The MoD Improvement Plan


Just in case anyone is even vaguely interested!

The MOD Departmental Improvement Plan is based around the 4 critical themes of organisational effectiveness:

  • performance
  • efficiency and innovation
  • capability
  • strategic risk and leadership of change

This plan gives the current context for the department and an assessment against the 4 themes. It examines where we need to go next, and the improvements that the department needs to make to get there.

The model is based on ensuring that plans are:

  • owned by departmental boards
  • tailored to meet departmental needs but with common core themes
  • linked to departmental operational/business plans
  • assessed annually

Departmental improvement plans replaced capability reviews which were first developed in 2005 and refreshed in 2009. A pilot exercise was conducted from October 2012 to June 2013 and resulted in the publication of improvement plans for 4 departments in 2013. The ‘Civil Service Reform Plan: one year on’ document, published in 2013, reiterated that the new model would be rolled out across government to support all departments to publish their Improvement Plans by April 2014.

Read more…

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=””]




Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
dave haine


When will the next 5 year plan be released?

Looks like a Seaborne Variable-Geometry Personal Support System repositioning exercise to me.


Looks like purposeless furniture moving to me. But its full of really interesting corporate ra-ra statements and strategizing so it must be highly valuable


What’s the prize for BULLSHIT BINGO?

‘We are reforming defence as an integral part of the Civil Service Reform and wider
government modernisation programme. The MOD is working with Other Government
Departments to share our own experience and learn from others actions to date as
part of a smaller, more cohesive Civil Service’.

Whatever it is I claim it!


It shall not to be a SDSR in 2015 ?

Lord Jim

More musical chairs to follow on from SMART procurement, Capability Management etc. It all boils down to trying to reduce costs, nowaday buy passing equipment support to industry with the MoD mainly managing contracts and finance. None of what is proposed will achieve anythig to benefit the Military if it still has to work within the current of probable smaller in the future, financial framework. As the retiring head of NATO has said, the cuts must stop now and countries must plan for increased spending on defence in order to retain viable armed forces that can deter aggression.


If there are people there that can execute the bullshit bingo then having this sort of idea about what you want to achieve is a very good thing. I know of too many organisations that exist in a state of chaos.


More bullet point management speak that will improve nothing.
Better to put one person in sole charge of a project, with power to make decisions & see them through. Public appointment with full transparency. Give them a knighthood & a big bonus, if it comes in on time, budget & working. A firing squad if not. (Perhaps a bit harsh, but this no one named, no one blamed culture, is the reason so many projects are bugg***d).


Its probably the other way actually.

And if you think its going to be the right person getting blamed then you’re more of an optimist than me.


As I see it there are two fundamentally different options. One, as JH suggests, is to put a senior MOD type (military or CS) in charge, for the duration, in the surety that his/her future pension depends on successful procurement in all aspects. The other is to break snooty MOD away from behaving like they are superbeings to be worshipped by mere mortals and instead get them to work at the sharp end with whatever suppliers they select – note that is ‘work with’ not ‘audit and criticise’, by which I mean the MOD personnel get real roles embedded in the team with mixed industry/MOD management chains such that everyone has to work hard in the same direction to get the job done. The same ‘for the duration’ criteria should apply here too.

For far too many years MOD has wafted around high above projects, making changes here, demands there, without taking any responsibility for the impacts these commandments have; worse still every 30 months a completely new team is in post with marks to make and pet features to add in. On visits to MOD I would pick up the corporate rag (Preview, Desider etc) and be amazed/amused/frustrated/disgusted that according to their assessment all procurement successes were due entirely to MOD personnel superior management skills and all references to project difficulties were in terms of industry failing to perform but hoorah the MOD team was on the case so it would all be fixed soon. I could never work out if it was just the PR team glossing up MOD capability or if the entire organisation really believed what was written.


Maybe if MOD people were actually accountable for projects happening, on time and to cost and if they don’t happen they lose their job, (like a lot of people in real life). For example did anyone actually lose their job over the CVRT replacement saga?
Making thigs real and making success actaully matter might mean that only those who knew what they were doing would want to get involved, which might mean things would improve with no need for bullet points, silly courses etc.
Might be a plan Baldrick?


