The British Army recruitment website has now been nonfunctional for two months and has now, temporarily, been replaced by a post on a jobs website.

That’s correct, the British Army’s £113m Capita-run recruitment website has been offline for two months and has been replaced by a single post on a job listing website. The cost to post one job advert on Totaljobs, by the way, is £169.

An Army applicant contacted me in April to let me know that the recruitment system was still nonfunctional, weeks after log-in information was comprised forcing a temporary closure. I was told:

“The whole recruitment system is down. This means that applications cannot be made or moved forward. Candidates are also unable to receive updates on how far their application is through the pipeline. This could cause serious issues to recruitment as one, it could create a massive backlog, and two, interest could be lost due to time constraints.”

My source also told me that he’s currently stuck at the medical stage, as he is in the process of moving from regular to reserve. medical.

“All I need to do is redo my medical. However, I have been unable to move through the medical process because the staff at the recruitment centre cannot access the system.”

When doing so, he and thousands of others were met with the message:

“WE ARE CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING SOME TECHNICAL ISSUES WITH THE ARMY RECRUITMENT SYSTEM. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS SURROUNDING YOUR APPLICATION OR PROGRESSION THROUGH THE RECRUITING PIPELINE PLEASE CALL THIS NUMBER 0345 600 8080 OR CONTACT YOUR RECRUITER.”

That message was recently replaced with:

“We are currently experiencing some technical issues with the Army Recruitment system; however we are still accepting applications. To apply as a regular (full-time) soldier, please apply via our partner site, Total Jobs. Once you’ve submitted your details on the site, one of our team will contact you for more information and to start your Army application.”

The users are then offered a link to the job listing. You can find that here. 

Another user contacted me this morning to tell me the following:

“I joined the Army in 1995. Applied on Thursday and started training on Sunday! My son applied for it through Capita and a year later he was no further forward with a start date and gave up for another job. I applied for the reserves over 6 months ago and heard nothing once the website went down.

Only now have they sent a letter apologising and telling me to pay for an eye test before they progress my application! I worked on a Regimental recruiting team for a year before Capita took over and we could get someone from application to start date within 2 months.”

The Register reported in March that the Ministry of Defence suspended online application and support services for the British Army’s Capita-run Defence Recruitment System after concerns over a potential data breach.

However, it is understood that the recruitment system itself was not breached. A spokesperson for Capita told me today:

“The recent compromise of recruit data was the subject of a detailed investigation commissioned by Defence Digital from an approved specialist contractor, which determined there had been no breach of the DRS system. The compromised data is thought to be linked to log-in information stolen from candidates.”

The website was shut down on the 14th of March and remains closed today. If you want to learn more about the compromised data, you can read more on the compromise of recruit data that caused the shutdown in this article from April by Dan Sabbagh at the Guardian here.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
71 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jack
Jack
5 days ago

Was it hacked by Russia ? The lack of an explanation makes me suspicious.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
5 days ago
Reply to  Jack

Probably. Cannot the damned army get anything right?

Jonny
Jonny
5 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

All that money invested in cyber warfare…

BobA
BobA
5 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Other than training the best conventional soldiers on the planet or delivering in spades on operations you mean?

grizzler
grizzler
5 days ago
Reply to  BobA

easy to train em when theres less of em

Airborne
Airborne
5 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

Never easy to train people to become quality, its one of the toughest jobs there is!

Bill watson
Bill watson
5 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

Wembley stadium holds more than the Army has actual combat troops!

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 days ago
Reply to  Bill watson

Ah, but do they all LIKE football?

Bill watson
Bill watson
2 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Probably not 😂

Bill watson
Bill watson
5 days ago
Reply to  BobA

The British Army has long ceased to be the best conventional soldiers on the planet.
Afghanistan saw to that.
And what good is an Army that keeps being constantly reduced in numbers?

BobA
BobA
4 days ago
Reply to  Bill watson

Sorry, Bill, I think you need to explain that first part of your comment. In what way did Afghanistan see to the British Army ceasing to have the best soldiers on the planet? There is a huge difference between strategic defeat and tactical success. So I’ll concede, I think at the operational level, the British Army comes up short. But at the tactical level – as good as if not better than any Army in the world. Have you actually seen what we expect of our soldiers compared to other armies? Have you actually seen what our tactical level units… Read more »

Bill watson
Bill watson
4 days ago
Reply to  BobA

Mate done 2 tours of ulster in the 80’s.
Am fully aware of the army’s capability and sadly there short comings.
Surely operational n tactical levels r the same?

