if we stop paying two or three times the going rate for our kit. Some of it might be slightly lower quality, but at least you’ll get it (mainly helicopters) and you might even get three times as many!

    I know the world doesn’t work like that, but I can dream cant I?
  4. Nobody within military circles has said the military covenant is broken"
    Ministry of Defence spokesman

    I'm starting to wonder if the bolsheviks had a point ?
  5. Have a look at the provisional recommendations, not just the ones the BBC chose to focus on. Does the second answer your concern?
    The last one could be particularly interesting.
  6. "• The Commission recommends that there should be a comprehensive review of the administrative efficiency and effectiveness of the Ministry of Defence with a view to ensuring that decision making and business processes match best practice in organisations of comparable size and complexity. We anticipate savings. "

    Define administrative efficiency - do you mean clerks doing admin work, or do you mean staff officers doing all the work that needs to keep Defence going? Admin clerks are a dying breed - MB is shedding them by the hundreds (quite literally), and hopefully many of the currently underemployed service clerks there will be redeployed (thinking of a directorate which has 9 clerks to support 20 odd desk officers - almost all military and which has little for them to do as an example).

    If you mean the staff officers, then you need time to create an HQ structure which is broadly stable and which gives time for it to bed down and work, rather than cutting for cuttings sake. Streamlining is a classic example of where ostensible savings are being lost in the desire to create new ideas, none of which will get time to bed in before the posts created are either offered up or lost in another review. Lets try and have a stable structure for 4 - 5 years perhaps?
  8. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    That isn't a commitment to a strategic defence review, that's an aspiration to hold a regular manpower review which is a very different beast.
  9. Looks good to me. In particular the healthcare/rehab/WP stuff.

    There is still time to rescue Haslar.
  10. I take your point Jim, and this is a somewhat simplistic example but financially similar. In my last job in service we determined the requirement for a new training aid - a cutaway Rolls Royce engine, I personally wrote 3 business cases for that training aid, they went through my chain of command, then IPT a Defence Estates chain of command (installation) and I was told no 3 times, despite constant complaints from the technicians we were trying to train that they had no visual representation of what they needed to understand. Finally I was given the opportunity to bid for an underspend ( a friend gave me a nudge and a wink) again we went through the administration nightmare that is staffing to be told yes - total cost £23k + 3 years.

    I'm a civvy now, one of our regional account managers recently told me that a company we represent need to develop a training programme, I listened to his proposal, established that there was a need, wrote a project summary and forwarded this to my director, the same day I got a phone call asking if my rough order of costs was within 50%, once confirmed I established the contractor most capable of developing the course and wrote a contract. The company are looking forward to piloting the course in September- total cost £23k + plus 3 days of effort from people who have the financial authority to do their job.

    In the real world authority and responsibility fall down to the most suitable level, in MoD they climb upwards in a chaotic ladder of mis-communication, misunderstanding, control and self importance. They climb so high in fact that often (not always) the people making the decisions are so detached from its repurcussions that they then have to play the silly question game.

    I'm sure if someone who works in any part of the MoD sat down and thought about it, there are considerable savings to be made in both time and finance even if that only involved removing some levels of bureaucracy it would be a good thing.
  11. Fair point. I stand corrected.
  12. People in glass houses should not throw stones, who shut the BMHs, who carried defence review after defence review every single one led to cuts. Options for Change 1,2,3 and 4(AMS only). Yes in the late 70s and early 80 we were Maggies boys, how things changed, the cause of problems today are decisions made then.
  13. Uh, no, the cause of problems today are decisions made in 1998, AFTER labour got in, you can't blame the tories when all the cuts have been while they've been out of power and all the procurements coming in now were signed off before the elections

  14. Were you paying attention in the late 80s and the 90s, up to May 1997?
  15. The evil Tories are not the only cause but they did their bit. The question is when they get into power will they reverse any of the bad decisions made now. The answer is no they too will have to balance the books and the MOD are always a safe bet for a cut, it is easy to stand on the outside and criticise, ask them for policy commitments and watch them squirm.

    Procurement has many problems most of them are the naivety of the civil service in the lack of attention to detail in specification and contracts for new equipment. They all believe that the Defence Industry will not try to pull a flanker with contracts, and we all know they will, “you asked for a box we gave you box now you say how big the box should be, yes we can make the box but it will cost you. We made the box to the size you asked now you want to specify the colour, yes we can make it but it will cost you”. How many times should this allowed to happen before we get the message and develop an more robust procurement system?