@ Chris

Just a bit from the other side, the mere mortals attitude does appear from contractors. An attitude of ‘look I know it’s not to spec but just be grateful we allowed you to buy it’ does happen. It’s not right, but it’s not exclusive to the MoD by any means.


Topman – I’m sure you’re right; I hope I’ve never been guilty of such. But I have sat through too many Industry/MOD meetings to ignore the tangible attitude that pervades MOD thinking – the fact that MOD chooses not to call itself ‘the customer’ but ‘the Authority’ speaks volumes.

In the 50s MOD bought in serious quantities and sustained a large UK industrial sector; at that time it was big and powerful and earned respect from industry. Now the quantities are third-world, the irritation that industry does not fawn and kowtow is evident and results in friction and powerplays and all sorts of disruptive psychological gameplaying, despite tiny production quantities the burden of qualification has increased hugely as in general have the number of requirements each project suffers (technical and programmatic/commercial), and to cap it all MOD will only do business with organisations it feels are great enough to be deemed worth talking down to.

The annual equipment purchase budget of MOD is now 10% that of Tesco’s annual turnover. It really isn’t the almighty powerhouse it likes to think it still is. As for the peevish attitude of some suppliers, if the corporate turnover is 5 times that of MOD’s annual budget, to that corporation MOD would be a pretty small player and its ‘high & mighty’ act would not go down well at all…

However I agree it doesn’t matter which side is dismissive of the other, its wrong. If MOD and industry agree to work on a project they should both knuckle down to make a success and not play silly and expensive boardroom games to get one over the opposition.


‘The MOD is working with Other Government Departments to share our own experience and learn from others actions to date as part of a smaller, more cohesive Civil Service’…

Dust off the corp-speak that acts as employment validation for idiot comms people, and there might be a telling message.

Smaller civil service means cutting back on what are now deemed to be ‘luxury’ services to focus on new ‘core’ functions. Take the FCO, which has cut back savagely into embassy budgets to a point where what used to be expected services to UK nationals overseas are an embuggerance to their core function: selling UK kit as an extension of UKTI. The only diplomatic service a UK expat gets now is an FCO stamped coffin for repatriation or a prison visit from a pimply goon.

That means the same for the MoD (as shown in past SDSR, but also looks to mark the next one as being much of the same, again. Smaller defence, core functions, shedding what are considered not cost effective. If anyone laboured under the hope that 2015 would bring about a different MoD, it appears even further away now.


An interesting statement appeared in the RUSI paper that DN posted on the FRES thread: – it related to how the French procurement moved so easily whereas the UK FRES malarkey has been a fiasco. The speaker noted “it has been achieved by what the French call ‘Integrated Qualification’, which means that at every stage of design and development, approval is signed off by a triumvirate of user, designer and procurer. This system pre-empts problems, speeds up development, making kit cheaper and, critically, fosters the much vaunted and desired ‘no surprise’ culture.”

Which if you look back at my earlier comment sounds a lot like my second (and favoured) approach for full integration of MOD personnel in the industry team. Well at least the VBCI procurement example flattens the normal MOD snort of derision “Well that won’t ever work…”


This article date of 2010, since the program has been shifted, we will have first VBMR in 2018-2019 and first EBRC in 2020-2021. But perhaps the events in Ukraine will advance more quickly the program. Our VAB and our AMX-10 RC are really out of breath. In any case I find it too flattering.


Talking with brother-in-law yesterday, he pointed out the number of civilians on MOD books and asked a simple “what on earth do they all do?” question. Hard to answer. Here are the numbers: – 63,350 in total, of which 49,010 are in MOD proper (not DSTL, hydro office, met office etc). In terms of military personnel, this: states the UK has 151,170 trained military personnel. A ratio of 3:1 military to civilian MOD personnel. Maybe the ratio is about right; I can’t tell. But in relation to this thread, the numbers of civilians in DE&S are listed as 12,890 and slowly rising after a clamp-down last year, Wiki suggests a civilian/military mix in DE&S of 3:1 which would mean DE&S would have a total staff around 17,200. Wiki also lists 34 major projects. Even allowing for the projects not on Wiki and the fact there will be a lot of small projects from ammunition & batteries to notepaper & pencils, you would have to determine each major project carries a DE&S staff of 300 or so (including relevant proportions of higher management)? I’m pretty sure few Prime Contractors field such sized teams to manage their delivery. It would appear there is considerable room for slimming down then.

