What's become of the MoD?

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I occasionally visit MOD establishments and they all look Eastern European these days. Dog-eared, un-loved, grim (RMAS, I have to say, looks rather smart still when I visited it about a year ago).

I was Customer One for MOD (not PFI) funded SLAM almost 13 years ago. I've repeated numerous times the story of how some of the new blocks were poorly managed by Garrison staff who stripped out the new furniture and white goods (and bike sheds) for use 'elsewhere' and then squeezed bunks into the rooms and turned the common rooms into other bunkrooms. The kitchens and laundries stripped of everything because of competition complaints from the catering contractors...I could go on, but I find it frankly depressing. Added to that, new-builds have short design lives and look like some sh!t shopping park on the outskirts of Swindon, and lack any architectural merit.

Much of the technical infrastructure for new platforms (Voyager, C17, F-35) is largely built by the manufacturer, with virtually no input from DIO and a bit from the customer (such as where the tea bar should be). Also see comment on lack of architectural merit.

I visited a still-serving mate of mine who is in officers' quarters near London. One in three houses is abandoned, the estate is overgrown, the footpaths and driveways are broken, the houses have leaky roofs, ancient heating systems and ill-fitting and bloomed double glazing. Most garages are unusable. They had to wait 7 weeks for a condemned gas hob to be replaced and in frustration they bought one for £80 and had a Gas Safe qualified friend install it. Amey hit the roof when they eventually turned up (after various cancelled appointments) and DIO threatened to take legal action against the occupants. The hob that the Amey subbie installed was from...B&Q and identical to the one my friend had put it. His wife has followed up with a complaint to their MP and a Ministerial letter confirms that the house was not of habitable standard; funny old thing, a week later DIO contacted them and have conducted a housing survey and are going to re-mediate all the points. Quelle surprise! Meanwhile DIO claimed in defence that they had been offered and refused another SFA but a FOI request has failed to provide any evidence and the finger points to the 1* Hd of Accommodation for telling porkies. She has apparently received a Royal bollocking (for getting caught out) and that's her career finished.

DIO is not fit for purpose; many of the staff have no professional experience in the built environment; most of the professionals were TUPE'd out in the 1990s when PSA melted away. I shudder to think what the value of the bow-wave of unfunded property maintenance is, but I would assess as being over £1 Bn.
 
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Same old MoD, the twats will spend £1000 off of one budget to save £10 off of another then claim they've got a good result for the tax payer. The same cretins that sign contracts that allow the contractor to fine units, the same utter shitwits that sign maintenance contracts resulting in broken infrastructure being inspected over and again instead of being repaired or replaced.
They're pikey employers with pikey working practices, untrustworthy and completely incompetent.......
 
I watched various DIO "experts" turn up to review prospective work on a area i was working. Tender drawn up. Put out to industry. Industry then come out to do site visits. I then happen to be in the same area on the visits....amazingly. I chat to them and they are astounded that DIO in the tender directed this method of work to be carried out. Funnily enough they agreed with my method which would of been less intrusive on the installation, quicker to carry out and low and behold cheaper. Whilst they were happy to do what DIO want, they also told me that due to where the work was to take place, the cheaper option would of been more preferable and easier for them to do. But hey, DIO remember didnt have SME experts on the area of operations they were managing.
 
The SLAM got into a state because of us. I kept my room tight and never ventured near the kitchen, because I didn't want to be associated with all of it - and there was no way of gripping the lads responsible because no-one actually gave a ****.
When I was block Cpl I found gripping scroatbags around the throat to be very effective.
 
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When I was block Cpl I found gripping scroatbags around the throat to be very effective.
With one or two hands? If one hand, you can use the other to deliver a punch to the abdomen to reinforce positive behaviour. So I understand.
 
"I think we will save money by subbing out the work to civilian contractors............................."

Lets face it, it's not like it's institutionalised throughout government or councils....................

No accountability for the waste of our money.

!stnuc
 
OK, I've been in a bit. When I joined up we had a Cold War and a wall across Germany.

The accommodation was pretty poor, even then, but I used to look at some of the stuff that was coming out of the Eastern Bloc and laugh. Dire food, poor pay, living accommodation that was awful..you get my drift?

I think that what brought it home to me was a visit to a, not even a minor, station in the last few weeks.

No heating in the blocks, no hot water, kitchens in messes closed as they have failed and there isn't the money to fix them. Thankfully I was only there for a few days, but I was at a loss for words at how the infrastructure has just failed. The block I was accommodated in was like something out of the 50's. Sockets actually hanging off the wall, tiles off, mouldy showers. The block opposite even had an old sofa and a fridge dumped outside, and by the look of them they had been there a lot longer than a few weeks.

I'm afraid that I genuinely wondered if I'd wandered into some old Soviet time warp?

As there was no heating or hot water, many rooms had been supplied with electric heaters (or the guys had gone out to buy them themselves, more likely). On my second day there was a TRIAD alert. How much did all those electric fires burning away cost on the fuel bill for that unit?

