Capita and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation

Capita has been named as preferred bidder to become the Defence Infrastructure Organisations ‘business partner’, worth about £400m

It has been reported that the Capita consortium, which included PA Consulting and (URS) will save the MoD over £300m pa, this is a large amount of money that would have impacted other outputs so most definitely an important contract.

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://www.capita.co.uk/news-and-opinion/news/2014/preferred-bidder-for-dio-strategic-partnership.aspx”]

I have been following this story since 2011 because of the whiff of revolving doors between the MoD and Industry’

Capita appointed Vice Admiral Tim Laurence, the former Chief Executive of Defence Estates, as non executive director of Capita Symonds.

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2011/05/revolving-doors-again/”]

In 2012 they were short-listed

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/08/nothing-to-see-hear-move-along-now/”]

With the obvious Royal connection this story is likely to get interesting.

Capita is of course, the organisation infamous for the Army recruiting fiasco and for allowing the Register to use the term ‘spaffed’ in one of their headlines (for that, we are are truly in their debt!)

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/01/14/army_online_recruitment_computer_system_flawed_millions_wasted/”]

 

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Chris.B.
March 17, 2014 2:33 pm

At this stage I’m amazed anyone allows Capita to handle anything more complex than making a bacon roll, such is their history across departments and private industry for monumental fuck ups. Their company has basically become a dictionary definition for “failure to deliver”.

Derek
Derek
March 17, 2014 2:38 pm

I am constantly amazed that the majority of British people seem to be either perfectly comfortable with, or far too timid to engage, the outright self-serving corruption and nepotism of the British ruling class. The vast majority of UK politicians are only interested in lining their own pockets and the pockets of their nearest and dearest and the civil service is overpaid, over-pensioned and consistently under-performing. All in a country that barely qualifies for the definition of democracy.

Oh well, move along.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
March 17, 2014 3:01 pm

Capita – “Born out of the Privatisation Mania that drove the Thatcher Years, and systematically undermining Public Service Values ever since…”

Could almost be a mission statement…in my opinion.

GNB

Observer
Observer
March 17, 2014 3:11 pm

Derek, your targeting system needs to be refined a bit. The money didn’t go into a politician’s pocket, so it is not corruption. Ineptness though….

Or it could just be a flaw of the system. What system? The British one? Nay. The corporate one of awarding the contract to the lowest bidder. That one happens to be universal. Bidding may sound all well and good, but sometimes there is a reason someone can bid extremely low, and in some cases, paying more up front for quality saves things like these expensive fixes.

And can the US be said to be a democracy? It’s all the same old families and cliques and you only got an “either/or” selection. And don’t even get me started on big company “election donations” and the origin of the term gerrymandering.

Paul R
Paul R
March 17, 2014 3:12 pm

Its amazing how these companies take on ex ministers and civil servants who either played a role in the outsourcing or use to the run the bit being out sourced. it asks the question, if they couldn’t do it while they were there, then why now?

Derek
Derek
March 17, 2014 3:23 pm

Observer,

The money did not go to a serving politician, key distinction. And don’t get dcarried away, its best to check party donations first.

Re Democracy, absolutely. The UK has one general election every five years which determines MPs for the house of commons whilst the House of Lords is currently stuffed with nearly 1,000 political appointees. Meanwhile the state owns the majority of the Broadcast media and laws exist to ensure its “impartiality” whilst there are ongoing efforts to regulate the print media too.

By contrast, in the US there are separate elections for the Senate and House of Representatives and for the President. The constitution provides strict protection for the media and free speech. Many states take democracy even further with frequent ballot initiatives. The so-called democracy that exists in the UK is a pale imitation of this.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
March 17, 2014 3:28 pm

@Observer – Quite right – the issue here is the failure to honour and maintain traditional public sector values in the determined and ideologically conditioned certainty that PRIVATE SECTOR solutions are always cheaper, cleverer and more efficient…the corruption is of the intellectual sort that refuses to countenance the possibility that a previous generation of the political class were absolutely wrong about how to manage the business of government…however compelling the evidence.

Both sides equally guilty, and Labour probably worse because having decided in 1945 to deliver the Beveridge Report by Government Fiat and National Bureaucratic Planning they set about turning the whole business (especially the NHS) into a state religion that would tolerate no heretics…add to that the wild-eyed fanatics of the Church of Limitless Privatisation, inspired by the Holy Saint Margaret and it’s no wonder we are spending so much cash to so little useful effect, beyond enriching the Shareholders of Capita, G4S A4E and the rest.

