Select Committee on Defence Written Evidence

Supplementary memorandum from the Ministry of Defence

  1.  This memorandum aims to provide the House of Commons Defence Committee with additional information in respect of their inquiry into Recruitment and Retention in the Armed Forces. It provides responses to the questions posed in the HCDC Clerk's letter of 25 April 2008.


How the MoD Plans to co-ordinate its recruiting and outreach activities in schools (Q233)

  2.  MoD's Youth Policy (2006) recognised three pillars supporting Defence non-recruiting Youth activity; Cadets, Partnership and youth work, and Curriculum activities. All three pillars engage with schools along side a considerable single Service recruiting presence. Engagements occur on site and outside school premises for instance as visits to MoD sponsored Museums and Agencies and Service establishments.

  3.  Our overall rationale for engaging with schools is to encourage good citizenship, provide an environment which raises awareness of the MoD and Armed Forces among young people, provide positive information to influence future opinion formers, and to enable recruiters to access the school environments. Our engagement demonstrates active support for Government Youth Policies and provides skill development for young people in schools.

  4.  The impact of not engaging schools is not easy to measure but would result in reduced awareness and understanding of the work of the MoD and Armed Forces, with potential implications for recruitment. There would also be wider negative implications relating to cross-Government policies by reducing communications with students in ethnic minority groups.

  5.  A short review of Defence engagement with schools in 2006 indicated that, whilst much was going on, there appeared to be insufficient co-ordination, lack of central management and little prioritising of those activities. Not enough had been done to distance "recruiting" from other "youth and cadet" activities. USofS therefore asked for a further survey to provide accurate information on the range of activity, assess the degree of co-ordination between activity providers, review the focus of the work and suggest future MoD school curricular policy to make best use of resources available.

  6.  In order to inform the review, schools and providers were surveyed to establish the extent of contact and value they derived. A wider range of activities than expected was identified across the whole range of types of schools and colleges. The principal providers of school activities, in order of volume (year 2006-07) were Single Service teams (mostly recruiters), Cadet organisations (Combined Cadet Force and Army Cadet Force principally), Defence Schools Presentation Team, MoD Agencies and Museums and PUS's Outreach programme.

  7.  Feedback from teachers and activity providers identified a number of key elements which could allow MoD to achieve its aims. These include the provision of topical curriculum materials reflecting current activities, well-trained and motivated personnel to work in the school environment who can communicate Defence messages and act as good role models, good publicity, advertising and marketing materials with a clear MoD educational brand, a central MoD information facility to advise schools on resources available, and also feedback and sharing of "best practise" among MoD providers. Schools desire longer term programmes and links. Greater co-ordination of activity across MoD, Agencies, Museums and Armed Forces with clearer policies and working strategies was also suggested.

  8.  The main points emerging from analysis of these findings were:

    a.  A commendably wide range and good balance of MoD activities was found, delivered by a broad range of providers, each with a different emphasis. They reflect many years of experience in schools: Highly committed and altruistic personnel provide an effective base from which recruiters can work.

    b.  The greatest single weakness appeared to be a lack of overarching policy for engaging schools through curricular activity. Whilst many schools can access all activities, some do not (or cannot) access any at all, often because teachers are not generally aware of the support available from Defence sources. Awareness (through curriculum work) needs to be separated clearly from recruiting. There are instances of lack of long term planning for activities and insufficient co-ordination in a number of areas (marketing, sharing experiences, communicating key Defence messages and evaluation of feedback).

    c.  There is potential to increase our engagement and effect. Increasing demand for more engagement from teachers and several new national curriculum initiatives could enable us to increase our footprint in schools. Wider use can be made of new media: websites, blogs, podcasts etc. Government initiatives would support increased communication with students from ethnic minority backgrounds.

    d.  The principal threat to engagement would be withdrawal or reduction of funding for activities and reduction in number of civilian or military staff to engage in schools. Lack of long-term commitment might also unbalance activities and lose goodwill. Unpopularity of operational activities might deter involvement of some schools or commitment by their teaching staff.