BobA
BobA
4 days ago
Reply to  Bill watson

No. The operational level is done at Divisional and above. It’s running a campaign – it’s the generating, deploying and recovering a force. I think we suck at running a campaign The tactical level is what Brigades and Units do – fighting the current battle – I think we excel at that. I did two tours of Afghanistan and one of Iraq and worked with NATO. Out of interest, who do you think does have the best conventional soldiers on the planet? By your metric it can’t be an Army that went to Afghanistan so no one in NATO, Sweden,… Read more »

Tony
Tony
5 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Probably Civil Servants…. Why don’t we go back to the old days and let the Squaddies deal with recruitment ?

John William Shipman
John William Shipman
4 days ago
Reply to  Tony

Too simple for the M.O.D Gavin

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Nothing to do with the Army. Capita does the recruitment, and has done for many years.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Of course aware that Capita have the contract. But one gets sick and tired of yet another instance involving the army and non-resolution of issues, Graham. ‘faid the expression ‘nothing to do with the Army’ somehow fails to improve the general impression. It’s well past becoming par for the course where technical issues are concerned, by all measures.
One way or another, General Staff need craniums heavily in contact.
Believe the Capita contract is up this year? I await the slap down! but fear conduct becoming of gentlemen.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Hi Gavin, I feel we should not blame the Army leadership for every ‘Army problem’. No army officer appointed Capita – it was a ‘bean counter’ decision. The Army has lost its way with structures (a new one every other year, it seems – and they are not good ones, as Daniele often says), grip of procurement programmes is poor (although that also involves civil servants, politicians, the Treasury etc) and there is a tad too much wokery. Good that CGS clearly declared that the army is too small – he is a good officer – I served under him… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
4 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Good to hear from you this morning. I’ve certainly no army background to draw upon, as explained in previous post. Frustration, as you know and I fully anticipate feel, comes from something in the region of two decades of negative (technical) news. In this instance, even the not uncommon downing of a website, sometimes international in extent and often attributed to Putinites (whether apposite to this event or no), is usually rectified in fairly short order. But by any reasonable measure, this is a local domestic IT system. Even so, on its own or in combination with one or two… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Hi Gavin, thanks for this. I am angry as a taxpayer, former soldier and Defence enthusiast, with some of the army’s decisions and management (of equipment (procurement and upgrades) projects especially). I am one of those who denounce Ajax and did even before it had its technical problems – I always thought it was too big, too heavy, too expensive, had some strategic deployability issues, and was likely to be too slowly fielded. Then when Strike was added to its original Recce role, it just got worse. You prefer Boxer to Ajax for the recce/strike role? I presume you mean… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
4 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Agree that Ajax looks clumsy, especially dressed up to theatre standard, which as a layman on land force issues is parallel to saying it does not ‘look right’ – a more nuanced / instinctive phrase than ought technically to mean a damn. However, with it’s roots extending back beyond FRES, and concepts that presumably delineated from there, it should have been ‘relatively easy’ to bring it to the front line, in my opinion i.e. it’s technical but not revolutionary for these times. Contrarywise, Boxer did and does look right, not least when you add in the brilliance of its flexibility… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Ajax is a recce vehicle that Americans would recognise, one that enables recce to be conducted by fighting rather than by stealth. The US had a large recce vehicle in the Bradley CFV fielded from 1981 and this probably influenced British officers who worked on the US/UK TRACER programme in the 90s. Ajax is an exceptionally complex and ground-breaking vehicle and could be called revolutionary – it breaks from classic British design ethos as mentioned above, is the first fully digitised platform and has a revolutionary weapon system. When you talk about Boxer instead of Ajax I am sure you… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Tracked Boxer would be a mission module system to keep up with tanks, etc, I suppose. But Ch3 doing 60’mph’, isn’t that still open to much debate over whether it meant ‘kph’?
Rgs

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

I’ll believe tracked Boxer when I see it – you can’t change a wheeled vehicle into a tracked one by fitting a new mission module.

CR3 is widely quoted as having a max 60mph (100kph) speed on the road –
https://www.military-today.com/tanks/challenger_3.htm

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi, Graham. Although I fully admit not having any land force knowledge, hence the anticipated relief at my exhausting topic above, I’m not talking so much about Boxer, but the concept it embodies i.e. a chassis, in the presumed case tracked, capable of mounting various mission modules (readily admitting I just don’t know if achievable). Again, whilst not having knowledge to draw on – but being delighted if it transpires, the 60 mph quote is evidently something of a quantum leap in MBT speed; with a power source that is not that different from Ch2. Either way, surely it would… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Hi Gavin, I have only heard of mission modules for Boxer and not for any tracked vehicle – the approach is usually that a family of vehicles is built.

All my research from multiple sources confirms that CR3 will do 60mph (100kph) but that is on the road. It will probably do at least 40-45mph cross country. This is significantly faster than any other tank in the world including the gas turbine equipped M1 Abrams.

