Select Committee on Defence Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the Ministry of Defence on the Call out Order and Amendment 18 on TA Regulations

  The Call-out order is required so that members of the Reserve Forces can continue to be called out for permanent service in support of military operations in the former Yugoslavia and in the region of Iraq.

  The call out is the exercise of a legal power to require members of the reserve forces to attend for service. Since 1992, reservists have been called out to support operations in the former Yugoslavia and in the region of Iraq. Until March 1997, the power used to call out most reservists was Section 11 of the Reserve Forces Act 1980, namely: "when it appears to the Secretary of State that warlike operations are in preparation or progress". Officers of the Royal Naval Reserves were called out under a similar provision found in an Order in Council dated 18 May 1982.

  Since the Reserve Forces Act 1996 took effect on 1 April 1997, reservists have been called out under Section 54 of that Act. This section contains an equivalent power to Section 11 of the 1980 Act and the 1982 Order in Council. However, the legal procedures under the 1996 Act are simpler and it is no longer necessary to make a new Call-out Order for each call out; instead the Secretary of State can make an Order which authorises the call out of reservists for a period of up to 12 months. Call-out notices can then be sent throughout the period the Order is in force. The first Call-out Order under the 1996 Act was signed in April 1997.

  The current Order, signed in April 1998, has effect until 31 March 1999 and permits members of all the reserve forces to be called out, including members of the transitional class who have a lability under Section 11 of the 1980 Act. (The Transitional Class is comprised of reservists whose liabilities pre-date the 1996 Act). Although not a legal requirement, the Call-out Order also specifies a maximum number of reservists that may be called out at any one time. This ceiling is set at 1,000. It assumes that the requirement for Yugoslavia will remain at about 500 and also takes into account peaks during hand overs (most reservists serve six month periods in theatre). The ceiling also has a contingency margin should the situation in Iraq worsen. Currently, the total number of reservists called out is about 560. All volunteered to be called out.

  The Territorial Army Regulations 1978 provide for the command and administration of the Territorial Army and also many of the terms and conditions of service for the officers and soldiers of that force. Amendment 18 covers a wide range of subjects but most importantly it provides:

    the terms and conditions of service for Full Time Reserve Service (a new form of service introduced by Part III of the Reserve Forces Act 1996);

    guidance on making an appeal against call out to a Reserve Forces Appeal Tribunal (set up under Part IX of the 1996 Act);

    an update of the redress of appeals procedures; and making complaints to Industrial Tribunals taking into account the changes introduced by the Armed Forces Act 1996;

    appeals against a vetting decision; and raising complaints under the Pension Act 1995.

  The Amendment also covers a wide range of minor matters including the redesignation of certain units and changes to allowances and charges.

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