  9.  The school engagement survey has identified a number of areas where the MoD could get more effect from our engagement in schools. These can be incorporated in the revised curricular aspects of youth policy. Key proposals include establishing clearer MoD-wide governance of MoD school engagements and defining the accountability and responsibilities of providers, and better co-ordination between "awareness" programmes and "recruiting" activities to achieve a better separation of the two initiatives. Direct recruiting activity and recruiting oriented youth engagements should be distinguishable from curricular "awareness" and youth programmes. MoD will be considering this and other proposals in more detail shortly.

The number and the proportion of invitations to the Armed Forces by a) private and b) state schools (Q256)

  10.  The Services keep records of the number of school visits they make rather than the number of invitations. This information is provided in the table below.
StatePrivate Ratio
UK Secondary Schools6,400 2,4002.6:1
Royal Navy visits (2006-07)4,000 37010:1
Army visits (2007-08)3,982 29913:1
RAF visits (Sep 2006-Sep 2007)2,350 2659:1

What consideration the MoD has given to conducting school visits on a tri-Service basis (Q312)

  11.  The MoD does undertake tri-Service visits to schools when invited to do so. However, whilst it may appear efficient to have tri-Service visits for similar Armed Forces elements that draw from the same interest groups eg medical, logisticians, infantry, in practice, experience indicates that the best recruiting results are achieved through separate visits which present a clear choice of Service/environment to the audience.

  12.  In addition, co-ordinated school visits involving representative from all three Service would tie up more staff and restrict our ability to engage with a greater number of schools. In turn this would reduce our opportunity to raise awareness of the MoD and the Armed Forces amongst young people and future opinion formers.

The relationship between the Forces and career guidance co-ordinators in schools, including details on:

—  How the Services differ in their provision of support to schools; and

—  How consistency in coverage and practice is monitored

  13.  Engagement with schools is common across the three Services. It takes the following form:

    a.  The development of effective working relationships between the single Service careers advisers in local schools and colleges through direct contribution to National Curriculum support through the core subjects including Maths and Science and also Citizenship. This may take the form of the provision of presentations on human rights and humanitarian aid, or assistance with leadership development tasks, working with others and problem solving. Maintenance of these relationships is considered vital to encourage repeated invitations to visit.

    b.  Recruiting literature is made available on request and is also provided, with the schools permission, in the careers library. Teachers and pupils can download careers advice from the single Service Web or visit the Careers Office direct.

    c.  Formal MoD programmes through the Connexions Service and Jobcentre Plus. The Armed Forces Career Offices also support the Universities and Colleges Admission Service and Connexion stands at their events In return UCAS and Connexions are invited to run stands/caravans at Armed Forces recruiting fairs.

    d.  The Pan-Defence initiative, Defence Dynamics which provides an online teaching resource that supports elements of the National Curriculum.

    e.  The RAF also offers support to the Teaching Awards Trust through "The RAF Award for Head teacher of the Year in a Secondary School", securing visibility of the Service with key gatekeepers through television coverage.

  14.  The Armed Forces cannot guarantee consistency in respect of geographical coverage as some schools and Local Education Authorities are more supportive of the military than others. However, all three Services share best practice through normal communication at Armed Forces Careers Offices and at regular conferences.

Naval Service

  15.  Consistency is based on: local knowledge and experience of the Naval careers staffs, feedback received from schools and the teaching of careers doctrine at the RN School of Recruiting compliance with which is checked biennially by standards advisory visits. In April 2008, Captain Naval Recruiting commenced a six-month informal data collection process to gather additional information from all Armed Forces Careers Offices and Officer Careers Liaison Centres to inform measurement of effectiveness of school visits together with marketing success and recruits' awareness of the Naval core values. It is too early to report results.


  16.  The Army has a long history of engagement with educational authorities and establishments. The Local Education Authorities links are important to ensure that they can be made fully aware of Army activities and give their support to the Service's direct engagement with schools and colleges. A new school/college link is initiated by a Careers Adviser writing to the head teacher. Existing links are maintained by personal visits and termly newsletters detailing curriculum support available, upcoming events and points of contact for further information and careers advice.


  17.  Although a standard presentation is used for general careers briefings to ensure consistency, the RAF also offer a bespoke service when requested by individual establishments for example where a school advises that a number of its students are interested in officer career options the Schools Career Liaison Officer or Armed Forces Career Office Officer Commanding will normally present and tailor the presentation accordingly. Quality Assurance is maintained through the normal command chain as external assessors are not employed although feedback is sought from each educational establishment following a visit.


