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Politics

Capita And MOD Equally Responsible For Recruitment Failures, MPs Say

The Army's recruitment contract with Capita was badly drawn up and overcomplicated, according to the Public Accounts Committee.

Capita sign PA-34736414

A new report says that the contract with Capita was badly drawn up, overly complicated, and a waste of taxpayers' money (Picture: PA).

The Army's recruitment contract with Capita was badly drawn up and overcomplicated, MPs have said.

This is the latest criticism of the decade-long partnership, which has been under the spotlight in the last months.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) released its latest report on Friday, saying that failure to reach recruitment targets was the responsibility of both parties and a waste of taxpayers' money - that will dog the Army for some time.

The report says that the contract was badly drawn up and overly complicated.

The Chair of the PAC, Meg Hillier MP, said: "Capita made it over-complicated so between them they just didn't get it right.

"This is a problem that is going to be dogging the Armed Forces for some time."

Meg Hillier MP: "The Army was rather naive offering the contract to Capita."

In terms of personnel numbers, the Army is well below par.

While in the last 12 months the number of trained regulars dropped by 0.2% in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and 0.6% in the RAF, Army numbers dropped a whopping 4.1%.

This is the eighth consecutive year the recruitment numbers have fallen, putting them more than 3,500 below their 82,000-target.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) says they have acknowledged the Army and Capita have shared responsibility for the low recruitment numbers, and they say they are working to improve things.

Special Forces Support Group anonymous 2 CROWN COPYRIGHT
The Army personnel numbers are well below par (Picture: Crown Copyright).

Changes have been made to try to speed up the time between application and signing up, and Capita face financial penalties for underperformance.

However, the PAC believes targets will be missed as far as 2022.

Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith says a Labour government would scrap the contract, bringing the service back in-house to be delivered by Army personnel themselves.

Eight years into a 10-year contract, the PAC believes it would be difficult to dissolve.

Capita says a change in leadership and strategy at the company is improving things.

Anonymous troops with Union Jack CREDIT MoD
The MOD says they have acknowledged the Army and Capita have shared responsibility for the low recruitment numbers (Picture: MOD).

"As we have previously stated, there were problems with the contract which the management team has worked hard to address. These efforts are now starting to bear fruit," reads a statement by Capita.

The MOD remains optimistic, saying it has a plan in place to address recruitment challenges and deal with the five-year-high applications.