The minister of state for the Armed Forces has told Parliament that Capita’s Defence Recruiting System (DRS) has had “glitches”, amid reports that applications to join the military in the last few months have been lost.
The problem is thought to be so severe that for the months of November and December last year few if any applications are thought to have been successfully processed resulting in a recruitment black hole.
During Defence Questions yesterday, Labour MP Nia Griffiths asked what steps the Ministry of Defence had taken to sort out problems which had all but halted recruitment for the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy in December last year.
“Capita is failing miserably on recruitment targets, failing to deliver savings, and is still bungling its IT systems. So what specific steps will the minister be taking to get to grips with this situation?” asked Griffiths.
Mark Lancaster MP, minister of state for the Armed Forces and a serving officer in the Army Reserves, answered: “There is continuing work when it comes to recruiting in the Army. Compared to this period last year applications are up 20 per cent, there have been some glitches in the new computer system, those are being ironed out but I’m confident they will see recruiting in the army increasing.”
Applications for potential recruits who applied online were lost resulting in staff from the Armed Forces Careers Offices (AFCO) having to call back hundreds of frustrated individuals and re-enter their information into the system.
And people have been taking to twitter to vent their frustrations.
Im not sure the MOD have pitched this new 1.6 million pound recruitment campaign to the correct audience. The recruitment NEEDS to be better. And the contract with Capita needs to benefit us as an organisation better!! It currently isnt in my eyes.
— Dean (@pez_44) January 10, 2018
Totally agree that these adverts are distracting from the real issue right now, defence cuts. But is it any wonder the adverts are so bad, outsourcing to such an incompetent and out of touch company as Capita? Had 1st hand experience during my recruitment with the navy #shocking
— Nick Leaman (@NickJLeaman) January 10, 2018
Other notable revelations from Defence Questions included the snippet that the UK is still buying nine Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft, in spite of looming defence cuts necessary to plug a £20bn black hole in the MoD’s finances.
Though ministers, including Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, insisted that no decisions had yet been taken, defence watchers expect a full scale defence review will take place this year. That review is expected to decide what bits of the Armed Forces (and MoD land holdings) will be cut and/or flogged off to plug the budget hole.