The Call out
2. The Call out Order was laid before Parliament
on 8 April 1998. The Minister of State for the Armed Forces made
the Order stating that
... under Section 54(7) of
the Reserve Forces Act 1996, I am reporting that a Call out Order
has been made under section 54(1) authorising the calling out
of members of the Royal Fleet Reserve, Royal Naval Reserve, Royal
Marines Reserve, The Army Reserve, The Territorial Army, the Royal
Air Force Reserve and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force.
The Order further notes that
The reservists are required to support operations
in former Yugoslavia and in the region of Iraq.
3. The 1998 Order provides for the call out of 1,000
Reservists. The breakdown
of this figure by Service was given to us in a note by the MoD.
Most of these will be specialists
although there is also an increasing need for Infantrymen.
We were told that the requirement for the region of Iraq was specifically
for one interpreter.
If more Reserves are required, for example to support any Regular
forces which might be deployed in Kosovo, we were told a further
Order would not strictly be needed, but we were given assurances
by the MoD that Parliament would be informed in the event of a
further call out.
4. We note that the present Call out Order requires
reservists for seven months, six of which are in theatre.
Although this does not present problems for the majority of reservists,
our witnesses recognised that for some occupationsin particular
medicinemobilisation for this period of time can be problematic.
Whilst we appreciate that the first principle of the Call out
is the operational requirement, we look to the MoD to give sympathetic
consideration to shorter mobilisation periods for personnel in
5. This is the second Call out Order to be issued
under the Reserve Forces Act 1996the first having been
laid in April 1997and
therefore it is still a relatively new procedure. The call out
of Reserves before the enactment of the Reserve Forces Act 1996
was authorised under section 11 of the Reserve Forces Act 1980.
Procedures under the 1980 Act were established during the Cold
War when the call out for the Reserves was designed for a mass
mobilisation to support the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) in
the event of a Warsaw Pact assault on NATO countries. Our witnesses
from the MoD told us that the old system
... presumed that if there
was a crisis when Reserves would be needed, they would be needed
suddenly and in large numbers. If you like, the system was geared
to there being a large on-off switch, and the legislation was
geared to throwing the switch from the off position to the on
position in a hurry. Clearly with the collapse of the bi-polar
world, and a change in the sort of military operations in which
Britain might become involved, that was inappropriate.
6. Experience of post Cold War call outs in Bosnia
and the Gulf exposed the shortcomings of the existing legislation,
prompting our predecessors, in their Report on the Reserve Forces,
to declare that it was 'untidy, complex and inconsistent'
and that 'the most pressing need for revision stems from the new
wider roles earmarked for the Reserves.'
7. Assessments of the experience of the working of
the new legislation so far have been favourable. Brigadier Holmes
argued that 'in terms of legislation RFA 96 [The Reserve Forces
Act 1996] is about right and apart from minor tweaks it is pretty
well there.' However
he endorsed the view that there would always be room for improvement
... what we are now seeing
is the process of making it work, using regulations to make it
work, seeing what the advantages and disadvantages are, and the
practical implications of using that new legislation.
One of the practical implications of using the legislation
thrown up by the experience of the first Call out Order was the
question of the best way to mobilise those volunteers called out.
Both the Army Personnel Centre in Glasgow and the Chain of Command
have been used; the latter now being the preferred option.
The process of issuing a Call out Order starts with the Director
of Military Operations, who assesses the requirements for an operation.
He will pass these requirements on to Land Command, whose task
it is to provide them. If this is to include Reservists, the requirement
be trawled through the Chain of Command.
8. In practice, the requirement for Reservists will
then appear at the unit level, with the commanding officer of
that unit explaining the requirement to his soldiers and asking
who would be interested.
The notice will
... say vacancies are for
a particular deployment and this comes out on a large list saying
what individuals they are after, what jobs they will be doing
and what the rank range required is. This comes through the chain
of command to unit level so that individuals have the opportunity
of assessing whether the prospect appeals to them.
