Thankyou Serco

Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by Rotcart_Yob, Dec 14, 2005.

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  1. A massive ARRSE to those 'fantastic' people from Serco for providing the so called 'bar' at last nights otherwise well organised Christmas Bash. When inquiring as to why there was nothing other to drink (that we had to pay for ) than luke warm whiskey or out of date Caffreys even the bar staff admitted "We're only selling stuff we want to get rid of"! How bad is that?
    Still, typical of the 'service' we have come to expect.
  2. I deal with Serco and other Facilities management companies and I can tell you that they are all as bad as each other for providing a service. Basically, a FM Company will get a fixed price per annum to run certain establishments and buildings. What they don't spend they keep. So it's simple maths - spend little and keep profits high.

    I deal with these companies when they take over newly constructed projects and they are as tight as a ducks ar5e. They expect that the main contractor or client pay for maintenence and claim it's because the building wasn't finished properly or items were missed. And when they do start to carry out maintenence the standard of employees is so low that there is an added risk for the client due to incompetence and a lack of basic skills.

    A management company should be just that, but unfortunately many institutions and organisations are not capable of monitoring them or aware of the job they should be doing.

    As for your "cut price party", I bet it wouldn't have happened if the tender was up for renewal!
  3. What a shame you didn't have a good supply of one penny pieces, that way you could have paid them only with the money that you "want to get rid of". They do sound like complete knobbers; I hope you sank enough luke-warm whiskey to numb the pain...
  4. Rotcart, could I suggest that someone makes sure this comes to the attention of the PMC or a mess cttee member? Someone in EUREST will almost certainly have an entertaining conversation with the PMC or COS as a result... (the time that EUREST attempted to introduce plastic glasses to cut down on the cost of buying and washing the real things being a classic case in point - much pain for EUREST as they bought new glasses, diswasher powder, etc and tried to dispose of several thousand plastic glasses).

    It might also be possible to raise a complaint over this via the pages on the JSCSC intranet, and if enough people do it, EUREST will fall into penalty payment territory. Every little piece of crass ineptitude, penny pinching and general low standards should be recorded, since they *do* get hit in the corporate pocket when the complaints mount up. It seems to be that they work on the assumption that few people will bother to complain or will have remembered that they can do this.
  5. Archimedes,
    Many thanks for that - I will pass on your suggestions to the event organiser who I believe is already in the throws of righting a letter of complaint to the PMC. Comforting to know that our complaints do indeed result in actions. Thanks again.
  6. I agree with Archimedes..... . You are the customer - they are the provider. If you accept rubbish from contractors then they will give it to you again and again. Complain to the highest level - it is unacceptable. Make sure the Comdt knows and I would also fire off a personal letter from you to the Director of Eurest giving all the facts, politely and reasonably. This will ensure that the Contract Director pays a tad more attention to these details in future !
  7. From what I've heard in a number of different places, like earwigging chats by management from Catering contractors and the like, these people manage to make a profit by feeding us s**te. Now I'm a NCO with 3 whole bannas to play with, I will be whinging like f**k to the RQ (My ex CSM, ex Balloon Sgt, ex section Cmdr) everytime the food is shite at any site we go to.

    I may not pay for food when I'm away with the TA but that does not excuse being feed shite. I've been fed good and bad food in regular camps (mostly bad in the UK with the exception of 40 RA at Topcliffe) and mostly good in Germany and I know good food is possible. I've even resorted to buying my own food and preping it in my little flats' ultility(?) room cos I kinda don't like chips with everything in the Cookhouse.

    I have heard Pay As You Dine is facing the joys of having to sub these shite catering contractors cos squaddies can now run to the chippe and not lose out on money. Is that true?
  8. Let's not forget why the contract caterers are here in the first place. WE WANTED THEM. Whether it was:

    1. The rank and file, who decided that instead of stumping up a couple of quid straight from their pay packet to pay for 3 meals a day, they wanted to only pay for meals that they chose to eat. Well, you got what you wanted and now you're going to pay even more for a half decent meal, and I bet you still won't use the cookhouse and continue getting stacks of takeaway, bringing them back to camp and chucking the wrappers on the floor and then complaining when you have clean up your own litter.

