Waiving a Critical Design Review

'A Critical Design Review (CDR) is defined as a review to determine if the detailed system design meets the performance and engineering requirements (including safety) of development specifications. During CDR, the MoD must ensure that all design areas are adequately examined, that design weaknesses are identified, and that solutions for design-related problems are available. The MoD must use the results of the CDR to assess the readiness of the system to progress to the next acquisition phase. The design reviews and associated testing of design features let the MoD review the complete system design and evaluate its capability to satisfy total mission requirements, safely. The CDR should be effective and not rely on later production efforts to resolve design deficiencies'.

The attached minute outlines a typical scenario from 1998, whereby a (non-technical) line manager waived the CDR for the Aircraft Installation Design, yet made full payment against a milestone which required the CDR to be conducted satisfactorily. That was fraud by misrepresentation. That is, the act of agreeing payment must have involved making a false declaration that the work had been completed. Moreover, he had no technical or financial approval delegation to sign for either the CDR or milestone. It can be seen the known deficiencies which he waived were entirely safety related and the airworthiness audit trail was broken by his actions.

It says much that the engineering Programme Manager was forced to place his concerns in writing, copied to an Assistant Director. This indicates local resolution had proved impossible, with the engineer overruled on matters of engineering design and safety.

It says even more that the Director, Director General and Chief of Defence Procurement ruled that the decision to waive the CDR was correct; that there was no obligation to follow the mandated regulations designed to ensure physical and functional safety and financial probity. Please note the management chain:

· AD/HP1 was the Chinook HC Mk2 and Mk3 Project Director

· DGAS2 was the 2 Star charged with management oversight of, for example, Chinook HC Mk3 and Nimrod MRA4

That these staffs completely ignored such a pointed warning, especially only 4 years after Mull of Kintyre, is entirely typical of the conduct discussed here. Not only that, but they used the robustness of such advice to justify disciplinary action against the officer who notified them. Perhaps even worse, this management ethos extended to Chinook HC Mk3 (which the Public Accounts Committee called 'the gold standard cock-up') and Nimrod MRA4 (cancelled at a cost exceeding £4Bn).

4.2.1 Waiving of Critical Design Review and payment without carrying out work 4.6.98.pdf