A Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) review of the Army 2020 plan has seen the Ministry of Defence (MoD) come under fire for lost savings opportunities.
Army 2020 is the Ministry’s transformation plan for the British Army – it includes a large IT recruitment project which is handled by business process outsourcing firm Capita.
The online recruitment portal, once live, is intended to help reduce the size of the regular Army while upping reserves by at least 11,000.
The company and MoD have already been criticised by the National Audit Office (NAO) for “failing to deliver critical ICT infrastructure.”
PAC has now revealed its own concerns, claiming that poor implementation of the IT project is preventing full potential savings from being achieved.
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“The MoD’s bungling around the recruitment contract with Capita has meant at least £70m of planned £267m savings from the contract have already been lost,” claimed PAC chair Margaret Hodge.
“There was no clear understanding of the scale of the recruitment challenge, poor information about potential recruits and the MoD did no provide Capita with the IT infrastructure it needed,” she added.
PAC has recommended that the MoD ensures Capita is held responsible for its performance in delivering the recruitment contact by agreeing an interim performance regime.
The Committee has also criticised the Ministry for the way it handled the NAO enquiry.
“The Department prevented full Parliamentary scrutiny of its Army 2020 plans by withholding timely information from the NAO. This must not happen again,” claimed Hodge.
PAC has told the MoD that it must fulfil its obligations for accountability to Parliament by making all evidence available on time.
The Committee claims that because this was not originally done, it cannot be assured that the Ministry’s planning assumptions are reasonable and based on evidence.