The numbers of Cadets in each Service, including:

i.   data for the last 10 years; and

ii.  numbers of Cadets in schools in a) England, b) Wales, c) Scotland and d) Northern Ireland (Q 236-38)

  18.  The strength of the various cadet forces since 1997 is as follows:

YearSea Cadets Army CadetsAir Cadets Combined Cadet Force
199715,16139,827 32,918Not available
199815,23740,692 33,499Not available
199914,49742,114 33,94340,012
200014,36142,491 33,59240,551
200113,77140,639 33,28140,783
200213,59642,486 33,92240,970
200313,31044,471 34,09941,267
200412,87944,391 32,39441,908
200512,28044,793 31,10142,461
200612,73844,426 30,69542,032
200712,43844,604 29,98142,593

  There is no specific reason for the reduction in the number of Sea and Air Cadets other than young people exercising choice and the number have stabilised over the last couple of years. Overall, it is believed that Cadet figures hold up well as they are still relative to the size of the eligible population.

  19.  The numbers of Combined Cadet Forces in England, Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland are:
YearEngland ScotlandWales Northern IrelandTotal
Regional breakdown not available
200036,2782,694 5301,04940,551
200136,5512,544 6011,08740,783
200236,5792,651 5961,14440,970
200336,9262,602 6181,12141,267
200437,6242,536 6291,11941,908
200538,1052,543 6431,17042,461
200637,7162,552 6741,09042,032
200738,3002,565 6451,08342,593

The improvements which the MoD would like to see in the co-ordination between Cadet Forces, including detail on how the MoD plans to achieve these improvements (Q 310)

  20.  Areas for improvements to cross-Cadet Force coordination range from the high level policy, governance and how the cadet experience is delivered (be it through Combined Cadet Forces, community based units or Schools partnering), to use of shared facilities, and easing the administration for Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (documentation, management systems and achieving a minimum of MoD policy, regulation, process and governance as applied to cadet forces).

  21.  MoD recognises the need for better co-operation at the working level. To that end, last year the first set of joint regulations were introduced with the intention of greater harmonisation and utilisation of assets at the working level. We continue to improve harmonisation; for example, use of a common driving permit across the Cadet Forces. This will be taken forward through the many forums that support the Cadet Force programme.

The numbers of Cadets from ethnic minorities over the last 10 years

  22.  No data is held on the number of Cadets from ethnic minorities. The Cadet Forces offer all young people regardless of their ethnic background the opportunity to have a positive impact on the local community, while developing personal skills and building confidence. The Cadet Forces are open to all races, creeds, religions, social classes, and degrees of ability and disability, therefore there has never been a requirement to collect data on any proportion or percentage of any minority group in any of the Cadet Forces.

How the Sea Cadets £8.3 million grant was spent during the last financial year (Q314)

Marine Society & Sea Cadets Analysis of MoD Grant 2007-08 Pre-auditPrepared 1/5/08
£ £
Supporting Sea Cadet Activity and infrastructure
Area staffing—logistics, inspections & admin 1,244,987
MoD recharged items (clothing, vehicles etc) 429,630
Volunteer registration, CRB and support for units 316,104
Project Westminster development & support costs 305,528
Project Westminster Unit grants 100,379
Grants to cover unit electrical inspections 123,033
Uniform allowances87,185
Sea Cadet Corps training
Onshore schools running costs & allowances 2,049,404
Area event costs and direct training support 1,140,292
National Events964,330
HQ and area training support 534,462
Area supported training 120,060
Offshore Fleet
TS Royalist436,982
Offshore support costs & travel 282,361
TS John Jerwood208,961
2 Yachts81,211
Promoting Sea Cadet activity
Support costs & governance
HQ salaries (Chief Exec/ Finance/ IT/Co Sec/ Personnel/ Premises/ Print/ Reception) 587,095
Buildings maintenance and depreciation 100,790
Utilities & telephone 60,341
Staff training and recruitment 33,800
Total 9,978,429
MoD grant received
Balance of fundingFunded through donations, grants received, fees charged and other income 1,342,454


