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Gray report: Slides

Laura Kuenssberg | 12:37 UK time, Friday, 7 August 2009

After such interest from many of you in the Bernard Gray report on MoD spending, I can now post the slides that the BBC obtained yesterday.

The government won't officially acknowledge that these are the actual interim findings.

But as I reported yesterday, sources told us that they were "probably authentic" and, crucially, the MoD has not attempted to deny that they are genuine.

My colleagues at The World at One are planning to do more on this story today.

Apologies for the quality of the reproduction.

slide from Gray report

slide from Gray report

slide from Gray report

slide from Gray report

slide from Gray report

UPDATE 2030: The MOD has just sent us this statement:

"We can confirm that these slides have not been produced by Bernard Gray or by the Ministry of Defence and that they do not offer an accurate summary of Bernard's draft report. "

The BBC cannot reveal the origin of the slides, but sources have again today told us that the information they contain does indeed reflect views contained within the report.


  • Comment number 1.

    Well done. A visible reminder as to the failure of The Government machine. Very stark!

  • Comment number 2.

    Ouch, that is quite a damning report no wonder the government wants to keep it under wraps.

  • Comment number 3.

    The first comment on the slides must be that they are truly amateur! If someone doing an ITC A Level came up with such sloppy presentation, there'd be little chance of a Grade C...

    They make startling reading.

    Equipment spending in balance in 2028 (!!!) if nothing further ordered. I suppose, the way things are going, that should make equipment spend in balance about the same time as the UK totaleconomy crawls out of its hole.

    Spending - a mechanism must be introduced to constrain it across the MoD. It would have been a good start to wonder whether it was really necessary to deliver a £Billion plus swanky new headquarters (while body armour wsn't purchased when needed).

    DE&S must develop skills, management of information and procedures. For goodness sake, there are 86,000 civilian staff in the MoD. Surely some of them have an idea about how to manage an organisation?

    DE&S needs cost-estimating skills. What? You don't just pop down to the local aircraft carrier, aircraft or tank shop and have a chat about costs over a coffee, do you? How can you NOT have people with expertise crawling over the details of a multi-Billion pound order? If a buyer doesn't have similar cost-estimating skills to a vendor, its always a problem.

    The idea that there could be a 10-12 year gap between detailed analysis of future need is just rediculous.

    And all this under a government that kept insisting it was "financially prudent" - and making the right decisions about the right issues, at the right time.

    It makes you weep.

  • Comment number 4.

    All I can say

  • Comment number 5.

    Blimey - Laura - I've never seen a suicide note in PowerPoint before.

    *off to buy shares in Nokia*

  • Comment number 6.

    So much for Labours 'Transparency in Government" . . . PAH! >:O(

    How much longer do we have to put up with this venally corrupt Labour Government?

  • Comment number 7.


  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    So we can add the MOD to the list of departments "not fit for purpose" which so far consists of the Home Office. Having worked there, I would like to propose another department for membership viz DWP.

  • Comment number 10.

    Laura my dear. Everyone is on holiday. Who is in charge, as we write, at the BBC Laura? No one! You also seem to need a long holiday, Lura Kuenssburg!

  • Comment number 11.

    You really are spoiling us Laura. You definitely get my vote to take over here.

    Interesting reading....and highly depressing. All those people being paid by the MoD and not one of them knows how to manage a project? I suppose this is Labour's "investment" in civil service bureaucracy at its finest. Not that the Tories were much better but at least there were less incompetents on the payroll.

  • Comment number 12.

    The stark reality of these slides is that they could be applied to almost any government department and be as true for the past as they are now. Look at contracts that have and are failing across our public services and the threads do not just unravel, they reveal that they were never attached to anything in the first place.

    Not so much a product of New Labour failings more an indictment of glossy superficiality introduced over the past thirty years - "it isn't what we do - it is what we can make you think we do".

    "Spending - a mechanism must be introduced to constrain it". Says it all.

  • Comment number 13.

    This is journalism at its very best! This report is in the public interest and I hope this sends a sharp wake-up call to Downing Street! Thank you, Laura!

  • Comment number 14.

    The legal definition of treason includes

    "if a man do levy war against our lord the King in his realm, or be adherent to the King’s enemies in his realm, giving to them aid and comfort in the realm, or elsewhere"

    It appears to me that the utter incompetence displayed by most of the civil servants in the Mod means that these civil servants are giving aid and comfort to the Queen's enemies. Perhaps a mass prosecution for treason might encourage the Mod to operate a little more effectively.

  • Comment number 15.

