What's become of the MoD?

There's lots of reasons why it's all in shitrag.

Prior to moving into our glorious new SLAM upon return from Belize, I lived in the corner of a 6 man room with mould behind my head, mushrooms sprouting in the corners and a damp ceiling.

That wasn't my fault, clearly.

However after a year in SLAM, the kitchen was a ******* midden, the washing machine was broken, there was damage along the walls and the common room was rotten.

That's with the polish birds coming in and 'cleaning' daily.

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.
The picture you paint there is horrible.
In April 1980 I was posted to Kirkee barracks in Colchester. The REME block was a mess. I organised block jobs and inspected them and told the blokes why I was doing that. I had one fight which was not a problem (he was an 18 year old ex brat who the others had got drunk enough, I had three slow beers in town and handled it easy), and kept it up.
6 weeks later Brian, the bloke I had the fight with, called me across in front of every one and said I was right, it was better living like this.
I had no support from the REME management(?) and didn't need it.
An army that fails to keep itself clean and tidy has no chance in the field IMHO.
BTW I despise BS.
BTW again, I recco'd Brian for his first tape 18 months later.
 

SmithSid

Old-Salt
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 bet they had enough money to fly a great big LGBT flag alongside their station / regimental colours though.

That is what has become of the MoD.
 
The picture you paint there is horrible.
In April 1980 I was posted to Kirkee barracks in Colchester. The REME block was a mess. I organised block jobs and inspected them and told the blokes why I was doing that. I had one fight which was not a problem (he was an 18 year old ex brat who the others had got drunk enough, I had three slow beers in town and handled it easy), and kept it up.
6 weeks later Brian, the bloke I had the fight with, called me across in front of every one and said I was right, it was better living like this.
I had no support from the REME management(?) and didn't need it.
An army that fails to keep itself clean and tidy has no chance in the field IMHO.
BTW I despise BS.
BTW again, I recco'd Brian for his first tape 18 months later.
Cool story!
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
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.
There's the standard story (I heard this from lawyers I knew, but it's been repeated by CS over the years): public department has contract meeting, 12+ civil servants in the room with variable areas of responsibility but no overall authority, and no contract lawyers. Private company has 3 lawyers in the room, 1 partner and 2 associates. Partner has total authority. Guess who wipes the floor.

It's been fecking obvious for ages that the answer to this is "hire decent lawyers to draft contracts". The hurdle seems to be fear: CS, Army or whoever are deathly afraid of being seen to hire expensive lawyers and waste money. Partly, this is ridiculous because they consistently hire expensive management consultants who produce dubious practical results. Partly, this is ridiculous because making decisions based on how they look leads to bad decisions, so things go badly wrong, which then looks bad anyway.

The answer has always been simple. Do a test where you compare two departments with similar contract needs. For one conduct business as usual (e.g. CS draft contracts), and the other invest in contract lawyers up front. After the length of the contracts, compare the difference in overall project cost. Hypothesis is that the one with lawyers will end up being cheaper over the long term. If it doesn't, fine: but either way you've evidenced what the right decision is.
 
I have no personal knowledge of the current situation, but I do get the impression that the MoD main effort appears to be directed towards ill-considered and wasteful Grands Projets at the expense of the more mundane, but very necessary, bread-and-butter stuff.
Concur, but the MOD is being directed by HM Government. The premise behind the Defence Estate Optimisation Programme is sound (a reduction in the Estate, to save on utilities, invest more in less etc), but the Estate is broken as a result of decades of neglect and if the Sword of Damacles is hanging over a site subject to closure, there is no will to invest any more in that site - despite the fact there are still SP living (and suffering) on those sites.
The promise of jam tomorrow is all very well, but that doesn’t help the morale of those living through it today.
 
Concur, but the MOD is being directed by HM Government. The premise behind the Defence Estate Optimisation Programme is sound (a reduction in the Estate, to save in utilities etc), but the Estate is broken as a result of decades of neglect and if the Sword of Damacles is hanging over a site subject to closure, there is no will to invest any more in that site - despite the fact there are still SP living (and suffering) on those sites.
The promise of jam tomorrow is all very well, but that doesn’t help the morale of those living through it today.
I'll certainly agree with some of the sentiment you express. Just up the road from my current unit is a unit that has been earmarked for closure towards the end of the next decade. You should see the state of it. Superficially, from a distance, it looks ok, but when you actually look at the state of the working areas, it's pitiful. Peeling paint, broken fittings and fixtures. Clearly, you can see that no one want's to spend a penny more than they have to. Understandable in some ways, but the personnel still have to live and work there. It would be better, for everyone, just to close it now and move the guys away.