The numbers of Reserves from ethnic minorities over the last 10 years

  23.  The most recent work conducted by the Defence Analytical Services Agency on ethnicity was in July 2006. The following ethnic proportions were calculated as a percentage of those personnel for whom records of ethnic origin were held:
Royal Navy Reserve2.8%
Royal Marine Reserve2.7%
Territorial Army4.7%
Royal Auxiliary Air Force3.1%

  24.  The ability to analyse Reserve data held on the Joint Personnel Administration system is in its infancy and Defence Analytical Services Agency is not currently be able to answer this question as the ethnicity data held on the pre-Joint Personnel Administration legacy systems was not fully populated. However Joint Personnel Administration provides the ability to record ethnicity and the MoD is working closely with Defence Analytical Services Agency to ensure in the future that we can meet our obligation to monitor ethnic minorities.

What measures have the MoD put in place to improve the leadership in the Reserves, following the National Audit Office's 2006 study into the Reserve Forces

  25.  The National Audit Office report into the Reserve Forces noted that in focusing on retention the Department should ensure that the leadership of Reservists at all levels is of a high quality. This Recommendation, aimed at strengthening and developing retention within the Volunteer Reserves, has been taken forward vigorously. Specific actions from within the single Services are as follows:

Royal Navy

  26.  A Command Leadership and Management team is working with the Royal Naval Reserve, and the aspiration is to deliver identical Command Leadership and Management training as the Royal Navy—but constrained by the practicalities of Man Training Days limitations and funding. As part of the Reserves Integration Project, all Career Management of both the Royal Naval Reserve and the Royal Marine Reserve has been brought under the control of the Regulars, with promotion boards run in a similar way to the same criteria and timelines.

    Royal Naval Reserve:

    a.  Since 2006 all Royal Naval Reserve Leading Hands and Petty Officers are required to successfully complete the Command Course for their respective ranks. This is a two week Command Leadership and Management Course delivered with and alongside their Regular colleagues.

    b.  Royal Naval Reserve Junior Officers conduct their New Entry Training at Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth in the same environment as their Regular Service colleagues.

    c.  Each Reserve Training Unit has a nominated Command, Leadership and Management Officer whose responsibility is to conduct training serials and provide development opportunities within their Unit.

    Royal Marine Reserve:

    a.  All Royal Marine Reserve Corporals and Sergeants are required to successfully complete the Command Course for their respective ranks. These two week Command Courses are run by the lead school—Command Training Centre Royal Marines. In 2008 a modularised version of the eight week regular course will be implemented. This course will be tailored to the Royal Marine Reserve requirement but reflect the regular syllabus. The two week exercise will remain as a test exercise. This revised course will significantly increase the amount of command training at the respective ranks.

    b.  Royal Marine Reserve Warrant Officers' attend the regular Royal Marine Warrant Officers' course.

    c.  All Royal Marine Reserve Young Officers attend the Territorial Army Commissioning Course. This was implemented in 2007 as the optimum training solution to cater for the small numbers of New Entry Officers. On successful completion Royal Marine Reserve Officers follow the Royal Marine Reserve Officer Career Development Syllabus.


  27.  The following measures are intended to contribute to improving leadership within the Territorial Army:

    a.  The Review of Soldier's Career Training and Education included a Leadership Workstrand, under which scoping work on a Command Leadership and Management (Volunteer) package for the Territorial Army has been completed. Further work is required before the proposal can be implemented.

    b.  An improved Officer Career Development scheme has been introduced.

    c.  Improvements have been made to promotion and command selection boards to ensure they are impartial, fair and open.

    d.  Four additional Territorial Army One Star officers have been appointed as assistant commanders of the regional divisions and Theatre Troops specifically to improve Territorial Army leadership within the chain of command.

