The Big Consultancy
rip off now hits our troops in the field. The MOD were sold a system, or rather
the concept of a system that would ‘revolutionise battlefield communications’,
only its worse than the system it replaces, and is less effective on the ground
than a cheap walkie talkie system.
totalling £2.4bn were awarded to
General Dynamics UK in 2001 for Bowman and in 2002 for CIP.
It also says the
digital Bowman equipment weighs too much and does not allow communication
forces have had to put up with an insecure, analogue military radio system for
far too long,” said committee chair Edward Leigh on 8
“This can have disastrous consequences on the battlefield where good
communications are quite literally a matter of life and death.
“But Bowman, the planned new digital replacement system, has been a very
long time in arriving and it won't do all we were led to believe.”
report found that no one individual within the MoD had been given responsibility
for ensuring Bowman was a success.
inadequate preparation for installing the kit on the military fleet of 15,700
land vehicles, 141 naval vessels, and 60 helicopters.
totalling £2.4bn were awarded to General Dynamics UK in 2001 for Bowman and in
2002 for CIP.
Big Consultancies come to government with a new idea, they put all their
marketing skills and expertise into the presentations to Ministers, MOD
officials and OGC.
then put out a tender, based upon the specification provided by the Consultancy
that came to them with the idea. The specification is never based upon what is
available now, but what will be available at some time in the future, and this
project will assist ‘that development’, but Ministers and OGC are rarely told
the truth about that.
the commercial market we call this ‘vapourware’. It sits somewhere between hardware and
software and is based upon what might be possible in future releases, but that
only becomes apparent after the deal has been signed, because the sales pitch includes
it all in the deal.
Consultancy then bids low, to win the deal. It knows that it can make its money
up on change requests, that is to say the bits that are not actually available
they need funds for research and development, but because the project cannot go
ahead without it, they have the MOD by the balls. That is why every project has
its costs escalate as the project progresses.
then bring in an army of graduates, who have been trained by the consultancy
group to run projects using the paint by numbers method (Prince 2). At no stage are they capable of looking over
a project plan and thinking ‘there’s a bit missing’, because they don’t have
the experience. The prime criteria for a Consultancy project manager is a
degree and the ability to write documents, lots of documents, big long
documents. At no time is the ability to do the job of a project manager
Consultancy groups do this as part of their own internal business plan for each
client, doing a risk assessment based upon possible penalties for not
delivering weighed up against income generated by change requests. (It is interesting to note that Accenture pulled out after a short time of the NPfIT programme because it was tied down to fixed pricing on that project.)
and most of the government departments that deal with these consultancies don’t
have a clue on how to deal with them because a. they don’t have the relevant
commercial experience, b. they don’t have the requisite technical skills to
know when they are being baffled with technical bullshit, and c. don’t have a
clue on how to manage 3rd party suppliers.
is one of the primary reasons that OCG don’t want the public to see the Gateway
reviews, why they are fighting the Information Commissioners in order to stop
them being published.
would show once and for all the incompetence of OGC and their abilities to
technically assess and run projects, and would show up the shady business practices
of the Big Consultancies who are ripping off the Government (and us, the
taxpayer) for billions.
is not hypothesis, this is fact, I know because I have worked with EDS and KPMG, and I have spent
much of my working life undoing what these big consultancies do, and making
the Government gets its act together, and starts being hard nosed in the
business negotiations, and employs good technical and project management
personnel to oversee these projects, with the teeth to penalise these
Consultancies, its not just our tax money, but its our troops on the battle
field who suffer most.
have to wonder whether anyone in OGC or these Consultancy groups really gives a
damn about the way in which their inability to run projects properly puts the
lives of our troops at such risk. (perhaps we should insist that they spend a
tour of duty with them in Helmand to show them the realities).
Comments about the Bowman system on an
unofficial army website describe poor radio facilities. One soldier in Afghanistan's Helmand Province said: “Comms in
afghan are about as good as using Argos action man walkie
I used my mobile to ring home yesterday. That fits into my
pocket and weighs a couple of grams. It cost me £100 and if i drop it in a
puddle it still works!”
“Apparently Bowman works well in the UK. That'll be fine if we ever have another