However, this doesn't ring true with the unit I opened with. That is not a unit that is going to close. It's a big unit and I was just left in a state of shock as to the state of the infrastructure. You could, and probably need, to chuck money at it to resolve those issues.

It's not as though it's just crept up on us, this is years, and years of chronic under investment and patching up instead of doing the job properly.

We all get that real estate is expensive to hold and maintain, but not maintaining it, in the hope that it'll all be ok, is just foolish in the extreme.

I was embarrassed to be part of an institution that treats its people with such contempt!
 
I'll certainly agree with some of the sentiment you express. Just up the road from my current unit is a unit that has been earmarked for closure towards the end of the next decade. You should see the state of it. Superficially, from a distance, it looks ok, but when you actually look at the state of the working areas, it's pitiful. Peeling paint, broken fittings and fixtures. Clearly, you can see that no one want's to spend a penny more than they have to. Understandable in some ways, but the personnel still have to live and work there. It would be better, for everyone, just to close it now and move the guys away.

However, this doesn't ring true with the unit I opened with. That is not a unit that is going to close. It's a big unit and I was just left in a state of shock as to the state of the infrastructure. You could, and probably need, to chuck money at it to resolve those issues.

It's not as though it's just crept up on us, this is years, and years of chronic under investment and patching up instead of doing the job properly.

We all get that real estate is expensive to hold and maintain, but not maintaining it, in the hope that it'll all be ok, is just foolish in the extreme.

I was embarrassed to be part of an institution that treats its people with such contempt!
Are you prepared to name the site in your OP? Is it Army/Air/Navy/JFC?
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Back in the 1980's when we were in a camp of wooden spiders condemned and abandoned by the RAF in 1965 we had no heating or hot water for a whole winter. They grudgingly paid us substandard accommodation allowance but didnt fix the heating or hot water.
Some things just dont change.
 

Daxx

MIA
Book Reviewer
For me, the worse thing 'they' ever did was bin estate wardens (not sure if they were part of psa). Generally a retired SNCO/WO who knew their patch, made the effort to know the residents and when something needed fixing it happened in hours or days rather than weeks.

Then came Modern Housing Solutions. What a shambles that was and I'll stop at that.
 
Are you prepared to name the site in your OP? Is it Army/Air/Navy/JFC?
Are you prepared to name the site in your OP? Is it Army/Air/Navy/JFC?
Still serving. No names, no pack drill...you know the score. I'd love to name and shame, but I simply cannot/will not. however, it seems to me that this isn't just a single unit at fault, it seems to be systemic, from what I'm seeing and hearing.
 
Still serving. No names, no pack drill...you know the score. I'd love to name and shame, but I simply cannot/will not. however, it seems to me that this isn't just a single unit at fault, it seems to be systemic, from what I'm seeing and hearing.
Still serving myself, so understand. I can PM you, as I’m genuinely interested.
 
Still serving. No names, no pack drill...you know the score. I'd love to name and shame, but I simply cannot/will not. however, it seems to me that this isn't just a single unit at fault, it seems to be systemic, from what I'm seeing and hearing.
Ahh, the 'public employee' tendency to save so much money, you aren't. It's like the spend so much time proving you're efficient that you aren't I suffered through before I was made redundant.

Glad I'm out, to be honest.

Edit : My time was local government, not military. Same disease though.
 
Robertson Barracks in Swanton Morley is a dump, there were not enough new blocks for everyone so some were in an old H block and others in wooden cabins so rotten that one lad went through the floor in the shower room.
 
Robertson Barracks in Swanton Morley is a dump, there were not enough new blocks for everyone so some were in an old H block and others in wooden cabins so rotten that one lad went through the floor in the shower room.
And was presumably then billed for damaging the floor?
 
Normal for any government institution. We used to just change light bulbs ourselves when they went, had a drawer full of them. Now? Raise a ticket, have someone come out and assess the job, return to carry out work.
 

Daxx

MIA
Book Reviewer
I workein n Pompey naval base for a bit. The halogen security light by a pedestrian gate blew. I went to fit a new bulb (The Andrew had a draw full) and was informed I wasn't allowed to and the contractor would come out and do it. I changed it anyway as we needed the light. 4 days later the contractor changed out the fully functioning bulb anyway.......
 
i know of one camp, there was one working shower in the block, the contracter replaced the working one with a new one same company were just about to take CH parts from one block to fix another when the occupents pointed out the block was still being used.
iirc this was the company that worked out it was cheaper not to cut the grass and pay the one off fine
 
We had showers in changing rooms where because the hot water tank was just above them there was insufficient water pressure coming out of the shower head. We knew shower pumps (or pump) needed fitting, the contractor knew that shower pumps (or pump) needed fitting, the result?
The contractor would come round a couple of times a year and clear out the shower heads leaving them just as useless as before......
 

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