Top personnel general joined Capita months after firm won its Army recruiting IT contract

Hire was rubber-stamped by sleeping watchdog

The general overseeing British Army recruitment joined Capita shortly after the company won its "disastrous" Recruiting Partnership Programme (RPP) with the Ministry of Defence.

The Times has reported that Lieutenant General Sir Mark Mans applied to join the notorious outsourcing firm just two months after retiring in December 2012. Capita won the RPP contract in March that year.

As the Adjutant General of the Army, Lt Gen Mans had overall responsibility for all personnel matters throughout the fighting force.

The government's Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) waved through Mans' hiring by Capita in February 2013, stating at the time that "while Sir Mark had responsibility for the Army's strategic personnel policy as Adjutant General, he and the MoD have confirmed that he had no dealings with Capita or their competitors, or involvement in any decisions affecting them".

Acoba has been roundly and comprehensively criticised by the press, most notably Private Eye magazine, for allowing former public sector workers to join companies with a vested interest in squeezing cash out of their former departments. The body is supposed to block such appointments.

Lt Gen Tyrone Urch, the general currently in charge of personnel and recruiting matters, told Parliament in January that the Army will end this year 40 per cent below its recruiting targets, mainly because of problems with the RPP deal.

"We would take equal blame" with Capita for the contract's failure to ensure a steady flow of recruits, Lt Gen Urch told the Public Accounts Committee. Earlier this month the committee savaged Capita and the Army in a stinging report that described the whole RPP contract as "abysmal" and the Army as "naive" for entering into it. The whole thing was supposed to cost the taxpayer a total of £1.3bn between 2012 and 2022, though the Army has withheld £26m in contractual payments to Capita since 2012 thanks to the outsourcer's failures.

In 2017 El Reg revealed the scale of the failures caused when Capita's in-house Defence Recruiting System IT went live, with recruits left unable to join the Armed Forces and serving personnel wondering why the number of applications received had fallen off a cliff. ®

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