There are two considerations to be taken into account
when selecting volunteers; first, the tasks they are being asked
to undertake; and second, the quality and skill level of those
volunteering. To ensure that those who go will be able to perform
their duties, there is a form of vetting in which commanding officers
will have an 'unofficial list' of who might be asked.
Furthermore, we were told, it is at this level that a commanding
officer will be able to weed out those who volunteer but who would
not make the grade.
9. We were assured that, wherever possible, the MoD
will seek to ensure that the reservist will undertake the tasks
that they volunteered to perform. Brigadier Holmes readily admitted
that, 'If we send somebody out to do a particularly skilled job
and they finish off painting Landrovers they are not going to
be pleased, and the fact that they are not pleased will reflect
on the likelihood of other members of their unit to volunteer.'
10. We asked our witnesses what further improvements
they believed could be made to the call out process. Brigadier
Holmes reiterated that, on the whole, the system was working well.
However, with respect to pre-deployment training, the MoD had
identified room for improvement. The main difficulty they experienced
was 'that we have had to do pre-deployment training and mobilisation
preparation on a rather ad hoc basis'. As a result the
MoD has decided to establish a Reserves Training and Mobilisation
Centre which, when it is up and running, will provide mobilisation,
focussed training and demobilisation training.
We very much welcome the announcement of the establishment
of a mobilisation centre, and look forward to receiving further
details from the MoD when the final decisions are made.
11. Brigadier Holmes stressed the importance of the
mobilisation centre to establish best practice for regular contact
between the chain of command, mobilised territorials and reservists'
employers. This, he admitted, is an area in which we have, so
far, been weak. Brigadier
Smales added that while the first commanding officer, who would
set the organisation up, would be a regular officer, he could
see 'no reason why a TA officer, properly qualified and recommended,
should not command the mobilisation centre' and believed that
such a development would be 'desirable'.
We welcome the MoD's readiness to consider a reservist commanding
officer for the proposed Mobilisation Centre and believe that
such an appointment would enhance the links between the chain
of command, mobilised reservists and employers.
12. We note that the annual capacity for the new
Training and Mobilisation Centre is planned to be 3,000.
This figure has implications for the level of future expectations
about numbers and roles of the Reserves; an issue that we intend
to explore in more depth in our forthcoming Report on the government's
Strategic Defence Review.
13. On the whole, we conclude that the new procedures
for calling out Reserves are working well, and we welcome the
open-minded approach taken by the MoD to implementing further
improvements. In particular, we welcome the initiatives to improve
the administration of the Call out Order and will monitor the
effect of these initiatives under future Orders.
Army Regulations 1978 - Supplement to Amendment 18
14. 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.'
They explain in detail such things as how long people can join
for, how they get promoted and what benefits they can get. They
also deal with discipline and are cross referenced to both the
Army Act and the Queen's Regulations.
As Brigadier Holmes explained, the regulations are, in effect,
the 'Bible for the Reserves'.
15. The supplement to Amendment 18 was laid before
Parliament on 24 March 1998. It brings the Regulations up to date,
following the introduction of the Reserve Forces Act 1996, by
extending benefits enjoyed by the Regular Army to members of the
Territorial Army while on attachments to the Regular Army. Benefits
include membership of the Army Officers' Dependants Fund
and the Soldiers' Dependants Fund. 
Both are charitable funds which pay a nominated dependant a one-off
tax free sum of money in the event of death, irrespective of cause.
The sums paid out are about £8,000 if married and £5,500
if single, and are usually paid out to the nominee within 48 hours
16. Supplement to Amendment 18 also provides information
and advice on types of insurance cover that members of the TA
should have. This includes personal accident insurance to cover:
loss of earnings in the event of death; sport, adventurous training
and challenge pursuits; inter unit and sub unit competitions,
as these are not covered by the TA sports Control Board insurance
cover; kit; and loss of clothing and equipment if the individual
is found liable and negligent.
