Met Office’s pathetic self justification and lack of attention to detail

This morning the ‘Met Office News Blog‘ published a post of self congratulation titled ‘A year in the life of the Met Office’ in a tame attempt to justify the ‘news’ (something already examined and trailed by this blog in early May) that its staff will benefit from £1.5m worth of bonus payments.

We learn from the Met Office’s blog post that their Annual Report and Accounts for this year have now been published and are available to view on their website.  However as of 12.30pm today all attempts to locate the said information have thus far failed. Accuracy is clearly not something synonymous with the Met Office so this is no great surprise. Nor is attention to detail given the latest news page was apparently last updated on 4 May 2011 even though it holds news releases as recent as 24 June.

We are also told via the blog though that commercial revenues are up £2.9m on last year to £32.2m for FY 2010/11. Interestingly we are also told that for the second year running, the Met Office has exceeded all of its Business Performance Measures, including its weather forecasting targets and business profitability.

One can only assume that the number of commercial customers who have contracts with the Met Office is not a factor in those business performance measures.  For this blog learned a month ago through a FOI request that the number of customers purchasing services from the Met Office fell from 1257 last year to 1178 in the year being reported in the accounts.  In fact, since 2008-9 the Met Office commercial customer base has shrunk by 17.3%.

While the Met Office is at pains to tell us their range of products and services has increased along with their forecasting quality (dubious doesn’t come close to describing that claim) the fact is the trend in confidence in the department is downward.  If their forecasting quality had improved why is it senior Met Office personnel have spent time in the media excusing their performance and saying they need yet more public money to increase their supercomputing capability?

And while the Met Office claims to have ‘accurately forecast 12 of the 13 big weather patterns that blasted the UK last winter and 80% of people surveyed said they were aware of the warnings we put out and 95% of those found the warnings useful‘ it is difficult to have confidence in such assertions when the Met Office’s claim that the public did not want seasonal forecasts was based on a sample of just 16 people – and its claim that it no longer does seasonal forecasts was shown by Met Office Board meeting minutes to be a lie.

When considering this last year in the life of the Met Office perhaps people will do well to take into account the reality rather than the spin emanating from Exeter, designed to head off questions about bonus payments – subsidised by the hard pressed and poorly served taxpayer – that are wholly unjustified.

5 Responses to “Met Office’s pathetic self justification and lack of attention to detail”

  1. 1 woodsy42 25/06/2011 at 1:35 pm

    It certainly pisses me off that a ‘business’ mostly paid for and funded by us taxpayers should be paying bonuses on the premise it has made a profit. Bonuses should be no part of any taxpayer supported organisation.

  2. 2 Martin Brumby 25/06/2011 at 2:35 pm

    It would be nice to think that those running Mystic Met (not forgetting Chaiman Robert Napier CBE, former World WildLies Fund Chief Executive), were a bit abashed at this arrant nonsense and their obviously specious claims.

    It might even be better if they were cynically giggling about it whilst realising in their hearts what a set of conmen and incompetents they really are.

    The sad fact seems to be that they believe their own bullshit and think they’ve done a great job and richly deserve their bonuses.

    One day they’ll look out of the ivory tower’s windows and see the peasants assembled, pitchforks and flaming torches at the ready.

  3. 3 Time Traveller 25/06/2011 at 2:42 pm

    I’m bemused to discover from today’s Telegraph that the Met employs a Head of Health Forecasting (I wonder how big that department is).

    He’s forecasting between 30 and 32C here over the weekend and issuing warnings of exceeding ‘trigger thresholds’ whatever they may be. Meanwhile, the Met Office site itself is showing a brief max of 25C on Monday. And even that will have changed by tomorrow..

    It beggars belief that we’ve flogged our energy and water interests abroad, all but shut down the useful bit of the MOD but still retain this shambles.

    Keep at ’em AM.

  4. 4 Tenjuan 25/06/2011 at 7:37 pm

    un dia

  5. 5 Brian H 26/06/2011 at 1:02 am

    It’s what happens when the only input accepted is your own output.

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