Royal Air Force

  28.  The following measures are intended to improve leadership levels in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force:

    a.  An overhaul of the Reserve Officer Initial Training course is complete and the first delivery of this new learning solution is underway. Reservist officers will be expected to demonstrate the same leadership competences as their regular colleagues in order to graduate.

    b.  Command Leadership and Management training for Non Commissioned Officers, on each successive promotion, has been delivered alongside Regulars at the Airmen's Command School at RAF Halton for over 10 years.

    c.  Formal, prioritised access for Royal Auxiliary Air Force officers to the RAF's staff training process was authorised in 2006. This permitted access to Individual Staff Studies Course, Junior Officers Command Course and Advanced Command Staff Course (Air). However, recognising that the four week duration of Individual Command Staff Course (Air) would prevent many Volunteer Reserve officers attending, the RAF has designed a 15 day Initial Command and Staff Course (Air)-Reserve course to deliver the key objectives of Individual Command Staff Course (Air). A pilot version was run in 2007, and annual deliveries are now scheduled in the Defence Academy, RAF Division Programme.

    d.  Provision of Professional Military Development for Reservists has been fully embraced within the Review of Officer and Airman Development Integrated Project Team; this will enable all reservist officers to attend/achieve exactly the same training objectives as their regular colleagues—at the same time and same venue—up to the rank of Squadron Leader.


Army recruitment figures in Scotland, before and after the merger of the Royal Regiment of Scotland (Q 264)

  29.  The table below shows the figures recruited into Scottish Regiments for the four years prior to amalgamation and for the two years afterwards[47]. Recruits are enlisted into the Regiment and assigned to Battalions during training therefore the figures in the tables below show those numbers that have completed training.

Scottish Entrants from 2002-03 to 2005-06
Battalion02/03 03/0404/05 05/06
Royal Scots7956 4937
Royal Highland Fusiliers97 855758
Kings Own Scottish Borderers47 604842
Black Watch6688 6958
Highlanders5359 7053
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders85 724645
Total427420 339293

From 28 Mar 2006 to 2006-07 to 2007-08 (3rd Quarter) SCOTS Formed
Battalion 06/07 Apr- Dec 07
1 SCOTS 6147
2 SCOTS 4736
3 SCOTS 5837
4 SCOTS 3117
5 SCOTS 6243
Total 259180

Note:  The final column cannot be compared with other figures because it does not represent a full year

  30.  The number of individuals recruited to the Army as a whole through an Armed Forces Careers Office or Army Careers Information Office in Scotland in 2006-07 was 1,073 compared with 1,108 during 2005-06.

Armed Forces position on recruiting and retaining gay men and lesbians, including numbers of Service personnel discharged because of sexual orientation over the last five years

  31.  Sexual orientation is regarded as a private life matter and Service personnel are free to choose whether or not to disclose their sexual orientation. However, individuals who choose to disclose their sexual orientation can do so without risk of discrimination or harassment.

  32.  The Armed Forces have adopted a number of strategies to attract potential lesbian and gay personnel. These include membership of Stonewall's Diversity Champions Programme for the RN and RAF; participation by Service personnel in Gay Pride events and establishing working relationships with other public and private sector organisations. Advertisements for recruitment into the Armed Forces have also been placed in the Gay press and in recruitment guides aimed at students. Articles about life in the Services have appeared in Gay lifestyle magazines including "Pride Life" and "Startingout".

  33.  Measures to retain serving gay and lesbian personnel include holding Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender forums and tri-Service conferences. Improvements have also been made to equality and diversity training and this has helped to tackle inappropriate attitudes and behaviour towards gay and lesbian personnel.

  34.  Armed Forces personnel who register a partnership under the terms of the Civil Partnership Act are afforded the same status category as married personnel and entitled to the same range of allowances and benefits as married personnel, including entitlement to occupy Service Family Accommodation.

  35.  In the last five years no Service personnel have been discharged because of their sexual orientation.

Work of the religious advisors from Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths and the civilian chaplains from those communities

  36.  The Armed Forces are engaged in top level communications with religious leaders (for example, in 2007 the Chief of the Defence Staff met with Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain and with Dr Khalid Ahmed, the High Sheriff of London). In addition, the Armed Forces again sponsored an award at the annual Muslim News Awards for Excellence and all three Services were well represented at the Awards dinner. Another positive venture was the Department's "We Were There" exhibition which aims to inform young people of the part played by soldiers of ethnic minority origin in the UK's military history. It has been a resounding success as it has been rolled out across the UK.