Bill watson
Bill watson
2 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

But not faster than a ATGM unfortunately
As has been proved in Ukraine.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 days ago
Reply to  Bill watson

Bill, I take your point but speed and agility does reduce exposure times.

We have had to operate armour against the threat of ATGMs since the first one was fielded in 1955 – and other (less smart) anti-tank weapons since 1916.

Fortunately our tanks have about the best frontal armour in the world (particularly when augmented to TES) and are operated properly tactically in all-arms groupings.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 day ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Afternoon, Graham.
Nothing to do with above specifics, but thought you may like this to add to your Ch3 portfolio, if not held already. It’s potentials the author feels to look out for in the programme, bearing in mind Ajax, including adding APS – always likely to be necessary – late to the equation.
https://www.rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/challenger-3-keeping-tracks-road/
Really want everything to go fine on this project. Challenger deserves nothing less.
Rgs

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 day ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Thanks Gavin. Dr Jack Watling always produces an interesting, well researched article. The problems with the Ajax programme are manifold – I could write a book on it. Jack is right to say that there are far more positives to be had from the structuring of the CR3 programme, especially the selection of the JV company, RBSL. He is also right to highlight 2 specific complex areas. I had not realised that DE&S was to be the integrator for Trophy APS onto the platform – big mistake – it must be RBSL. In would add to Jack’s article that it… Read more »

S Green
S Green
4 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

It is capita getting it wrong not the army. The mistake is outsourcing everything to the “cheapest” option, being cheap is not helpful if there is no function. Keep stuff in house, especially recruitment have the shops on the High Street staffed by ex military. Sudocco, capita and the rest can’t even get the food right, leave it to the army.

John William Shipman
John William Shipman
4 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

It’s not the Army. It’s the M.O.D.

Stu
Stu
5 days ago

An ATS is great but should easily be replaced by paper… We recruited over a million men in 1939.
Capita may be great at many things but this clearly isn’t one of them. When do the bean counters want to admit their running of recruitment is a failure?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Stu

I was amazed that Capita got the follow-on contract.

Dazed and Confused
Dazed and Confused
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

They’re also in the running for the new AFRP contract. True story.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago

Isn’t that the same thing as they are doing now?

Dazed and Confused
Dazed and Confused
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It’s Tri Service, so they get to screw everyone over if they get the contract!

John William Shipman
John William Shipman
4 days ago
Reply to  Stu

Never happen Stu. Bean counters never admit to cock ups they cause.

Some Army Bloke
Some Army Bloke
5 days ago

As things currently stand, the candidate support managers have access to the system. This enables them to call candidates and arrange the next steps of their application. Have been advised that candidates will not be able access the portal till at least early June.

andy
andy
5 days ago

I still remember the day walking into the local army careers office it,s pizza shop now, but i remember the basic tests, then being took to see a gp for a medical, then a few months later off to sutton coldfield for physical tests, being told which one of the choice of 3 if you accepted it was swearing in the oath of allegiance back at the careers office then given a date to go to depot, i still remember my first day arriving at sir john moore bks winchester for my 44 weeks training all 168 of us only… Read more »

Daveyb
Daveyb
5 days ago
Reply to  andy

I remember the office in Plymouth. It was a joint Navy/Marines and Airforce one. Turn left Air Force or right Navy. There was a chin up bar, where you had to prove that you could do 10 chin ups, if you wanted to go Marines. That was my first introduction to inter-service banter!

andy
andy
5 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

days like that will never happen again, to many easily offended people in society now..

grizzler
grizzler
5 days ago
Reply to  andy

especially teachers…..

Paul
Paul
5 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Haha I was taken downstairs and did the chin ups in 1995 in mayflower street Plymouth to join marines from school my friend, then watched a recruiting video upstairs!

farouk
farouk
5 days ago
Reply to  andy

I initially tried to join the Police (after 2 years at 6th form) i was actually laughed out of the Police station, so I tried my hand at joining the RMP, I failed my medical at Leeds recruiting centre (informed I had weak ankles) so the next week I travelled by train to Huddersfield and had no problems joining up. Shipped off to Sutton Coldfield (i had to borrow a suitcase) the recruiter there was hell bent on me becoming a clerk, i refused and he threw the book on the table in frustration and stormed out of the room,… Read more »

Last edited 5 days ago by farouk
Paul
Paul
5 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Its fine if you just had a fairly average career. Literally no-one has ever had a finger inserted into their anus during a medical. There is nothing up there that would need to be checked.

AV
AV
1 day ago
Reply to  farouk

It was a very small recruiting office in Huddersfield but had a big turnaround….especially for the Duke of Wellingtons etc…
It was opposite the Parish church if I remember 👍
(Just up the road from Johnnys’ nightclub…boy were those two places intrinsically linked!)

