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Department of Whelk-Stalls and Pissups-in-Breweries Annual Account Fiasco

DWP's accounts qualified for 18th time - Financial Director

Sir John Bourn unable to sign off on benefit department's accounts for the 18th consecutive year

The Department for Work and Pensions accounts have been qualified by the government's public spending watchdog.

Sir John Bourn could not sign off on the accounts because an estimated £2.5bn shortfall. Across the benefit schemes operated by DWP a total of £690m was lost to fraud, £1.01bn to customer error, and £850m to official error


As a former Civil Servant right at the bottom of the dung heap, nothing, absolutely nothing surprises me when it comes to the sheer organizational incompetence of this most gigantic of Titanics.

It must have been an exasperated intelligent person coming into contact with the Civil Service's practice of management by committee that coined the joke: 'A camel is a horse designed by a committee'.

There is be something in the very heart of the organisational culture of the Civil Service that causes intelligent individuals to succumb to a particularly blind form of groupthink that time after time never fails to come up with the most expensive, most inefficient and counterproductive 'solution' to any given problem.

I suspect it must be a combination of a number of factors:

(i) The rigid vertical hierarchy within the Civil Service, where people at any given grade dare not say anything that their line manager does not want to hear for fear of the consequences (one's line manager has sole control over one's promotion prospects).

(ii) The Civil Service Code which enunciates that the worst sin a Civil Servant can commit is to speak out publicly against anything that is going wrong.

(iii) The belief that the second worse sin one can commit as a Civil Servant is to make (and, God forbid, be proved to have made) a mistake.

(iv) Your boss, boss/boss, ..., boss^N takes the credit for anything you do which improves things, but it is kicks all the way down the line if you do something wrong.

(v) The lower grades in the management hierarchy (EO, HEO, SEO, ...) are often filled by people with arts/humanities/social 'science' degrees, who have little if any understanding of mathematics, the physical sciences, or, God forbid, economics. Moreover, very few Civil Servants who have 'come up through the ranks' as it were have any knowledge of the world of commerce, or of competition.

(vi) Finally, incompetent Civil Servants, except those in the most junior grades, are hardly ever sacked. They are just moved sideways - a peculiar form of the Peter Principle.

A typical example of the disaster that follows from this way of running an organisation was the decision by the MOD to remove the cannon from RAF Eurofighters to save money without having to lose face by reducing the numbers of aircraft purchased. Not only did this mean that the aircraft would be unable to strafe ground troops (a military objective), but it would fundamentally alter the flight characteristics of the aircraft because of the change to the moment of inertia about the aircraft's axis of rotation. It would appear that no-one on that committee had sufficient knowledge of the laws of physics, mechanics and of aeronautical engineering to realise this and to point it out. That, or they were of comparatively junior grade and either did not dare speak up, or if they did, their concerns were over-ruled or ignored.

It was then discovered that it would cost more to produce a dummy weight that to leave the cannon in. So they decided to have the cannon, but not provide RAF Eurofighter pilots with either ammunition or training in how to use the thing!!!
Design of Horse => Civil service Committee => Camel^N, where N is a very large number!

Thankfully, it appears that this decision has been reversed, albeit too late to make the first 'tranche' of Eurofighters suitable for ground support in Afghanistan:


PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:09 pm Post subject: Reply with quote
Generalissimo Bob wrote:
What I find hard to believe is that the aircraft was developed and built without a gun.

Why RAF Harriers lack a cannon ids beyond me, why don't they hust use the McDonnel Douglas designed gunpod that USMC AV-8B/C Harriers use? Rolling Eyes

The Eurofighter Typhoon was not developed or built without a gun. It has always been intended for the aircraft to have one 27mm Mauser cannon (as are fitted in the Tornado GR.4) All aircraft delivered are fitted with the cannon. The idea to remove the canon, was a British MoD venture to try and save some cash on RAF aircraft. However it was found out that the counterweight needed to fill the gun bay would cost more to develop than simply buying the cannons. Then we had the whole buying the cannons, but not the ammunition business. This has now been fixed thanks to ammunition stocks being reallocated from Tornado stocks.

The RAF Harrier GR.3 had two 30mm cannons, as did the Sea Harrier FRS.1 and FR.2. I don't know if the RAF Harriers lost their cannons with the GR.5 or the GR.7 variant, however they don't have them now. I believe a 25mm cannon was being designed for the newer Harriers, but the project failed for various reasons, and so the aircraft ended up without a cannon.

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