Capita makes £100m in army recruitment fiasco

associate business editor

The government contractor Capita has made more than £100m in just two years for a delayed army recruitment project scarred by IT disasters and missed enlistment targets.

In a series of Parliamentary answers, Anna Soubry, the Defence minister, revealed the MoD has already spent £300m of the £1.36bn budget for the Recruiting Partnering Project. The contract is supposed to introduce private sector nous to help sign up new recruits more efficiently and has already resulted in a new centre in Wiltshire where 220 Capita staff work alongside the army.

A third of the money spent on the project between March 2011 and March 2014 was on Capita, although the FTSE 100 group started only in 2012. But much of its work was badly hindered by what Scottish National Party defence spokesman Angus Robertson told The Independent was the "incompetent and wasteful culture of MoD procurement".

The project relies on improvements to the way online recruitment works. The MoD tried to upgrade an existing system, known as Atlas, rather than let Capita build new, more appropriate IT.

In January, Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, said the army had been forced to write off £6.7m, after the system failed to work properly, costing taxpayers nearly £1m a month to run an interim replacement system.

Mr Hammond said that Capita's new system would cost £47.7m, though the Parliamentary answers show this has since been reduced to £42.9m. The IT fiasco helped to put the project nearly two years behind schedule, but the MoD has not reprimanded those officials responsible.

Although the fault of the IT failures rests with the MoD, Capita has presided over a slump in interview and selection tests since the contract started in March 2012.

In the first three months of 2014, the army was supposed to recruit 1,750 reserves, but only signed up 1,310. Capita's former chief executive Paul Pindar enraged MPs when he told a Commons committee in November that recruitment was in crisis because "there are no wars on".

In a report earlier this month, the National Audit Office said that IT problems had caused targets to be missed but added that "not all of the poor performance can be attributed to IT issues".

Mr Robertson said: "To find out that at a time of drastic cuts to manpower £300m has been spent on an ineffective recruitment system is unacceptable. This incompetent and wasteful culture of MoD procurement sadly continues unabated and unpunished."

Capita yesterday said: "Capita's contract with the MoD is a partnership and we are working closely with the Army to overcome initial setbacks and enhance the process."

An army spokeswoman added: "Capita is building a new IT platform that will be ready next year and in the short-term we have introduced work-arounds and mitigation measures to the old IT platform to simplify the application process."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before