But corrupt and undemocratic in the normal sense, not so much…ask anyone living or trading in Russia, China or India…or indeed the developing world hell-hole of your choice…

GNB

Observer
Observer
March 17, 2014 3:48 pm

GNB, my hellhole of choice would be the US.

Sorry, couldn’t help it. :P

Derek, “my democracy is better than your democracy” is a stupid game to be playing.

And the US really isn’t in a good position to be critical of other country’s political appointees considering that the whole of Congress is staffed with political appointees of one of the two factions.

I’m neither an American nor British, so I’m not supporting either side when I say that trying to play “democratic” one up-manship sounds and is absolutely ridiculous, even more so in the light of individual country’s history and local circumstances. There is no “democrato-meter” to measure individual laws and incentives and safeguards with points, democracy is a system, not a scorecard and the means to an end (good governance), not the end itself.

Derek
Derek
March 17, 2014 3:56 pm

Who said its my democracy? I simply admire it for being an actual democracy, unlike what passes for democracy in the UK.

By the way, political parties in the US generally elect their candidates through primaries- a far more democratic process than the appointments that are undertaken in the UK. You see, when you actually look into it its obvious that the US has an actual democracy and the UK does not.

Observer
Observer
March 17, 2014 4:06 pm

Yeah Derek, I must have missed the memo informing me that the UK is actually a monarchy. You would call it a dictatorship. Chancellor Elizabeth the Second….

Hey guys, you don’t have an actual democracy, so you were just killing trees when you went to vote.

Derek
Derek
March 17, 2014 4:20 pm

Observer,

Hardly a monarchy, the UKs political structure is far closer to kleptocracy. A quick look round the world demonstrates that the odd election does not demonstrate the presence of a healthy democracy.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
March 17, 2014 4:55 pm

@Derek – The PM who most obviously grew rich in consequence of elected office is Charles Antony Lynton Blair, and he did so with the help of a very well-paid wife who was a shrewd investor especially in property…if I chose to do so I could investigate in some detail exactly how much money he has and how he got it…and I am completely certain that if any of it was seriously suspect everybody from the BBC to the Daily Mail would be after him; furthermore if I was enough of a self-publicist I could attempt a “Citizens Arrest” on him in the reasonable confidence that he would laugh it off, his very necessary bodyguards would show commendable restraint, and I would get my fifteen minutes of fame on the TV Channel of my choice; that is because the UK is, however imperfect, a Democracy.

Having lived there, I wouldn’t fancy your chances of trying the Citizen’s Arrest stunt on the POTUS or one of his predecessors…and that too is a Democracy of a rather different sort.

Try it in a serious Kleptocracy, like Russia or China…and you are going to be consuming a radio-active meal in the hiding place of your choice in no short order…you are, as we say in these parts, talking tripe…

GNB

Derek
Derek
March 17, 2014 5:03 pm

GNB,

Being able to perform an insignificant publicity stunt does not make a democracy.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
March 17, 2014 5:19 pm

Indeed not, but being able to carry out said stunt without a serious fear of imprisonment, disappearance or death is certainly one component of one…as is the opportunity to elect local councillors and then go and shout at them in public…or MPs ditto…or MEPs ditto…and expect a patient and courteous hearing as opposed to a beating or a bullet…and indeed where if you really want to you can join the political party of your choice – or found one of your own – deliver leaflets, canvass, get elected do your bit at the Council, move on to the next step and finally end up as Home Secretary or some such…

What kind of Democracy had you in mind? The Athenian Version where we all meet in the Town Square to vote on everything (if we are free men with our own flak jacket and SA80)…the more complex and nuanced representative version we already have? Or one that behaves as you think it should, without reference to how the other fifty odd million of us feel about things?

GNB

Derek
Derek
March 17, 2014 5:25 pm

GNB,

Britain’s “democracy” is not nuanced and complex, it is crude and not very democratic. A significant improvement would be fully elected second chamber, separate elections for Prime Minister, the right to recall MPs and Lords (just rejected by the current government) and the right to call a referendum based on petition (as in Switzerland), as it stands the UKs “democracy” is no such thing.

Phil
March 17, 2014 6:10 pm

@Derek

A bit of Bagehot for you methinks.

1. The second chamber is arguably very useful as a cross bench “amending chamber” to refine legislation and for people from the real world to apply the real-world test™ to it. An elected second chamber could just as easily become simply another political talking shop that can now lead to legislative deadlock and absurdity. The cross bench Peers are arguably far more utilitarian than doubling the number of Tories and Labourites and making them considerably older and richer.

2. The Prime Minister is part of the Cabinet. It is the Cabinet which is the executive, not the Prime Minister.

3. So some political machinations suddenly mean that we can no longer live without a mechanism we’ve never had? Hardly earth shattering. There’s also some real concerns it could be abused. It’s not quite the closed and shut case it appears to be.