    "DE&S needs cost-estimating skills"
    No kidding! This is mind-boggling. How many other government departments have the same problem?
    I am starting up a business making gadgets which no-one will understand and have no use for but which I can sell to the MoD as absolutely vital for our armed forces.

    "Reduce people in the process and those there must be better at their jobs."
    That's it in a nutshell. Everyone is asking how and where the next government can make 'cuts'. Well there is a start.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    and that is still less than the government has wasted on itself.

  • Comment number 18.

    Woo hoo, girlie.

    You provide us with subjects to get out teeth into, in stark contrast to the marshmallows provided by Nick.
    Let's hope Nicholas stays on holiday.

    As a resident illegal alien, I can only compare and contrast what I know.

    When my race goes to war (which is most of the time) we plan the project in a similar way to our successful Industries.

    We have clear objectives.
    We set a realistic budget (one that does not include back-handers, pay offs, slap up meals and lavish expenses)
    We have a clear timeline of events and milestones.
    We have access to resources and skills.

    Your evil overlord Brown, like most of his cronies and Union rejects, is absolutely clueless when it comes to management.
    He is equally clueless when it comes to science, engineering and technology.

    For the UK to be successful it needs a government that will employ sound business principles to the management of the country.
    Equally, the UK cannot afford to continue cultivating and sponsoring the work-shy underclass that Labour prides itself upon.

    When did anyone hear of a business ,that was on it's knees financially, going on a spending spree and burdoning it's self with even more debt?
    This is what Overlord Brown has done to the UK.

    The UK has a poorly educated workforce in a service driven economy.
    The UK will not be developing any new technologies in Kentuky Fried Chicken or MacDonalds.

    At this rate, Evil Overlord Brown will be asking his peers in Europe - "Would you like Fries with that" or "Would you like to superzize".

  • Comment number 19.

    On the subject of Business experience: -

    Part of the current problem is that we have career politicians that have no industry experience.

    What do the likes of Balls, Cooper, Harman and Mandle-Foy have to offer?

    The true answer is nothing.

    The UK's troops are serving the country, ill equipped and underfunded.
    While the aforementioned Labourites are serving themselves.

    These career politicians should hang their heads in shame.

  • Comment number 20.

    Dear Laura, Thanks for today's output. Great stuff.
    I'm glad to hear the World at One will be covering this. After your revelations yesterday, I was looking forward to the Today Programme this morning. But they didn't have any spare slots. It think this was because there were other more pressing items on the programme: something about seagulls, something about Ronnie Biggs, a discussion about the future of Labour, something about The Barmy Army, and a long discussion on the trials of being Scottish these days. Several of these items seemed to be spun out to fill the time. Stories about leaks from MoD Procurement and government cover-ups were obviously seen as trivial. Didn't even make the news headlines.
    Ho, hum...

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    #19. At 2:19pm on 07 Aug 2009, Invader-Zim wrote:
    "On the subject of Business experience: -

    Part of the current problem is that we have career politicians that have no industry experience.

    What do the likes of Balls, Cooper, Harman and Mandle-Foy have to offer?"

    Aren't you missing: "Blair, Brown, Milliband, Milliband, Straw,..."

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    Those slides are very busy and not at all compelling. Has no-one been on a presentation skills course?

  • Comment number 26.

    No doubt the Redaction Team will be burning their candles over the weekend after the Sexing It Up Squad have had their wicked way with Bernard Gray's Report.
    Pity the Downing Street moggy died a few weeks ago, even so - it still might be better at running the country than the "twitching corpse" governance we will have to suffer for a maximum of the next 298 days - but I've heard of a place in Switzerland that deals very efficiently with this sort of thing.

  • Comment number 27.

    Good Lord! That is quite an eye-full!

    It's ben said and it has certainly been said (x infinity): what the hell are this Government actually doing, or have done, that is of any benefit to anyone in this country.

    The summer serenity (with the help of Nick R's stand-in) will cause the scum to rise to the surface. The trouble is no one can be bothered to keep quizzing about it - we just want the opportunity to vote.

  • Comment number 28.

    20. At 2:21pm on 07 Aug 2009, bertrambird


    An ill informed public is a Labour public.

    I for one refuse to be a mushroom.

    I don't care about trivia like Wacko Jacko, Ronnie Biggs, Football, pond scum celebrities and soaps.
    Where is the real news?

    Five inane stories on a constant cycle is not the News!

  • Comment number 29.

