The ministry of defence (MoD) for the United Kingdom confirmed that its Recruiting Partnering Project (RPP) with Capita was below its recruiting targets for the first quarter of 2018, by as much as 90%. Hence the Army could cancel Capita’s recruitment contract after poor returns. In the Defence select committee session held on October 17, 2018, Mark Francois, the former Conservative defence minister told Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary that the Army was slowly disappearing under his control and the defence secretary should do something about it.
He asked the defence secretary how much further will the army shrink, before the government takes some action to prevent the decline in the army strength. In reply, Williamson said that if Capita was not the right partner, he would take that decision and discuss the matter in the Parliament.
After years of delay and backroom negotiation, the core IT systems for the RPP were finally live in November 2017. MoD also called DRS by the military had signed a contract with the outsourcing firm Capita in the year 2012, and delays led to MPs publicly asking whether the contract should be cancelled within two years.
The Register has been informed how military recruiters are unable to process applications due to inefficient systems. Though the efficiency of military recruiting was supposed to increase as new IT systems were custom made, and military jobs outsourced to the private sector as part of the £1.3bn Capita deal, MPs were told in October 2018, that the Army strength was less than its target manpower requirement by over 5,000 employees.
The members of parliament have been demanding that the Capita contract is cancelled. The cost of contract termination was estimated at £50m four years ago. A spokeswoman for Capita told the Register that the British Army and Capita have reset their strategic partnership, increasingly focussing on a campaign for jointly improving the quality as well as the number of applicants for jobs in the British Army.
She claimed that Capita has identified steps for removing barriers for joining the army, considering options such as RMS recruitment to ensure they are not unnecessarily rejecting eligible candidates, while simultaneously ensuring that the high standards of the British Army are maintained. The spokeswoman said that the number of applications for Regular soldier jobs for joining the British Army is the highest in five years while the number of eligible applications overall has increased by 71 percent between the five-year period 2013 to 2018. Capita claims that since 2012, they have reduced the time taken by regular soldiers for joining the Army by a period of 81 days.
She said that Capita was confident that the changes and improvements they introduced to the recruitment process for the army resulted in faster service as well better results for candidates applying for Army positions. The media outlet Sun had reported that for every 100,000 people who wanted a job in the UK Army in the year 2017, only 7,500 got a uniformed job. While the military recruiting does ensure that a large number of applicants who are unsuitable for Army life are eliminated, the 7.5 percent success rate of Capita and its systems are widely questioned.