17. It also advises members of the TA to check life
policies to ensure that they will retain cover while on military
duties of any nature.
Brigadier Smales told us that
In 1991 it was realised that
in the TA as well as the regular army individuals needed to be
advised to make provisions for personal insurance in various fields
but particularly against death or disability, because the benefits
to which they would be entitled if they died while on duty, while
they would get them, would by no means equate with what they might
be earning in civilian life.
18. We note that MoD are also engaged in strongly
marketing RPAX, the Reserves' element of the Army Insurance Scheme.
The take-up of this scheme is lowonly 591 members of the
Territorial Army have actually signed upalthough recently
MoD has experienced an increase in demand.
Whilst we appreciate that members of the Territorial Army may
well have private insurance arrangements, we look to the MoD
to continue its work in ensuring that all Reservists are aware
of the need for adequate insurance cover.
Change 1 to
the Regulation for the Royal Naval Reserve (BR60)
19. The Regulations for the Royal Naval Reserve are
essentially the Royal Naval Reserve's equivalent to the Territorial
Regulations providing terms and conditions for the Royal Naval
Reservists. The change was introduced in May 1997 to take account
of the Reserve Forces Act 1996.
Brigadier Holmes explained that the Royal Naval Reserves are organised
on a series of lists.
The introduction of BR60 removed the last two lists, Lists 7
and 8. This created
the impression that members of University Royal Naval Units (URNUs)
and the Sea Cadets ceased effectively to be members of the Royal
20. The purpose of the change is formally to restore
the status of the University Royal Naval Units and the Sea Cadets
while retaining their exclusion from any call out obligation.
We welcome of this common-sense approach to the Regulations
which will maintain the formal link between the Royal Naval Reserve
and universities and schools.
21. This Committee has taken a keen interest in the
Reserve Forces over the course of this Session. Their contribution
to our defence will be a subject of close scrutiny in our inquiry
into the Strategic Defence Review, upon which we shall be reporting
1 Second Report, Session 1997-98, The Draft Visiting
Forces and International Headquarters (Application of Law)(Amendment)
Order 1998, HC 521, para 12 Back
Ev p 1 Back
QQ 1469-1550 Back
The Call out Order Back
Ev p 1 Back
Ev p 13 Back
Q 1481 Back
Q 1482-3 Back
Q 1544 Back
Q 1502 Back
Q 1496 Back
Q 1497 Back
Q 1472 Back
22 May 1996 Back
Q 1471 Back
Twelfth Report, Session 1994-95, The Reserve Forces, HC65,
para 46 Back
Q 1530 Back
QQ 1473-4 Back
Q 1475 Back
Q 1474 Back
Q 1475 Back
Q 1490 Back
Q 1476 Back
QQ 1489-1494 Back
Q 1494 Back
Q 1508 Back
Q 1493 Back
Ev p 1 Back
Q 1535 Back
Q 1470 Back
Formally the Army Officers' Widows and Widowers Fund Back
Formally the Soldiers' Widows and Widowers Fund Back
Territorial Regulations 1978, para 3.050 and 3.050A Back
Q 1536 Back
Territorial Regulations 1978, para 3.045-3.048 Back
ibid, para 3.049 Back
Q 1543 Back
List 1: Seagoing Merchant Navy Deck Officers who serve in the
Amphibious Warfare sub-branch; List 2: RNR Air Branch officers
and ratings; List 3: the 'principal' RNR List for trained officers
or ratings, or those under training or in support of RTC training
or administration; List 4: the 'principal' RNR List for trained
officers or ratings, or those unable to meet a List 3 commitment;
List 5: Officers and ratings not required by their RTC CO or otherwise
unable to meet a List 4 commitment; List 6: a 'holding' List for
personnel unable to meet any training commitment for in excess
of one year but for no longer than three years Back
University Royal Naval Units, URNUs Back
Sea cadets Back