4. Referendum based on petition? Top three e-petitions right now concern kittens, a procedure which is already illegal and that nurses and midwives have to pay an extra £20 a year for their registration. I imagine the Chartists are well pleased.

Not to mention that the Swiss system is notable for its relative novelty.

Anyway, in my view the British system has passed the nuanced and complex test because you clearly don’t understand it.

Observer
Observer
March 17, 2014 6:10 pm

Derek, you do realise that even the President of the United States and Vice-P are not elected by popular vote? They are elected by a minority of people controlled by their party? They are called electors and if they vote contrary to their party’s wishes, they are classed as “faithless electors” and in some states liable for criminal charges?

You may have too idealized an image of US democracy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Electoral_College
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unpledged_elector

Observer
Observer
March 17, 2014 6:19 pm

And note this line:

“A result of the present functionality of the Electoral College is that the national popular vote bears no legal or factual significance on determining the outcome of the election.”

Really democratic isn’t it.

Derek
Derek
March 17, 2014 6:20 pm

Observer,

And the electors are elected by popular vote, nice try but epic fail.

Phil,

Oh dear, believing that fixed constitutional nomenclature can be assigned to the UK kelptocracy, its amusing, really it is. The fact remains that all of the MPs in the house of commons as well as the Prime Minister and associated cabinet are decided by a single election every five years whilst the second chamber is completely unelected describes perfectly a weak mirage of a democracy.

So what if epetitions are about cats? Hardly unsurprising given they are currently meaningless. And just because something is novel it does not mean it is not a good idea.

And as for your childish insult at the end, it is only really notable for its amusement given the consistency with which you demonstrate ignorance on this site.

Phil
March 17, 2014 6:39 pm

Oh dear, believing that fixed constitutional nomenclature can be assigned to the UK kelptocracy, its amusing, really it is

A shattering point…

The fact remains that all of the MPs in the house of commons as well as the Prime Minister and associated cabinet are decided by a single election every five years

A very authoritarian system I grant you. Very. There’s no myriad of checks and balances during that time to keep watch over what happens? There’s no possibility of a Prime Minister losing the support of Parliament or his Cabinet? They can just do precisely what they want with complete autonomy and no reference to Parliament?

whilst the second chamber is completely unelected describes perfectly a weak mirage of a democracy.

The classic Derek – keep stating things and never actually address a point. A more interesting post would be where you argue that an elected chamber would be more politically instrumental than an amending chamber where cross-bench peers are appointed. You know what cross-bench means right? You understand the significance of a political system that is not entirely trapped in a cycle of crippling partisan arguing?

So what if epetitions are about cats? Hardly unsurprising given they are currently meaningless.

Kittens, not cats. Specifically kittens. Detail is important Derek.

And just because something is novel it does not mean it is not a good idea.

They appear to work quite well in Switzerland. But that is Switzerland. A wholly different history and political context not to mention a very different political map.

And as for your childish insult at the end, it is only really notable for its amusement given the consistency with which you demonstrate ignorance on this site.

I’m ignorant of very many things but I do know a bit about the UK political system. As I have said, even a cursory reading of some basic texts shows you misunderstand a lot about it.

Derek
Derek
March 17, 2014 6:51 pm

Typical Phil, obfuscation and excuses mixed with just a bit of back-peddling and the occasional insult.

To provide a summary of the above, you basically say “yeah but, no but, it may not be a real democracy but you can’t have one because that’s the way it is so nah” looks like the UK education system and state controlled media is doing what its meant to.

Phil
March 17, 2014 6:59 pm

To provide a summary of the above, you basically say “yeah but, no but, it may not be a real democracy but you can’t have one because that’s the way it is so nah” looks like the UK education system and state controlled media is doing what its meant to.

Yes Derek that’s right. I’m a puppet. Or more likely, I am a grown man who has demonstrable critical thinking faculties and can understand contexts and situations that are nuanced, subtle, intangible and complex. You’ve demonstrated precisely zero knowledge of the political system here other than (a) there are elections every 5 years (ignoring all the other types of elections that occur) (b) there is a Prime Minister (ignoring the fact he is a member of the Cabinet) and (c) the House of Lords is not elected (ignoring that there are actually instrumental arguments against having one). That’s literally it. Everything else is puff and posing. A Peter and Jane level of knowledge and some grandstanding. Come on, I dare you, take on one of my points. Tell me why an elected chamber is better than an amending chamber. Tell me why a Prime Minister should be elected directly and how that fits into Cabinet style government? Tell me why Cabinet government is not fit? Tell me why elections should be closer than 5 years (hey the Chartists agree with you)?

