Soldiers are cheated in pay blunder

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Weissbier, Dec 9, 2007.

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  1. From The Sunday Times

    December 9, 2007

    Soldiers are cheated in pay blunder

    Michael Smith and Marie Woolf

    THOUSANDS of servicemen and women, including many fighting on the front line, are being underpaid because of failures in a new computerised pay system.

    Some soldiers have gone without full pay for up to five months and, with Christmas only weeks away, are being forced to turn to regiment hardship funds to cover household bills.

    Special forces operating in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as ordinary soldiers have been hit by the fiasco. For some officers, it is costing £580 a month.

    This weekend the Ministry of Defence admitted that more than 16,000 members of the forces were underpaid in August, the latest month for which official data is available.

    Two-thirds of an entire intake of officers who graduated from Sandhurst three years ago are still being paid their junior rank despite being promoted - an underpayment of £19 a day or £580 a month.

    Problems are so widespread that members of the Special Boat Service recently complained about the pay delays to Lord Boyce, the former chief of defence staff, when he visited them on the front line in Afghanistan.

    One officer recently back from Iraq said that while he and his friends from the Army Staff College had all been promoted to captain, many were still being paid as lieutenants months later.

    “I haven’t been paid properly for months and two-thirds of the officers I graduated with from Sandhurst are in the same boat,” the officer said. “I can’t tell you the full scale of it but from my experience it is chaos. There are lots of soldiers not being paid properly and units are having to dig into hardship funds to help their wives pay the gas bill.”

    It is not only full-time soldiers but also reservists who have been affected. The chaos is such that thousands of soldiers have also been overpaid, with the money having to be clawed back. Many have spent the money unaware that they would have to repay it, leaving them short of money. According to the MoD, a total of 38,529 were wrongly paid between April and August, the only months for which the ministry has full figures.

    The computer system, known as Joint Personnel Administration (JPA), was introduced in March last year in the Royal Navy and saw a flood of complaints from sailors not being paid their full pay. The RAF was taken on to the system in October last year, followed by the Army in April this year. The £250m system was implemented by EDS, which was widely criticised for its computerisation of the Child Support Agency.

    One of the key problems with the system is that it requires senior officers to log in to authorise payments, which means that if they are away on operations, the whole procedure grinds to a halt. “The system is based on the design for a civilian pay system and takes no account of the complexities of the armed forces pay system,” one officer said.

    The MoD, however, denied that the need for officers to authorise payments was a factor but admitted there had been errors. “As with anything new, a degree of unfamiliarity with both the system and the proc-esses which support JPA has led to input errors, which in turn has affected pay accuracy,” a spokesman said.

    Meanwhile, Gordon Brown was embroiled in a fresh spin row over his claim in October that 1,000 British troops would be home by Christmas, as it emerged that since the beginning of September the number of troops in Iraq has been reduced by only 120.
  2. Are you sure this is from todays paper? It was posted on here a good 2-3 weeks ago.
  3. The only way to resolve something like this, short of shootine selective MPs, is to link their pay to the MOD then see how THEY like getting 50% reduction to pay their wine/bar bill in the Commons.

    We might get some response then. If this was a civvie firm they would have downed tools after the first month, never mind 6. It's the usual thing that forces, and to be fair, Civil Servants (in the lower grades) don't feature in the scheme of things when it comes to pay.

    Mind you, as seen above get OVERPAID and they are soon after you.

    Situation Normal........
  4. Not yet 8O - a whole month's pay instead of the first 5 (PTL) days & my op pay - post-Telic - reported to unit and RTMC admin - de nada heard for 2 months so far. Even the rabid skunks seem to have been defanged by the JPA debacle. Who'd have thought it?
  5. For those who didn't already know, Michael Smith of the Times is 'one of us'

    The former Int Corps SNCO, and highly respected investigative journalist, posts on here as micksmith.

    His Blog is a good read from time to time:

    The torygraph covered JPA a coupla weeks back - but it didn't make their front page.

    Well done Mick.
  6. What he said.
  7. JPA still dragging on took me 6 months to get my Feb pay and that was despite direct phoning JPA cough cough 'helpline' and being told a supervisor would phone me back in 10 days with an answer to my queery (what queery no sodding pay) never did get a phone call got the money when told them my MP was taking the matter up 'money went in next day'
  8. Click Here for C in C Land pat on the back.

    And I quote ~ "Customer Quote: “Given the size and complexity of the JPA programme, it is remarkable that we have implemented it so smoothly”. What bloody idiot said this?
  9. i think jpa is just out for us to buy new kit with our own cash i got ripped off this month got to go in and see the rao tomorrow to get it sorted.
  10. I know people in the TA who have not seen pay since JPA was introduced, no wonder that the TA is (apparently) having trouble retaining people.
  11. Some here will understand that journalism is an unpredictable career, and some journalists do not display much integrity. People like Smith are rare and should be supported. After all, he's done sterling work in exposing many of the more scandalous treatments of the military - and I'd guess that has sometimes been difficult professionally for him.

    As most will know, MoD reacts pretty rapidly to external scrutiny and comment. Decent and respected journalists can do much to help make changes.
  12. As if that wasnt bad enough, have a look at :

    "MOD civilians who were short-listed for prizes in the annual Whitehall Civil Service Awards for the support they give the Armed Forces have been honoured at a reception in MOD's Head Office in London."

    "and the Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) project team, led by Mike Robinson (shortlisted for both the Technology and Project Programme Management Awards)."

    You couldnt make it up !!!
  13. For some reason they're proud that: "Already handling 20,000 calls weekly, with average call waiting times under 10 seconds "

    IMHO any system that is getting that number of queries is seriously flawed.
  14. It was also in the Telegraph today