I'm just at a loss at to what has happened to our basic infrastructure. I knew things were bad, but not that bad.

I understand that PMTM has ordered an enquiry into why so many are leaving the forces...perhaps she should go and spend a few nights on one or two units, it might give her a clue!
I suspect you are talking RAF. For that service I would make three comments, 1. No one ever made a great career out of property management and what it was before, no steely eyed, thrusting O i/c Bogs and Drains 2. Personnel branch people who get these jobs have no training or background in building or property 3. The RAF finished WW2 with a fantastic legacy of excellent camps, 1936 - 39 Expansion Scheme (think South Cerney, Little Ris, Waddington and Scampton the list goes on), this led to complacency and over time they were allowed to run down and lacked investment, there were so many, that when outlay was needed they were just closed, also a grateful Army took some on. So this mindset continues. I would suspect the master plan is, in the long term, there will be no service accommodation single or married and personnel will have to make their own arrangements in the camp area as some smaller European forces do already. Just some sort of all ranks diner for meals will be provided on base?
 
Three points:

PSA were one of my good customers in the 1980s. The company I worked for had a fleet of vacuum tankers and we used to do interceptor cleaning and spill response. The contract covered our rapid emergency response to any accidental spills, like the time that some Crab pillock hit the drop tank switch instead of the cigar lighter and a couple of large drop tanks full of AVTUR bounced along the runway at Upper Heyford. We had 3 tankers and 6 men rostered within an hour and on their way (our base was Newbury). Sensible contract, well written. My understanding is that the current contract is more complicated and that the RPC now adds 30-50% to the cost of the cleanup for "administration".

As stated previously, RPCs are in it for the profit and will exploit every loophole and overcharging opportunity that they can. No sh!t Sherlock. The RPC will also sub-sub-sub-contract stuff out. I recently visited a base in the SE, where Amey subbed my job out to their subbie, who then gave the work to a 3rd level subbie to facilitate me complete my survey. Each of these 3 companies will be making a profit on the job.

MOD / DIO / Scabby Wood can't write a contract to save their lives. From bitter experience. So, a change of light bulb now requires a call-out charge as in the contract as it's non-routine maintenance. Call-out charge is typically £79 minimum. Change of e.g. white goods requires a supplier approved by MOD and the RPC.

Etc etc. Almost everyone I know old enough to remember wants PSA back.
 
What doesnt help is having Contractors who do "Facility Management" who then think they can do construction and engineering. They themselves then struggle due to the fact they didnt recruit the right caliber and experienced personnel involved in those 2 disciplines. Of course far from it for me to mention who i specifically maybe going on about!
 
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2. Personnel branch people who get these jobs have no training or background in building or property
Absolutely true. In what other areas in the RAF would completely untrained and inexperienced amateurs make decisions costing many millions of pounds? Apart from MOD 'Commercial' officers who, again, have no real-world experience. Perhaps we shouldn't answer that.
 
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Almost everyone I know old enough to remember wants PSA back.
They came in for a lot of criticism at the time eg:"People Standing Around" etc...but PSA provided a full architectural design and build service, with project management and facilities management on estates that they knew - and on the RAF estate, used to actively take part in TACEVALS doing RES (restoration of essential services). They maintained very accurate archives and drawings - all of which was abandoned when the new construct of WSM and EWCs were established c 1993. Staff continued to be TUPE'd across subsequent contracts or took lucrative redundancy, and with them, decades of corporate knowledge. The Directly Employed Labour (DEL) used to be criticised, but they were the guys who could fire up the standby generators, knew how to restore power to the airfield lighting, and could locate all the isolation valves across hundreds of acres of estate. And maintained the records.
 
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So what went wrong there?

Squaddies are for the most part, ******* animals. Live, eat and sleep like animals. Many came from their mammies apron strings and so never learned to look after themselves, and the short time it's enforced in basic isn't enough to break years of habit.

Lack of block inspections, lack of working parties, lack of general discipline in the SLAM led to the place being a ******* tip. You'd have the lad who was drinking and pissing his bed every night, smoking in his room with the fire alarm covered. You'd have the lad who'd cook food and abandon the mess behind him in the kitchen. You'd have the lad who'd sling CS95 into the machine without actually getting all the caked in dirt and mud out of it.

The SLAM got into a state because of us. I kept my room tight and never ventured near the kitchen, because I didn't want to be associated with all of it - and there was no way of gripping the lads responsible because no-one actually gave a ****.

So yes, lots of institutional failings, but we also seem to forget the basics of keeping our accommodation on the line and the Regimental personalities, including the QM, don't seem to give a shit about addressing it.
With the exception of the last paragraph your post sounds like stuff I saw in the 70s and 80s.


Reading this and other threads makes me glad I did my time when I did.
How the mighty have fallen.
Amen.
 