Elm Creek Smith
Elm Creek Smith
March 17, 2014 7:07 pm

“The story goes that as Benjamin Franklin emerged from Independence Hall at the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, a woman asked him, ‘Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?’

Mr. Franklin replied, ‘A republic, madam – if you can keep it.’”

I would submit that we still have our republic but it is in peril. Personally, I’d start with the repeal of the 17th Amendment…

Derek
Derek
March 17, 2014 7:10 pm

Phil,

There is one thing I can assure you of, I would never accuse you of having critical thinking faculties.

Why you keep asking, the answer is simple. The people should be master and it is currently self evident that are not. The argument that they should remain subservient to their ruling class because we may not like their decisions were they to be allowed to take them is the standard defence of tyrants.

John Hartley
John Hartley
March 17, 2014 7:23 pm

Some private sector is in reality, a crony, notional private but, in truth ripping off the taxpayer to give officials & retired politicians a cushy number, public sector in all but name, con. Sorry that was a bit unwieldy, but I hate these fake private firms that can only survive on public sector handouts, from their crony mates. Looking at the US, having an elected second chamber would make no difference, just look at Halliburton, etc.

Phil
March 17, 2014 7:24 pm

Why you keep asking, the answer is simple. The people should be master and it is currently self evident that are not. The argument that they should remain subservient to their ruling class because we may not like their decisions were they to be allowed to take them is the standard defence of tyrants.

I’m just not sure how the ruling class have power over me. I vote for my local council, I vote for my Minister, I vote for my MEP, I have an elected Police Commissioner, I have independent bodies governing my health, fire and education provision. There are numerous ombudsmen, independent watchdog bodies and complaints bodies. There is a free judiciary which interprets laws created by the executive and passed by the legislature which have as a fundamental principle the concept of proportionality. There is a body of men and women for which almost anyone can stand to gain entry and it is sovereign. The armed forces are loyal to a body which is not of the government (but it may be, so who knows).

I’m very sorry to hear you feel you’re clapped in irons and downtrodden.

Derek
Derek
March 17, 2014 7:32 pm

The great illusion of independence and difference. Of course in the UK such things do not actually exist, the problem with representative democracy is that it is not representative, that is merely what the plebs are lead to believe (a process that is much easier in the UK with a majority state owned and controlled broadcast media). None of the institutions you mentioned is genuinely independent or accountable- they are all influenced one way or another by the political class. Ombudsmen, watchdogs, quangos, all stuffed to the rafters with political appointees with their snouts buried in the trough in return for their acquiescence.

Warpig
Warpig
March 17, 2014 7:41 pm

Ah, yes. Repeal the 17th Amendment and make US voters even less able or wiiling to influence their state governments. If you’re looking to reduce national influence on local issues, don’t break down barriers keeping that influence out of state elections.

Phil
March 17, 2014 8:10 pm

The great illusion of independence and difference. Of course in the UK such things do not actually exist, the problem with representative democracy is that it is not representative, that is merely what the plebs are lead to believe (a process that is much easier in the UK with a majority state owned and controlled broadcast media).

So you dont have any argument then? Too scared to put your money where your mouth is? Or just happy to spew out the kind of crap seen on an NRA flyer?

None of the institutions you mentioned is genuinely independent or accountable

You miss the point.

Derek
Derek
March 17, 2014 8:16 pm

No, you miss the point. You are sufficiently deluded to believe that government that rules over you is accountable to you- it is not. The UK is a weak mirage of a democracy, not a democracy in any true sense. It is a country where “independent” is used as a means of removing democratic accountability (see quangos), where the second chamber is unelected and where the state owns the majority of broadcast media and controls the news output of the rest through law.

Phil
March 17, 2014 8:21 pm

More vexatious rhetoric and no answer to my questions.

I cannot take your opinion on this matter seriously.

Derek
Derek
March 17, 2014 10:51 pm

Vexatious rhetoric…says the oratory aegis of tyranny.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
March 17, 2014 11:57 pm

– I’m thinking of going hunting for seven-foot green lizards masquerading as the House of Windsor…care to join me?

Often detectable by the use of several nouns in the same sentence I believe…

GNB

Observer
Observer
March 18, 2014 1:02 am

Derek, did you notice that not a single person that replied to you agreed on the point you made? Some of us are really neutral, but it is obvious you are not. As I already said, I’m not British nor American and even a cursory glance shows that your stand is stupid and unsupportable yet you still persist in your idiocity. I already warned you that comparing “my democracy is better than your democracy” is utterly stupid and yet you persist. What does that say about you?