  37.  The Armed Forces have appointed Religious Advisers from the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths. They are not MoD employees, but act on a voluntary basis providing faith-specific advice on matters of religious requirements and ensuring that personnel from minority faiths receive appropriate pastoral and spiritual care. They assisted with the writing of our Guide on Religion and Belief, published in 2004 and in 2005 advised on the recruitment of the first Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh Civilian Chaplains to the Military. The position of the Jewish Religious Adviser is unusual in that, under long standing arrangements, he also acts as honorary officiating Chaplain for the Jewish faith.

  38.  The Civilian Chaplains to the Military provide faith specific spiritual, moral and pastoral advice and support to personnel and their dependants, including conducting or arranging for appropriate ceremonies/rites of passage, leading communal prayers and providing group teaching to members of their faith. Their role includes representing the faith-specific interests of Service personnel to the chain of command and fostering the spiritual life and identity of their own faith community within the Armed Forces. They also support the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces by developing the relationship between their faith community and the Armed Forces. They are not, however, attached to particular units and do not deploy on operations.

  39.  The Armed Forces are committed to giving all individuals the opportunity to practise their faith wherever possible. Every effort is made to allow personnel to celebrate religious festivals and holidays, to comply with specific religious dress codes or dietary requirements, and to fast when required. Members of the Armed Forces are normally allowed to fast and pray in circumstances where this would not jeopardise operational effectiveness or health and safety. Where practical, areas of worship are made available in all Service establishments, including ships and submarines and, in most circumstances, arrangements can be made for daily prayer. The Armed Forces cater for the religious dietary requirements of all Service personnel. Halal, Kosher and vegetarian meals can be provided by Service messes and are available in Operational Ration Packs for operations and exercises.

Voluntary Outflow for Ethnic Minority Personnel

  40.  Ethnic minority representation in the Armed Forces (UK and Commonwealth) has increased year-on-year since 1998, the year of the first partnership agreements with the Commission for Racial Equality and, as at 1 January 2008, stood at 6%[48].

  41.  Retention rates for ethnic minority personnel are broadly comparable to those of their white counterparts for both officers and other ranks. During 2006-07, the last financial year for which figures are available, ethnic minorities comprised 1.2% of overall officer voluntary outflow and 5.1% of overall other ranks voluntary outflow. However, care must be taken when making comparisons, particularly in the case of ethnic minority officers, where the numbers leaving are small.

  42.  A cohort analysis, which tracks retention of white and ethnic minority personnel, was developed as a more sophisticated means of measuring comparative ethnic minority retention and career progression. This involves identifying and tracking ethnic minority and white personnel who joined in 1997-98 and 1998-99 (the "cohorts") and comparing the number who leave or are promoted over time. The ethnic minority cohort used so far is small and may not be typical, but analysis to date has not revealed any major discrepancies in retention rates for ethnic minorities. In the longer-term, analysis of this cohort will provide a more sophisticated means of comparing promotion rates.

MoD plans to reduce voluntary outflow rates for women

  43.  Overall representation of women in the Armed Forces is increasing steadily if slowly and there are some positive signs, for example, the RAF female voluntary outflow rate is down over past year.

  44.  The higher rates of female departure reflect the trend in employment market generally. The Armed Forces offer a generous maternity package to provide supportive arrangements to enable women to accommodate pregnancy and maternity absence in their Service careers, however, women may choose to leave the Service prematurely on pregnancy and some do so.

  45.  The MoD aim is to remove barriers to longer female service and MoD is working to embed significant cultural change in Armed Forces. Our agreement with the Equal Opportunities Commission (which carries forward with Equality and Human Rights Commission) is an important agent for change. Work for the Equal Opportunities Commission outlined the existence of high levels of inappropriate or upsetting sexualised behaviour. Our action plan sets out our response. Awareness, training, monitoring and leadership are all being improved. This effort is being led from the top with personal commitment from the Chiefs of Staff all the way down command chain.

  46.  We are also looking to improve terms and conditions to enhance opportunities for career flexibility and work-life balance. A Terms and Conditions of Service project within the Service Personnel Plan is examining a range of options. It is recognised that access to childcare is a key element and we are about to complete an audit of childcare in MoD. This will compare provision across the Services and identify best practice models for subsequent implementation. We also introduced salary sacrifice arrangements to pay for childcare vouchers at the turn of the year, allowing Service personnel to avoid tax and national insurance payments on the cost of childcare. This can be worth up to £1,000 and over 1,800 military personnel are already on scheme.


