Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Latest MoD Figures: 604 Spinners

Always keen to help, this morning Guido pointed out the vast  numbers of communications staff employed by the MoD, should Philip Hammond be looking around for something to “streamline”. Guido quoted the 2009/10 figures which showed 697 spin staff, though MoD sources are keen to stress that only 23 are based at Whitehall and many of the rest have other jobs. This afternoon they have coughed the latest figures:

“As of 31 March 2012 the total number of military and civilian MOD personnel spending at least 50% of their time on communications related activities was 604. This figure is on course to drop again to 515 by 2015.”

Going in the right direction, slowly. 

Hammond Surfaces to Defend MoD Bureaucracy

Phillip Hammond popped up for a passive aggressive performance on the Today programme:

“We can look for efficiency savings which everyone should be seeking all the time. If we need to go beyond our efficiency savings, we would need to have a discussion over how and where these would be achieved.”

It sounds like defence secretary would make sure that conversation happened in public. He might not want to cut more troops, but there are still savings to be made. The MoD has 400 press officers and communications staff, for example. There is a battalion of cuts there Mr Hammond.

UPDATE According to data obtained by Think Defence

The latest figures for the numbers involved in specialist communications roles are for financial year 2009-10 and were produced in support of a Cabinet Office led exercise to capture such information across Government. They are as follows:

MOD/armed forces Trading funds Non-departmental public bodies
Press officers 112 8 1
Internal communications officers 52 8 0
External communications officers 365 26 0
Communications strategy officers 67 2.5 0
Other 101 7 3

Presumably these numbers have been reduced over the last three years.697 spin-doctors of one kind or another is 600 too many…

See latest update: Latest MoD Figures: 604 Spinners

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fingers Pointed at Hammond for Cuts Confusion

It’s no surprise that the MOD was missing from George Osborne’s ‘nice list’ of departments behaving themselves over further cuts. Nor was it surprising to hear the Chancellor pouring water on this morning’s Telegraph story about IDS offering to serve up more cuts in order to protect Hammond’s department. Further cuts aren’t going to happen; not least in part due to the LibDems, especially in an election year. Guido is told any discussion has not happened recently. IDS may have enjoyed the Telegraph’s “not for the first time, Mr Duncan Smith has shown the way” leader, but it seems that is a far as it’s going to go. Fingers are being pointed at Hammond this morning for stirring things up. With this Telegraph leak,  suddenly last week’s manoeuvres speculation does not look quite so ridiculous…

See also: Daft Draft Hammond Plan

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

U-Turn Number 41

Last week a government source said in reference to Afghan interpreters: “What sort of message would it send if these people were bundled into the back of a Chinook and flown out of the country? It would say we don’t think there’s a future.” Phillip Hammond said on the record that he believed “Afghanistan has a future”. This morning the government announced that former Afghan interpreters will be granted asylum after all. At least the welcome u-turn came quick enough to avoid Joanna Lumley getting involved… 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Long Arms in the MoD

deal

Employees from arms dealers and defence firms that have recently signed huge government contracts are currently working at the MoD. Guido has learned that BAE Systems and Rolls Royce, who have been awarded billions of pounds worth of MoD contracts over the last few months, have five employees inside the department. The MoD is also employing a staffer from Babcock, who were awarded a £65 million contract in December. The full list of MoD employees on secondment from private firms that have recently signed multi-million pound contracts with the department is below:

  • 3 BAE Systems employees- £1.2 billion contract signed in December
  • 2 Rolls Royce employees – £1 billion contract signed in June
  • 1 Babcock employee – £65 million contract in December
  • 1 Carillion employee – £45 million deal last year
  • 1 Lend Lease employee – £17 million deal in June
  • 1 GVA employee- appointed to identify contractors for Deepcut relocation in July

Intriguingly, the MoD is refusing to disclose the employers of a further ten staff members currently working in the department. It wouldn’t be the MoD without a cosy relationship between ministers, taxpayers’ cash and private defence interests…

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Boulter Wades In Again: Werritty Loved First Class Travel

Harvey Boulter isn’t the most reliable of witnesses but he raises some intriguing points. He just did an interview with the BBC that could only be described as a hand-grenade. He described Fox’s version of events around their meeting in Dubai as “half truths”. He said Adam Werritty boasted of his love of first class travel…

Boulter also said he told the Guardian to go and “do their homework” when they told him Werritty wasn’t working for them. Given Boulter discussed sensitive information regarding his business and legal disputes, he is demanding to know who paid for Air Miles Adam, but stopped short of accusing him of outright corporate espionage. Petrol on the fire…

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fox: MoD Initial Findings

“A grey area”…

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ed’s PPS and MoD Lobbying Links
Dugher Denies Defence Meetings Dodgy

Barnsley MP Michael Dugher was chosen to be Ed’s PPS for a reason. It quickly became clear Chuka Umunna was way out of his depth in the role, so who better to replace him than a man who knows the party inside out and has worked in Downing Street, the MoD and various other government departments? However it’s not just Ed who has spotted Dugher’s talents in the past…

Though he ended up as Gordon’s Moussa Ibrahim at the end of the last government, between his days as Geoff Hoon’s Special Adviser at the MoD (2002-’05) and becoming Gordon’s last spinner in October 2008, Dugher took time out in the private sector, becoming Head of UK Public Affairs for global data giants EDS. He left the MoD just before the 2005 election and went to EDS in 2006, via a role in the Leaders of the House’s office overseeing Privy Council matters.