I’m not going to continue because the old old saying about arguing with idiots and them dragging you down and beating you with experience is very applicable in this case.

Three rounds HE, fire when ready.

“The elections of 1876, 1888, and 2000 produced an Electoral College winner who did not receive the plurality of the nationwide popular vote.”

“The United States is the only country that elects a politically powerful president via an electoral college and the only one in which a candidate can become president without having obtained the highest number of votes in the sole or final round of popular voting.
—George C. Edwards, 2011[83]”

“The original method of choosing electors was by state legislative choice. A majority of the states selected presidential electors by legislation in both 1792 (9 of 15) and 1800 (10 of 16), and half of the states did so in 1812.[62] Even in the 1824 election, a quarter of states (6 of 24) chose electors by legislation”

Shot out.

dave haine
dave haine
March 18, 2014 11:05 am

@ Phil

I wouldn’t bother arguing with him….I’m more and more of the opinion that he’s a wiki wonder, without the intellectual capability to look critically at information and seek other sources to properly inform his opinion and decision-making.

@ Derek
By the way, the BBC is not state funded, it’s funded by the populace, and increasingly by selling its products around the world. It also has a board of governors appointed by a commission not by government.
It’s been the cause of fury to many british governments, of either stripe, Usually taking a very critical line of whichever party is in power.

The House of Lords can be overruled by the directly elected House of Commons. And MPs can be recalled, should the occasion warrant.

You only have to look at recent events in the US, to see why having two elected bodies is not always a good idea. Federal finances fell off a cliff, because of brinkmanship, and frankly, the stupidity of one party in one of the bodies.

No system is perfect…..besides which, there is no political system in the world today that is truly democratic, because modern reality makes that unworkable.

Derek
Derek
March 18, 2014 11:21 am

Observer,

You should have quit when you were only way behind, now you are spectacularly behind. The electoral college system works by voters in individual states voting for electors. It is an election specifically for president, unlike the way UK Prime Ministers are elected. But then in the US there are separate elections, for Senators, representatives and the President, because it is a real democracy.

David Haine,

The fact that you don’t even realise that the BBC is state owned (as is Channel 4) and that it is is funded by a tax (enforceable by criminal prosecution) and that its news output is controlled by law just reveals, once again, your spectacular ignorance.

Observer
Observer
March 18, 2014 11:25 am

dave, think you’re right save for the fact that he probably does not wiki, just work from his fantasy.

Phil
Phil
March 18, 2014 11:38 am

Oh Derrick you’re hopelessly impervious to requests to actually make an argument arent you? Your knowledge on this is coming across as about as deep as a puddle and twice as wet. Go back to talking about tanks and planes or anything that fits into your esoteric, abstract and binary world view.

Derek
Derek
March 18, 2014 11:58 am

To the contrary Phil, it is your imperviousness to facts that that is causing our disjoint. You have been presented with the self-evident reality that Britain is barely a democracy and have responded in typical fashion, with obfuscation, insults and whataboutery. I would have been disappointed by any other reaction as it’s standard practice at TD, when presented with irrefutable but disliked realities.

I find debating with yourself, David Haine, observer and others to be rather like the intellectual equivalent of clubbing baby seals: so easy and yet so cruel.

Observer
Observer
March 18, 2014 2:39 pm

Derek, bad news. You’re only “winning” in your imagination. We’re really no longer bothering with you because you are so far below our level in understanding that there is no point telling you anything because it simply does not get through to your brain. That included my wave-off that your attempt to nitpick “degrees of democracy” is utterly stupid and yet you didn’t listen and made a fool of yourself.

As for your accusations about Phil, go read back on some of your own posts, the one using those methods most often is sadly, you. Of course, when others do it, it’s a bad thing. When you do it, it’s “winning an argument”. That is pathetic.

Derek
Derek
March 18, 2014 2:50 pm

observer,

You didn’t even know how the electoral college system works in US presidential elections. Its over, and you lost- again. Also, you clearly are “bothering” with me as you took the time to reply.

ChrisM
ChrisM
March 20, 2014 9:57 pm

Don’t know about Capita but have had the misfortune to have dealt with PA Consulting (in a different industry).
Biggest bunch of management bullshit spouting charlatans I have ever met. Dragged us away from our backlog of work to ask us what was wrong with our department (I had to spend hours having 3 goes at making the muppets Powerpoints make sense – would have been quicker to do it myself). Then they ignored anything critical of the management before telling management about the (very) low hanging fruit “they” had found should be done. These then got reprioritised in front of the more important work we actually needed to do (but were now even further behind on).