    I would like to add a few comments:

    1) 20 years ago I was acting as a consultant to a defence contractor - the stories I heard then - reflect this current state of affairs - nothing has changed. The problems are endemic to how the MOD procures - it separates the users (ie the front-line service women and men) from the suppliers - with many layers of senior staff / civil servants / procurement executives / procurement officers / accountants (etc.) in between. Any process that has that number of hand overs is bound to fail! The complexity of such procurement cannot be atomised into a linear process no matter how well 'project managed'.

    2) Only a few months ago I wrote in response to an MOD tender advert asking just for further details (it was simply an enquiry). I heard nothing more for 3 weeks. Then I received an email saying that I was not successful in going forward. I enquired as to the reason - and the answer I got back from the procurement officer was (and I quote) "I received so much interest your E-mail was folioed and collated then two DSDA Contracts Managers selected folio numbers at random. The companies with folio numbers selected were approached to continue with the process". In other words it was numbers in a hat time! This experience along with other experiences of procurement prompted me to write a (hopefully) humorous polemic against such practices. If this is the state of MOD procurement then who knows what can happen.

    3) I don't believe that commercial industry has all the answers either. The notion that poor procurement and poor project management only happens in the public services is quite frankly baloney. Anyone with any insight and honesty knows that there are some huge inefficiencies in the private sector which remain unreported because FoI does not apply to them and they keep them quiet - naturally. Where was the 'project management' in the banks failures? What happened to 'procurement' in Woolworths (and all the other companies that go to the wall)? Who dropped a tunnel cutting machine the last 10 feet outside the Chunnel and thus wasted several million pounds? (It is the one on display if you are interested.)

    4) I am seeking not to be partisan - but complaints from the front line that they are ill equipped go back far longer that this government has been in power. In the end it is a question of money and how that money is allocated from one department to another. Who says that 100 extra teachers is worth more than (say) a 100 new flak jackets or a new radio system for the police and fire service? These are political decisions.

    5) If I had my way, I would bring all the people concerned together in one big room for a few days and get these issues hammered out - so that we would mix together politicians, front-line service people, procurement people, industry suppliers etc etc. and get the discussions rolling freely, transparently and with accountability. I say let's end the culture of endless small committee meetings and have large, honest big meetings where all the connections and implications can be explored!

  • Comment number 30.

    My (hopefully) humorous rant can be found at
    if you are interested.

  • Comment number 31.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    Nothing in these slides is surprising. There is too much micro-management by people who float in and out of the process, and not enough strategic thinking by top management. 'Twas ever thus.

    The comment that MoD knows nothing about project management is unfair. MoD has a lot of competent PMs, but the essence of Smart Procurement is that the subject matter experts are subordinated to "generalists" and functional managers who are not interested in inconvenient hard facts. Hence the wildly over-optimistic reporting of programme costs.

    But is that a problem ? What is wrong with the procurement budget being 80% over time and 40% over budget ? Provided the deltas are stable, those are hard facts that you can plan the cash burn rate against. By all means criticise 2PUS for not being able to reduce the numbers to (say) 60% and 30%, and by all means get rid of the tens of thousands of paper-shufflers who add no value, but for goodness sake don't mess with the actual procurement process. Indeed more empowerment for the project teams and a greater sense of urgency is almost all that is needed.

    Think it over. Spending 140% of the cash in 180% of the time means that the annual budget is being 23% underspent. This is where you get the headroom for last minute panic priorities.

    But why this mess now ? Because the old-fashioned 10-year rolling programme, reviewed annually, was chucked out in the name of progress. And the replacement resource accounting system can't track forecast asset availability dates to future commitments.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.


    Congratulations on some proper investigative reporting on this site at last!

  • Comment number 36.

    ...Three hours since the last newslog. Could this mean...lunch?

  • Comment number 37.

    Laura, Thanks for the good work - investigative reporting and expose - this is what we (used to) expect from the BBC.

  • Comment number 38.

    "You really are spoiling us Laura. You definitely get my vote to take over here."

    Laura Rocks !!!!

  • Comment number 39.

    Great work!

    This is what we pay our license fees for. Red and blue alike have both failed the mitary. Given that they only start wars when they need some public support, it's no great surprise...

  • Comment number 40.

    By the way, what I find most wonderful is that this is hitting the news fan just as Peter Mandelson is taking over the running of the country from an undisclosed location, 'somewhere offshore' [or near the shore ?] from Gordon Brown who is ensconced in some 'voluntary work' north of the border.

    Great to know that they have their paws firmly on the levers of power at the time of such an important story coming to light...

  • Comment number 41.