When Dugher took the role of EDS’s top UK lobbyist, the company said he bought a ‘wealth of experience from his under-standing of the parliamentary process’. However that’s not all he had to offer. A rather interesting FoI shows that EDS’s public affairs team, headed up by Dugher, lobbied MoD officials and Ministers some thirty-three times between 2006 and 2007. Crucially Dugher was meeting with Lord Drayson, who was in charge of procurement of equipment and support.

The relationship built up between the MoD and EDS paid off handsomely for the latter. In government Labour paid EDS a total of £4.2 billion for IT during their years in government. Including £2.3 billion for the troubled Defence Information Infrastructure contract which was signed when Dugher was still Hoon’s SpAd. The MoD paid EDS a further £570 million during the period Dugher worked for them. All very cosy. 

Surely there are rules against this sort of thing, Guido hears you ask. Well yes there are:

‘Under the terms of their contract, special advisers are required to submit an application to the head of their former Department for any new appointment or employment they wish to take up during the two year period after their last day of paid service.” 

Guido spoke to Dugher last night who claimed that the move was cleared by the Cabinet Office. However this clearance was only in relation to his last role working for the Leader of the House/Privy Council. Dugher says that the both the Cabinet Office and EDS were well aware of the move and possible conflicts of interest. However, the MoD tell Guido:

“We do not hold any data to confirm that Mr Michael Dugher has submitted an application to the MoD under “The Business Appointment Rules for Civil Servants” for permission to seek an appointment with EDS as a lobbyist. The requirement for Michael Dugher to notify the department of his intention to commence employment with EDS under Business Appointment Rules only applies for two years after his last day in service and therefore this requirement ceased from 2007’

Though he cleared it with the Cabinet Office, Dugher was back lobbying the MoD within two years of leaving as a SpAd, which doesn’t look so good. This is often the way with the giant revolving door of government and Guido only raises this all for one particular reason. Dugher is currently in charge of Labour’s own long-overdue defence procurement review. We all know how badly Labour’s spending on MoD contracts went. Dugher certainly has some inside knowledge of what went wrong…

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When Dave Liked The Generals Talking

As the Prime Minister tried to slap down his turbulent generals with a well rehearsed, off-the-cuff, “you do the fighting and I’ll do the talking”, Guido was trying to remember when he last heard Dave in such a combative mood. The last time the upper echelons of the armed forces spoke out so distinctly against the government was when Richard Dannatt hounded Brown’s handling of the Afghan war. Did Cameron tell the soldier to stay out of the politics then? No, he made him a Peer.

He then appointed the daughter of  General Sir David Richards, Danatt’s successor as Chief of the Defence Staff, to his personal office. Funny how General Richards has been putting a bit of stick about with those who have spoken out. However with more and more critics lining up left, right and centre to brief against the PM in the Telegraph, Miliband should be rubbing his hands as he prepares for PMQs. Unless he’s got some gimmick to try pull again this week…

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Battalion of Spinners

The MOD isn’t having a good day. They are rightly being hounded after news emerged that thirty eight soldiers had been sacked by email, Andrew Neil asked Patrick Mercer on the Daily Politics “Is the MOD run by a bunch of numpties?” There was an awkward laugh and a notable pause before the denial.

As troop numbers are being slashed, who is responsible for mopping up these PR disasters? Well according to research by Think Defence, a battalion of spinners. They conclude that there are 697 personnel from both the military and civil service engaged in MoD spinning. Perhaps Fox should look again at where the axe is falling. Maybe send them an email.


Seen Elsewhere

From the IRA to Windsor Castle | WSJ
Coulson: Everything You Need to Know in 6 Seconds | MediaGuido
Mo Ansar’s Silence | Adrian Hilton
Gove Loses WWI Battle | Conservative Woman
5 Reasons Labour Likely to Win General Election | Sunny Hundal
Dave Surrounded By Topless Women | Sun
UN Loony says Britain Most Sexist Country | Sun
Farage is a Good Reason to Leave the EU | Dan Hannan
UKIP Blocked Expenses Questions | Times
NHS Showdown Coming | Paul Goodman
Sons of Brown | Telegraph


new-advert
Guido-hot-button (1) Guido-hot-button (1)


Cathy Jamieson MP, Labour’s Shadow Treasury minister, commenting on Treasury analysis of the economic impact of tax changes…

“If the Treasury is looking at the economic impact of tax changes, then surely it should examine the impact of the rise in VAT and cuts to tax credits? George Osborne’s £12 billion VAT rise knocked confidence, helped to choke off the recovery and has cost families £1,350 over the last three years.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


Tip off Guido
Web Guido's Archives

Subscribe me to:






RSS


AddThis Feed Button
Archive


Labels
Guido Reads