THE UK MINISTRY OF DEFENCE (MoD) has spent £40,000 a year on finding out the time.
The Ministry of Defence should know the time. It is tasked with some important work. It is alarming that it spends so much money finding out the time.
We suggest that its staff might refer to the clocks on their computers or clocks on the internet, or perhaps it could just spend £40,000 on clocks to put in its offices.
Until now it has been relying on the soothing tones of the speaking clock, an anachronism from a time when smartphones and always-on connections were not ubiquitous. Each call to hear the time costs 30p.
According to the MoD people are phoning up the clock despite all efforts being made to bar them from doing so.
We can't comment on the lure of the vocals nor the timbre of the voice. We wish we could say with complete confidence that it is unlikely to be heard on telephones in the MoD offices again.
"While it is of course vital that MoD personnel based in different locations can access the exact time and make operational decisions, we recognise the need to reduce costs and are working to restrict access to the Speaking Clock," it said in a statement.
"A ban was introduced to our newest telephone network, but due to a technical error with an environmental monitoring system there has been some inadvertent spending on the speaking clock which has now been stopped. Overall spend on this has decreased from more than £15,000 in 2011 to just £6,000 this year since the ban was introduced." µ
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