    ... looks like we've replaced a Blog (Nick's) where pretty much every clown in town slagged off the author, to one (Laura's) where the default response seems to be "great work girl, keep it up!" - usually, as far as I can see, with nothing much else added - I guess if nothing else, it adds weight to a lot of what H was saying the other day ...

  • Comment number 42.

    80% time overrun
    40% on cost
    MOD always late in admitting the problem
    re-profiling destroys
    over-optimism causes slippage
    action taken has an insighificant effect
    too many people in decision process
    project management poor
    cost-benefit analysis poor.

    Yes, that's ''nearly perfect'' these days. The foolocracy remains.

    [Over to Simon and Garfunkel...
    ''Slip,sliding away,
    slip,sliding away.
    You know the nearer your destination,
    the more you slip sliding away...

    And I know...'']

  • Comment number 43.

    Whilst the Gray report makes for grim reading it is not surprising in the context of defence procurement fiascos in the recent past and not so recent past. The government should only be embarassed if they have made matters worse - given the bureaucracy within the MOD and that so many projects are long term, I would suggest that Labour have not been in power long enough to radically change how things are done.

    The government can affect things by say cancelling helicopter orders but the Gray report does not cover policy making. It may be small comfort to the government that events in defence procurement across the pond are not exactly whiter than white either.

    An example is the protracted plan for the replacement of the US Air Force's tanker fleet of ageing transport planes (some of the planes are over 50 years old). The contract is worth USD Billions and the two contenders are American (Boeing) and US/EU (Airbus). The tender process has taken place twice, both won by Airbus and twice Boeing complained and the decision overturned. The second time it was found that Boeing had offered a top job in Seattle to the procurement person in the Pentagon - both the Boeing director and Pentagon official are now in jail. The Pentagon decided to wait after the recent election that Obama won, but still the tender has not been resolved. But the planes are getting older and more accident or mechnical failure prone - this should have been resolved 5 years ago, but it is likely that the new planes will only be available in 5+ years?

    In part as the technology becomes more complex and expensive it is only natural for governments to have more scrutiny, audits and penny pinching. The very real problem is to identify the right kind of personnel that have the relevant technical skills married with project management experience. When it comes to aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines, why should we reinvent the wheel designing these from scratch? I say build Nimitz carriers under licence in the UK and likewise with Ohio class subs.

    The Gray report ought to be published in full and the government might get some credit as lessons need to be learned. This is not a poltical report, it is about the management of a government department. Other entries in this blog have indicated personal experience dealing with the MOD: the clamour for change is quite loud.

  • Comment number 44.

    Such news of the MOD is no surprise.

    It has been known for decades that our service men and women have to fight The Treasury and the MOD before they ever get to fight the nation's enemies.

    There is a need for root and branch reform of all government in the UK. There is far too much of it, all of it is expensive, most of it is incompetent, a good percentage is wasteful and some bits downright corrupt. The current government has left the Civil Service broken, demoralised and politicised. There are many good people who just want to be allowed to enage with their work and produce a satisfactory result but are prevented from doing so.

    If ever there was a need for swingeing reform in Whitehall then this is it. Time for the vantities and the vain to be taken out and placed on a bonfire.

  • Comment number 45.

    If Mandelson was last seen in Crete earlier in the week does anyone know where Oleg Deripaska's yacht is?

  • Comment number 46.

    Having been an Engineering Officer in the submarine service for the last 10 years, these slides look genuine and tell a tale that all serviceman can recite. The Defence Procurement Agency and Defence Logistics Agency as they once were, used to (and I believe still do) work on a policy of Just Enough, Just In Time. Of Course how it actually worked was Never Enough, Never In Time. The organisation is a failure, always has been and unless it is privatised or rewrite procurement policy probably always will be.

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    I am pretty sure we should NOT privatise procurement - would we want another country to own ~our~ armed services procurement?

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

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  • Comment number 51.

    I have been (in dark distant days..)very much part of planning and procuring for major MoD projects ...RMPA and Apache helicopter training facility amongst them.

    I have also worked for building contractor who built the dry docks at Faslane to accomodate the current Nuclear fleet.( Did that additional hull design change really add £35 million to the build cost??)