    2. Officers, who are mostly indifferent about the whole business until PAYD is actually implemented in their Mess, by which time it's too late and they're paying for each slice of toast at afternoon coffee and then grizzling about it.

    3. But above all, we should point the finger straight at all those who have participated in contractual decisions that have given us these 'services' in the first place. MoD or Army, you people have sold us up the river in the name of penny-pinching and efficiency. You have virtually killed off the Chef trade (some may think that's not such a bad thing....) and given cause for complaint for thousands of service personnel, as can be seen above. The Armed Forces are about as busy as they've ever been and there simply isn't time to worry about minor distractions, like catering, when your most so-called most valuable resource is continually being sent overseas to prosecute the political objectives of the government. The least you can do is make sure the domestic arrangements are sorted, especially for the singlies who also have to endure poor accomodation as well.

    Looks like we're stuck with the situation for the time being until someone decides to throw some cash at the problem. Let's face it, these catering companies are not shite - you know they all have five star chefs and hospitality services just check out their websites; it's just that we're not paying for that bit....
  9. Wonderful contribution, Scranspanner! I agree. I have heard some real horror stories about PAYD, and it will be interesting to see how PAYD is viewed in 10 year's time!

    In the meantime, you can change the way the contractors think and act. I have a digital camera that I use to photograph poor examples of cleaning. Then I mail it to the Contract Manager and the Head Honcho and follow up with the monthly contract report. It works - there are 5 more cleaners than there were one year ago.

    The main problem is to do with the drafting of the contract; if that is wrong then we are stuffed, even if the Ministry has saved money!

  10. here goes my two pennies worth. according to a mate of mine who is out in germany at the mo. PAYD is being trialled there and its chucking up all sorts of problems. now as you know if a young soldier has money in his pocket then it will go on drinking copious amounts of swill, paying for a flash new car, new clothes etc, etc, etc.
    the problem comes at the end of the month when the poor young lad is running short of money, now, under the old scheme he knew he was safe in the fact that he had three squares a day to fall back on, with payd that has been withdrawn, so he has to go to the cookhouse and fill out a hungry soldier form (of which i'm told there are hundreds in the in tray). this is then taken from his wages at the end of next month. now surely this would create problems with debt. as the new car and other luxuries still need to be paid for.
    i've not experienced it yet but this is a mounting problem according to my source.

    any comments please
  11. In the earlier part of this year I was lucky enough to experience the PAYD phenomena as it was rolled out in Fally. As I was officially on duty I was entitled to "Core" meals in the mess. This meant every day I had to fill out a form indicating what I wanted the next day. The first day I opted for the salad for lunch. I turned up, sat down and the waitress handed me a plate with the following:

    1. A lettuce leaf
    2. A slice of reconstituted ham (80% water minimum)
    3. Two slices of tomato
    4. Two slices of cucumber
    5. A slice of onion

    I looked at her as if she had just stepped out of the mother ship. Then she informed me that mayonnaise was out of the question because I hadn't indicated it on the sheet the night before. I was then given my one cup of coffee. Instant, in a cup, no water and covered by cling film with my name on it. Oh how I laughed. This B*llocks went on for another two weeks getting progressively worse.

    Now, let us look at a few implications of this "service";

    6. Junior Ranks. As mentioned in an excellent post above, the average Tom will put most of his wages down his neck in the form of amber fluid. Leading to the "hungry soldier" chit syndrome. The three square meals have been reduced to an option in an Excel spreadsheet. The "Schnelly" owners of Northern Germany must be rubbing their hands with glee.

    7. WO's & SNCOs. A little more sense, or so you would think. Same drama for the singlies really, much reduced I must add, but there will be incidences of hardship. Morning Tea and Toast - Faced with the prospect of paying for each individual slice of toast and portion of butter and each cup of tea, and having to order it in advance, there is a likelihood that the morning tea and toast seesions will be forced "underground". Much of the daily business within a Regiment is conducted face to face during this session. If people have to go through the rigmarole imposed by NAAFI it is likely that the simpler option would be to stay in the office or on the Gun Park. Mess Functions. How do you control portions? Do you give the Mess Member a copy of the spreadsheet to take home to his good lady wife and politely ask her to indicate her preferred choice of after dinner mint?

