Feeds

NAO tells MoD to keep tabs on its kit

New IT system a must to monitor masses of gear

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

The National Audit Office has called on the Ministry of Defence to implement a new management system after it failed to account for equipment worth £6.6bn.

The official auditor says the MoD needs a "good quality inventory management system" to provide logistical support for operations and to prevent theft and fraud of its £14.1bn worth of materials and equipment held at sites in the UK and around the world.

Earlier this summer the NAO refused to sign off the MoD's annual accounts because of "insufficient evidence to support the existence" of equipment valued at about £6.6bn. This included Bowman radios, military equipment and other stock items.

The MoD's current stock IT systems were able to report on the existence and location of only 89% of Bowman radios and associated equipment, so that equipment worth £155m could not be fully accounted for.

The stock systems are "highly complex, because of the number of different lines of stock and locations where they are held," says the NAO. "The networked systems comprise a range of data feeds, incorporating a number of both new and legacy systems."

This arrangement, it found, had created a significant risk of error. Particularly high discrepancies were found during an audit at the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency, which holds 66% of the MoD's equipment.

"In 2008-09 the results of daily stocktakes across the depots operated by the DSDA have shown a deterioration in the accuracy of reported stock holdings," says the NAO's report on the MoD's 2008-09 resource accounts. "The level of reported errors varied significantly, revealing high levels of discrepancies between the inventories counted in the stores and the amounts recorded on the underlying inventory accounting systems."

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: "At this time of high operational demand, it is more important than ever for the Ministry of Defence to have accurate records of where its assets are, and how much stock it has."

Nick Harvey, the Liberal Democrat shadow defence secretary, said the MoD's incompetence was "beyond belief", particularly when it appeared that kit of vital importance to troops in Afghanistan had been mislaid. "How can it be possible to plan with this kind of black hole in the accounting? One has to wonder whether the MoD is any longer fit for purpose," he said.

A spokesperson for the MoD said: "£6.6bn worth of MoD assets were never physically lost. Our stock verification systems have ensured an effective and efficient support chain to theatre. However, we recognise the need to enhance our systems and we are working hard to deliver improvements to our system and processes.

"The issues related to fixed assets, Bowman and stock discrepancies were specific there was no suggestion that any items were lost. The vast majority of stock discrepancies were valued at less then £250 and have not impacted on the inventory values.

"Specific projects to improve visibility in the support chain were already in train, but a comprehensive review is under way and this is now a priority. Reports from theatre are very positive, with level of re-demands significantly reduced and, in many units, eliminated altogether."

This article was originally published at Kable.

Kable's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.