Last edited 1 day ago by AV
Cymbeline
Cymbeline
5 days ago
Reply to  andy

I’d say my experience was exactly the same, though on leaving Sutton Coldfield I went straight to Woolwich Barracks. Towards the end of training one of the Bombadiers called me into the office and said lucky boy your off to 22 Gibraltar Battery. There was me thinking I’d got a sun shine posting only to find out it was not so sunny Larkhill.

Bill watson
Bill watson
4 days ago
Reply to  Cymbeline

Ha ha I actually got posted to gib from basic! Best 6 ,months of my army days!
1 Queens.

Cymbeline
Cymbeline
4 days ago
Reply to  Bill watson

We used to have a small Radar detachment there, 8 Surveillance Troop. You might have come across them?

Bill watson
Bill watson
2 days ago
Reply to  Cymbeline

This posting was just after Regan bombed Libya in 86 😉

Cymbeline
Cymbeline
5 days ago
Reply to  andy

KAPE – Keeping the Army in the Public Eye. We also used to do a lot around the North East area, plus the Royal Tournament a couple of times which was great fun.

Bill watson
Bill watson
2 days ago
Reply to  Cymbeline

There’s hardly enough of them to b seen by any sort of eyes.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
14 minutes ago
Reply to  Bill watson

Good point. I am now an officer in the ACF – we have far more army cadets in West and East Sussex than there are Regular Army soldiers.

Bill watson
Bill watson
5 days ago
Reply to  andy

Remember those days?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
5 days ago

Pathetic

You could create a secure recruitment relationship database in something like FileMaker in a week at most, the processes are well mapped out so that would be easy and then give it a web-server front end.

The problem with re-coding stuff, half taken from something similar, is the fundamental insecurity of the connection between web end and DB end. I’ll bet it was SQL and I will bet it was an injection hack.

Fail.

Ernest
Ernest
5 days ago

I wonder if the COE pulled a plug so the soldier wage bill would fall. I am joking (I think)

Paul
Paul
5 days ago
Reply to  Ernest

These soldiers are so over paid said no-one in history. I’m amazed the government doesn’t have more of these cheap expendable young people.

Chris.
Chris.
5 days ago

Crapita at their best.

Cymbeline
Cymbeline
5 days ago
Reply to  Chris.

They do the recruiting for the Home Office as well. Shambles.

John William Shipman
John William Shipman
4 days ago
Reply to  Cymbeline

That could explain a lot Chris. No wonder the Home Secretary can’t get anything done. Withdraw all Capita govt contracts and let people who know what to look for do the recruiting.

Terry
Terry
5 days ago

Capita has a history of IT cockups e.g Greater Manchester Police IT system. The army recruitment issues have been going on for 10 years. The government still throw money at them! Beggars belief.

Angus
Angus
5 days ago

Well well well, it was expected as this way to get them in was always going to fail and it has. Get back to the real face to face with real people who know whats it’s all about. When I joined the RN some branches had over 3 years to wait to get in and at that time the RN was as big as the Army is today. Services are not inspiring the youth anymore and this is just one of the many reasons they are all short of people…………… The Services are not only for fighting wars but dealing… Read more »

David
David
5 days ago

In the private sector the contract of an IT supplier that performed this badly would be terminated. Just saying.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 days ago
Reply to  David

Who do you think builds the billings systems for the energy companies?

And they work well?

David
David
4 days ago

Crapita are.. Well, you get the message. Just saying I have seen IT contracts terminated for far less in the private sector. Amazed that the MoD puts up with this.

Jonathan
Jonathan
5 days ago

Unfortunately the amount of money HMG pisses away to these very large private providers of “anything that makes them profit” is staggering. The public sector can and does provide the same or better service level cheaper.

The problem is the private sector is never better or cheaper on large infrastructure projects as the market balance does not work in that way. Use the market for what it’s good at, areas of high competition for simple delivery of a product, anything complex, integrated or lacking a true market place approach is just give shareholders taxpayers money for old rope.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I recall that the first ‘military areas’ which were operated by profit-driven contractors were the staffing of the Messes. We all noticed a reduction in the service – frequent staff turnover and less flexibility. I thought about having a private function (Parents-in-law’s Golden wedding anniversary) in my officers’ mess but the cost was far more than a very good (4*) hotel in town charged.

Allan Kirby
Allan Kirby
4 days ago

Capita have cost the forces lots of potentially good candidates for years go back to the forces recruitment process
CRAPita contract should have long gone

Neptune Missile
Neptune Missile
4 days ago

They’re known as Crapita for a reason. Government gives them lots of money, they do a shit job, but a few people get very rich.

bill masen
bill masen
1 day ago

6 weeks from walking into the recruiting office early 72 to being interviewed, tested, offered a unit, medicalled, sworn in and arriving at my RHQ to start training.