    8. Officers. See 7 above.

    PAYD is a great concept. Only paying for what you eat, seems fair and logical. What is NOT logical however is the portion controls imposed by NAAFI. Having to beg for another cup of coffee, or sachet of ketchup is bl00dy humiliation. An Army marches on its stomach. As long as NAAFI control the boot size. One meal, one price.

    We are being neutered by civilians.

    By the way it sounds like you had a top "do". Lukewarm whiskey and out of date Caffreys. Were the loos busy? 8O
  12. The relentless drive to show "head office" economies and savings in the way we conduct our " business" continues. Forwards to the balanced scorecard!!
    [align=right]Napoleon Bonaparte[/align]

    Well the contract caterers certainly seem to have found the gap between the DLO's 3600 calorie requirement Eat right, be fit to fight and their PAYD scheme.

    Is it suddenly beyond the wit of man to have a standard contract that stipulates

    * minumum calorific value for each meal
    * balance between protein, carbs, fats and fibre
    * minimum amount of hydration that is required
    * range of choices that should be available

    Tea and toast in the Mess may not be specified in ADP 5, but it is an implicit part Army life ( business). Perhaps the Army should also be evaluating it's suppliers on their understanding of their customers' ethos? :evil:
  13. This is turning into a PAYD thread rather than a SERCO one but nevertheless:

    - remember PAYD is to give the soldier more choice as to when, what and how much he eats.

    - the core menu will never be as good as the food system it replaces. Core meals are very basic; if you do not want it, then buy something else. It is your money.

    - the contractor is at risk here. If the food or the choice of food is not good; complain and do something about it. The risk is with the contractor. He will go out business if you eat elsewhere.

    - the salad mentioned above. I agree - ghastly. Complain - they will soon get the message.

    - tea and toast. Some messes under PAYD are reverting back to paying extra messing for these added extras. The cost of providing tea and toast is minimal. If the contractor is not providing then discuss with them and find out how best to do it. If they do not, then bypass them and do it yourself.

    I am not defending PAYD per se and saying it is the best thing since sliced bread (sorry !), however it is a partnership with the contractor and unless it is, we both suffer.
  14. Following as long as they would have me in the services. I spent an almost equivalent amount of time in what is called Facilities Maanagement aka outsourcing aka providing ancillery services. I know nothing of PAYD but a considerable amount about Service Agreements. The would-be contractor maybe given a brief by the company/NH Trust/whatever that sets out what is wanted. The trick is to isolate those items which are costly to implement or supervise. There are long negotiations as to how these might be provided 'innovatively' with knowledge and jargom much on the side of the contractor. The ensuing contract will have acres of ifs and buts and whereases. A service agreement is provided and this is what results in one leaf of lettuce, two segments of tomato etc.
    There is no sense of partnership. The company is a cow and gets milked by the Facilities provider. The company supervisor stands no chance of combining his military knowledge and Sandhurt's finest training against them.
    The Facilities trade is getting its act together as the other side gets more professional at rooting out these abuses/trade practices. If the Army does not improve its act - it will still get shafted.
  15. OldRedCap,

    Wise words and you are right, the military need to get smart here in order to manage the contract properly and ensure that the contractors' feet are held to the fire ! We must get what we pay for.

    The MOD now demand 'open book accounting' so we can see how much profit the contractor is making.

    PAYD or outsourcing has to be a parternership to work properly. We want a service and we are paying for it. The contractor bears the cost of failure. Therefore it is in both of our interests to get it right. If it is going wrong (and it often does), it is normally a breakdown in communications. Also we are bad at representing our soldiers' views. As a nation we are bad at complaining and prefer to keep quiet. I now complain loudly (much to my children's embarassment) in resturants and it certainly bucks them up!

    If the contractor is still not producing then get his director to visit or his directors' boss. Threatening to advertise that Company X is producing a dreadful service in ****** Garrison normally works !!!