But hold on… despite the world and his dog telling Hammond the privatization of MOD was stupid and highly risky (including the US Gov’t who threatened to cease supplying UK if a non-US contractor ran the GOCO circus), it seems Hammond is determined to stamp his little feet and ram through son-of-GOCO which has all the same risks but pretends to be accountable: This is not what was announced when GOCO was trashed, was it? I thought the answer was going to be a better organized more accountable more responsible Government owned MOD? Not four parallel GOCO run by companies of any nation. More importantly this mini-GOCO structure does not appear as far as I could see in the MOD Improvement Plan. What’s going on?

In the rummage in Googlespace though I did find this reprobate who ran the MOD for his own wealth creation and ultimately was given a polite slap on the wrist (two years of quiet contemplation at the same Open Prison where Arthur Guinness developed Alzheimer’s which miraculously cured itself after his release on compassionate grounds) but never paid back what he pocketed:


Chris, I am sure the prime contractors field the 300 easily, but the whole idea of having one is that after the crunch to solidify requirements, thebulk of the work is theirs and customer-side numbers only ramp up again during testing.


ACC – the corporations I worked for must have been understaffed then. But if by your description the project teams thin out between down-select and qualification/delivery, that tips the averages into an even worse state of affairs – if the average is 300ish per project but for half the time ‘only’ 100 book to the project, for the other 50% of the project duration there must be a team of 500?


I’m not very informed of your political institution but the first functions of a state is to ensure the security inside and outside the country. Privatize the MoD is madness from my point of view. Why not privatize the police and justice ?


The magazine DE&S puts out has some team descriptions on it. I stopped reading it when I became disillusioned with the hidden agendas of the current, once new, management.

Anyway, as for the strong start, then throttle down the client side just to Q&A and plan tracking, then come back in force (as the next stage, training, will blow up the involved numbers anyway) was how I have done these sorts of things. Both as a buyer and a seller’s BD person… If you want to sell something again to the same client, you do not disappear from the face of the earth after the signatures.


In France there is the DGA (General Directorate for Armament )

The different missions of the DGA are :

– The preparation of future defense systems.
– Conduct weapons programs.
– Scientific and technical expertise.
– Testing and evaluation of equipment and defense systems.
– The maintenance of international relations in the field of armaments .

The Delegate General for Armaments is now one of the three main assistants Defence Minister with the Chief of Staff of the armed and the Secretary -General for Administration (SGA ).

DGA works closely with the Staff of the armed forces. From needs it, it designs equipment and weapons systems, from preliminary studies to the use phase through testing commissioning and maintenance.


Frenchie – I have a soft spot for DGA ever since they sent me a Christmas Card which promoted me from design engineer to Director (something my company for some reason wouldn’t affirm). Those of us on this side of La Manche grumble a bit about the way the French government and industry work together but we are mostly just jealous. State funded development – how good would that be?

On the subject of DE&S reforms, I am still confused concerned and more than a little cross that GOCO has reappeared, very quietly, no big announcements, hope no-one notices. I have noticed; all the objections to GOCO still apply.

Add sly GOCO to HS2 trainset and submerging all farmland in SE England under a sea of ticky-tacky housing estates and the Tories have no chance of re-election. But then neither have the other two usual suspects. Oh dear.


Chris – Yes, the General Staff of the Armed say I want this and that, and the DGA calls on companies of armaments to do it, with state funding.
But you will be personally concerned by the restructuring of the MoD ?


Frenchie – any organization with valuable intellectual property will be concerned with a procurement system contracted out to profit-making companies, particularly if the company involved is a direct competitor. Last time around when the entire procurement system was to be contracted to a single industry-run team, industry team members included Atkins, Serco and PA Consulting, each of which act as systems houses and some time suppliers for defence projects. It is also highly dubious that the huge management consultancies like KPMG, Price-Waterhouse-Cooper and Deloitte – having advised the Gov’t on just how best to structure GOCO – are queuing up to help operate the system. This would or at least should worry clear thinking people that perhaps there was bias applied in the foreknowledge that the advisor would reap the benefit of preferential contractor terms? I do not buy the normal righteous indignation of profit making organizations that they are 100% honest and impartial even to the point of reducing future revenue and how dare anyone say otherwise…