PAC slams MoD waste

30 Nov 00
The chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee has launched a scathing attack on the Ministry of Defence for 'wasting' £60m on modifications after accepting sub-standard equipment from contractors.

01 December 2000

David Davis attacked the department for tolerating 'low standards' and said the money could have been used to buy more equipment instead of putting right failings that should have been avoided. He vented his exasperation that the reforms introduced under the 'Smart Acceptance' scheme, designed to ensure contractors provide equipment that meet users' specification, had not yielded any significant improvements so far.

'It is vital that military equipment does what it is supposed to do,' he said. 'The MoD's acceptance of sub-standard equipment has led to £60m being wasted. It is indicative of their low standards that they think this is an acceptable outcome. While Smart Acceptance promises much, the committee will seek hard evidence to show that it has delivered the goods.'

Davis made his comments following publication of the committee's report on the MoD's systems for accepting new equipment, which found that 60% did not meet the full specification when accepted into service.

It calls on the ministry to set a clear timetable for the full implementation of Smart Acceptance and specify targets for improvements.

'The department must adopt a much more consistent and disciplined approach to its contracting practices and should underpin this with more quantified analysis,' it said.

But procurement minister Baroness Symons strongly rejected the committee's criticisms. 'It is nonsense to suggest that we regard as acceptable the fact that we had to pay £60m in additional costs,' she said.

'The committee calls for a more consistent and disciplined approach. Smart Acceptance is designed to provide that and I am determined that it will.'


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