MoD faces increased costs for delayed online recruitment system

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is set to pay out tens of millions of pounds in additional costs for an online recruitment programme following IT development problems.

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The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is set to pay out tens of millions of pounds in additional costs for an online recruitment programme following IT development problems.

Leaked MoD documents seen by The Times show that the £1.3 billion Recruitment Partnering Project (RPP) scheme is almost two years behind schedule, and may require a £50 million investment to replace flawed IT systems.

Up to £15.5 million has already been spent on the development of the current IT systems by a consortium of firms, but is not expected to go live until at least April 2015. 

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is now being urged to spend £47.7 million to build a replacement system developed entirely by outsourcing partner Capita.

Capita was awarded a contract to run the recruitment scheme as part of a ten-year deal worth £440 million in 2012, including the provision of ICT systems.

It had been claimed that the deal would save the forces £300 million, and enable 1,000 military recruiters to return to the front line.

“The initiative will increase the number and improve the quality of recruits joining the Army,” said Col Neil Polley, RPP Project Manager at the time.

“The contract covers the entire recruiting and selection process for both the Regular Army and the Territorial Army, and will transform the way the Army recruits its officers and soldiers."

However soldiers have now been forced to return from the frontline to deal with a backlog of applications until the IT system problems are fixed.

The IT issues are also expected to cost the MoD at least £1 million a month until the problems are fixed, according to the MoD documents.

A separate confidential report from analyst from Gartner criticised the MoD’s handling of the procurement process which led to the wrong bidder being picked to lead the project, also claiming that the project management team was inexperienced and under-resourced. 

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