Three points:

PSA were one of my good customers in the 1980s. The company I worked for had a fleet of vacuum tankers and we used to do interceptor cleaning and spill response. The contract covered our rapid emergency response to any accidental spills, like the time that some Crab pillock hit the drop tank switch instead of the cigar lighter and a couple of large drop tanks full of AVTUR bounced along the runway at Upper Heyford. We had 3 tankers and 6 men rostered within an hour and on their way (our base was Newbury). Sensible contract, well written. My understanding is that the current contract is more complicated and that the RPC now adds 30-50% to the cost of the cleanup for "administration".

As stated previously, RPCs are in it for the profit and will exploit every loophole and overcharging opportunity that they can. No sh!t Sherlock. The RPC will also sub-sub-sub-contract stuff out. I recently visited a base in the SE, where Amey subbed my job out to their subbie, who then gave the work to a 3rd level subbie to escort me round site. Each of these 3 companies will be making a profit on the job.

MOD / DIO / Scabby Wood can't write a contract to save their lives. From bitter experience. So, a change of light bulb now requires a call-out charge as in the contract as it's non-routine maintenance. Call-out charge is typically £79 minimum. Change of e.g. white goods requires a supplier approved by MOD and the RPC.

Etc etc. Almost everyone I know old enough to remember wants PSA back.
Funny you should mention interceptor cleaning. There is no way the following goes on(!!!). Remote site that has military personnel running a refuelling area. Interceptor fitted, all good to go. In the contract there is a requirement to "check the interceptors for product". This has to be done weekly. Now in the place in question, this could be done by the mil themselves as if any product got in, they would of known about it due to the system employed (nothing below ground, small pipes, few big tanks). But....this remote site requires travelling by air. Time it takes to check interceptor.....5 mins. Time to get there, check interceptor, come back......5 hours 5 mins!! Does the Contractor want to propose a more efficient way of doing it? Does he hell (££££££££)
The trouble is because the mentality of the MOD and military themselves now is "broken plug, light, door hinge, nut&bolt? Ahh dont worry put a works request in and the contractor will fix it" the skill sets of being able to fix things that 10 or 20 years ago a soldier can do is being eroded.
When i was serving i went to this location and in the back of the office was a big tool kit for low level fixing things. Went back there last year as a stinking civvy and the lads were saying that they are not allowed to touch anything now.
 
This is largely common across all government departments and local councils. Our business centre is council owned and all of our maintenance is done by Engie (GDF Suez). Whilst they are ok at changing light bulbs and basic stuff, other jobs are hived out to sub-contractors e.g. all PAT testing was recently done by a local electrical company on sub-contract to Engie.

We have had some issues with one of the locks. We've been told that this will take 3-6 weeks as a specialist locksmith will be required. There are a dozen locksmiths within a 10 mile radius, all of whom are perfectly capable of doing the job. But we have to have an "approved" contractor, who will have to jump through hoops to qualify and thereby increase their charges.
 
RFCA's are pretty good at spending their budget on themselves, they take self interest to whole new levels.......
 
Then there's this kind of shite.

"The Sustainable MOD & Energy Steering Group sponsors the Strategy across the business, and oversees its delivery. The Steering Group supports DG HOCS and DCDS Mil Cap in executing responsibilities associated with the Sustainability agenda for the MOD. This includes driving change, setting standards and providing assurance to PUS through the Holding to Account processes.

Membership of the Steering Group is drawn from the sustainability champions within each TLB and
ALB, who champion sustainability issues at the TLB/ALB management board. Established in 2007, the Sustainability champions act as leaders and ambassadors for Sustainability within their organisations and, as such, can make a significant contribution to changing behaviours.

The Steering Group is supported by a number of working groups, including the Sustainable MOD Working Group, Energy Programme Board, Sustainable ICT Working Group, Sustainable Procurement Working Group, and Waste Working Group."

Drawn from this bigger pile of shite:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/498482/Sustainable_MOD_Strategy_2015-2025.pdf

Can't we have someone like Mike Jackson to look at it and say "WTF is this nonsense. Fcuk off and write it again in English so that a Private or AB can read it, understand both what it's going do do for them and what their part in it is".
 
Oh, and the contractor buys the bulbs from Screwfix on his way to the job for a quid, and charges two quid when he's marked it up. Instead of MoD being able to say "Hello Mr Osram, we will need 450,000 lightbulbs this coming year, based on prior usage. Philips has quoted us £225,000 for them. If you can do it for £200,000, the business is yours. We just need them delivered to Bicester or Donnington, we have a worldwide distribution system that can deliver a tank engine or a lightbulb anywhere in the world, same day, if absolutely required. Won't be a big deal to put an extra box of lightbulbs on routine demands."
Yeah, but Philips is better than Osram. Not that I might, at some point, have been working for a company with an interest in, say, lighting products.

Over 25 years ago, and I still remember CCR. I'm such a sad act!
 

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