    My observations are
    1. Our armed services are desperately in need of kit that performs to specification when it reaches them
    2. They are should remain our priority in any defence spending review
    3. Let's go back to a single procurement model to ensure inter-operability
    4. Stop spending money on developing new solutions when exisiting technologies can and do fit the bill. ( Sikorsky example). Makes battlefield integration with our NATO partners far simpler??!!
    5. British jobs are not sustainable if the defence industry can't maintain a technology lead. The MoD has allowed itself to become a bloated (poorly performing) management organsation that pays current defence contractors for their errors and omissions.Where else could that be acceptable...ooops!!! silly me..we let the bankers do the same thing!!
    6. Lets lose two levels of senior management in the MoD...replace them with a group of civillian and services personnel with the power to specify and contract with industry to deliver modern equipment, fit for purpose and able to give our frontline troops the means to take real advantage
    7. ..and finally, lets plan our defence priorities for a 60 year period and commit to a realistic defency strategy that can be properly supported.

    Defence , like education, health, transport and housing needs a clear long term plan for the future which is agreed by all parties and not subect to political gamesmanship everytime a sound bite is needed or the incumbent party is losing in the poles.

    In this way, our key spending will deliver real and lasting results. industry will be able to build sustainable capacity to meed future needs and most of all, we will leave an effective legacy for future generations.

  • Comment number 52.

    "I am pretty sure we should NOT privatise procurement - would we want another country to own ~our~ armed services procurement?"

    AWE? Protection can be put in place to ensure that the Procurement Agency is not foreign owned, but in todays global corporate world it is a moot point anyway. Serviceman don't care about such things as who owns what. What they do care about is getting the right equipment at the right time, that doesn't breakdown and is supported adequately. At the moment the only time this happens is when equipment is bought off the shelf using an Urgent Operational Requirement.

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    Apologies and condolonces....I was reminded that Sybil the latest Downing Street mouser died 6 days ago following a short illness.

    Hers was but a brief stay in residence (2007-2009) but strangely reminiscent of other female whose shadows have crossed that hallowed portal.

    Surely Ms Harman's plea for more females to take up top jobs in government has been was simply a request for a replacement cat. Did our vile and venal press, devoid of summer column fillers get it so wrong?

    Or is the truth really that Sybil, like the rats leaving the sinking ship, has passed away in timely fashion...I'll let you decide.

  • Comment number 55.


    Very interesting stuff, but to be honest, has it ever been any different?

    I am (sadly) longer in the tooth than you and can remember countless occasions in the last 30 or so years where through incompetance, mis-management, indecision etc etc. by the MoD, military procurements have wound up months late, millions over budget, or unfit for the job they were intended for - and usually all three.

    How Liam Fox could stand in front of the camera and pretend that all this mismanagement happened over the last 12 years (so that would take us back to - you've guessed it - 1997, when his lot lost power) is frankly incredible. The nonsense policians spout, and expect us to believe is frankly beyond belief.

    I feel pretty confident that if you made the same investigations 20 years hence, under a different regime, you will find the same old same old going on again.

  • Comment number 56.

    "Protection can be put in place to ensure that the Procurement Agency is not foreign owned" - can it - really? I am not so sure given free trade, European procurement regs etc. I am pretty sure also that public might have a view on who owns our armed services - or should we privatise the army, navy and air force as well? Indeed, why not put GCHQ & MI6 out to tender while we are about it.

    Or is it possible that privatisation is not the answer? Is it just possible that some rather better management and political leadership might be in order... This is surely what we are talking about here.

  • Comment number 57.

    41 sagamix

    "looks like we've replaced a Blog (Nick's) where pretty much every clown in town slagged off the author, to one (Laura's) where the default response seems to be "great work girl, keep it up!" - usually, as far as I can see, with nothing much else added - I guess if nothing else, it adds weight to a lot of what H was saying the other day ..."

    I think there are also a lot of good posts on here about the defence procurement industry, many from what could be described as "informed sources" with first hand experience of the issues under discussion. I think it is worth mentioning these type of posts also, which are positively encouraged by the new style of blogs on here this week.

    I myself have extensive experience in this field, and generally recognise the picture being painted by Gray in his report. The government may not like the report but it is difficult to dismiss the points made.

    I get the feeling that you are not entirely happy and comfortable with dynamic, real world, unspun and factually based incisive reporting on this blog this week.

    It doesn't add any weight IMO to what Harriet Harman was saying the other day. I think Laura has earned the praise and comments on this blog through her ability and hardwork, and not the result of some quota based system as advocated by HH.

    If you think that HH is right on this one, then it is worth bearing in mind that even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  • Comment number 58.

    Ref 56. JonSHarvey

    I do agree that better management and political leadership is required - I just dont believe it is possible within the civil service. As with the point at 55, it hasnt happened in the last 30 years so can we ever expect it to happen? My personal experience is that dealing with the procurement and logistical agencies is like banging your head against the wall - just more painful.


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