Feeds

MoD plans 'name and shame' crackdown on crap projects

If they don't buck up... we'll name them again!

Boost IT visibility and business value

UK Defence secretary Liam Fox has pledged to crack down hard on poorly performing defence procurement projects, by "naming and shaming" them on a quarterly published list.

Announcing the commencement of operations by the new Major Projects Review Board, which he will chair, Dr Fox said:

"I want to send a clear message across Defence: reckless spending stops here. Too often there has been too much reliance on industry's self-reporting of time delays and capability deficits ...

"I am tired of the National Audit Office reporting on projects that are running over time and over budget. Where projects are falling behind schedule or budget I will take immediate measures."

Should the Board become concerned about a project's progress, it will summon programme managers to explain themselves. If no improvement occurs by the next quarterly process, the failing project will appear on the MoD Projects of Concern List.

If delays, cost overruns etc persist despite this public outing, well then, the failing project will remain on the list until it does shape up. Dr Fox appears to consider that this will have a negative impact on the relevant contractors' share prices.

"I want shareholders to see where projects are underperforming so that the market can take action."

According to the MoD, projects now under the MPRB microscope include the infamous Watchkeeper unmanned air vehicle surveillance system, which should have been in service last summer (it is now expected "later in the year") and which - if it comes in on budget - will cost between three and four times as much as competing aircraft with better capabilities.

In an early sign of just how rigorous the MoD's scrutiny of itself can be expected to be, Monday's MPRB announcement describes Watchkeeper as "an unmanned air vehicle surveillance system with a main contract value of £635m". The most recent National Audit Office report (pdf) states that Watchkeeper is forecast to cost £889m.

Quite apart from its annual examination of ongoing MoD projects, the National Audit Office sometimes mounts one-off probes into specific efforts. It recently published a damning examination of the value for money being delivered by the infamous Eurofighter (aka Typhoon) combat jet, for instance. This revealed that the project will deliver an operational fleet of just 107 jets, each of which at £215m will have cost significantly more than an F-22 Raptor super stealth fighter - despite not having stealth, electronically scanned radar, thrust vectoring or most of the other goodies offered by the Raptor.

The NAO also revealed that the MoD expects to spend no less than £13bn on supporting the Eurofighter in service until 2030: in reality the figure will be much higher.

Nonetheless there is no suggestion that the shameful Eurofighter might make it onto the Projects of Concern list, no matter that the MPRB is to consider other support contracts such as the berthing deal for the new Astute class subs.

It would seem that the NAO will need to keep looking into the MoD for a while yet. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.