The arrangements and practices for transferring within a Service or between the Services, including detail about uptake rates

  47.  The three Services recognise that where it is in the interests of both the Armed Forces and the individual it is logical to facilitate the transfer of individuals either between trades within a Service or between Services.

Royal Navy

  48.  Officers are able to request to transfer into another Branch/Specialisation. Each request is considered on its merits, in particular the state of the donor and receiving Specialisations (whether in balance/surplus/deficit), the individual's suitability, competences and likely employability, and any particular circumstances such as medical considerations which might, for example, mean that an individual cannot remain within the donor Specialisation. If the request is approved by both donor and receiving Specialisations then approval is given and appropriate action taken; if not then the individual will remain in their original Specialisation. Such transfers are seen as retention-positive and are used to manage Manning deficits where it is practical to do so and to retain individuals who might otherwise leave the Service.

  49.  For ratings there are two different types of transfer which apply to transfers within the Royal Navy: Branch Transfers—transfers into a Main Trade that is primarily filled by New Entry recruits, and Sideways Entry Transfers—transfers into Main Trades which are solely recruited from within the trained strength and usually have a first trained rank of Leading Hand or above. These Main Trades tend to have a higher Educational requirement and often have a longer training period.

  50.  Ratings can request to transfer into another Main Trade provided they meet the specific Educational and experience or skillset requirements. Each request is considered individually and consideration is given to the state of the donor Main Trade (whether it is in balance/surplus/deficit) and ultimately whether the rating can be spared from their current Main Trade. Consideration is then given to whether there is a requirement for another recruit in the receiving Main Trade. If the request is approved by both donor and receiving Main Trade approval is given and appropriate assignment action is taken. If the request is not approved a timescale to re-apply is usually given and the initial request will be taken into consideration when reviewing the application.

Statistics for 1 April 2007 to 31 Mar 2008
ApprovedNot Approved Grand Total
Branch Transfer15542 197
Sideways Entry13218 150
Total28760 347

  51.  Transfers between Services (including between the Royal Navy and Royal Marines) are based on similar principles but follow a Premature Discharge process. Each Service has differing terms and conditions of service therefore, before an individual signs up for the terms and conditions of service of the new Service, they must end the term for which they are serving with the first Service (prematurely, if necessary) and cease to be subject to the conditions of that Service before committing to a further term of service, under different conditions of service with the new Service. A letter of application is submitted by those wishing to transfer which, providing manning clearance is granted by the donor Service, is forwarded to the gaining Service. Providing the applicant satisfies the receiving Service's entry criteria (and successfully passes any selection procedure) and the receiving Service is accepting recruits, the transfer is approved.

  52.  The transferee will complete his existing engagement, there being no break in service and will remain subject to his current Pension scheme. He will retain a "Discharge As Of Right" (Premature Voluntary Release) but with no automatic right to return to the donor Service should he be found unsuitable during training.

Statistics for 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008
Transfers out of the Naval Service Transfers into the Naval Service
RN to RAF11RAF to RN 3
RN to Army9RAF to RM 2
RM to RM8Army to RN 19
RM to Army11Army to RM 28
Total39 Total52

  53.  In the same period there were 35 transfers from the RN to the RM and 11 from the RM to the RN.


  54.  Officer applications for transfer within and between Services are welcome. Individuals are required to write to respective heads of both the losing capbadge and the gaining capbadge, requesting permission to transfer. This is done in conjunction with the career manager. Once approval is given from each capbadge, Army Personnel Centre Deputy Military Secretary Occurrence Wing submits the application to the Arms Selection Board for internal transfer prior to subsequent endorsement by the Army Commissions Board and directly to the Army Commissions Board for inter-Service transfers.

  55.  For the year 2007-08 there were 13 inter-Army Officer transfers, four transfers from the Royal Navy, three transfers from the RAF and three transfers into the Army from the Australian Army. These statistics are extracted from the Army Commissions Board database but do not include all transfer statistics. The Army Commissions Board approves transfers of officers holding Regular Commissions between Arms and Services, transfers into the Army from the RAF and RN, and transfers in from Commonwealth Armed Forces. The authority to approve the transfer of officers holding Short Service and Intermediate Regular Commissions is delegated to Arms Selection Boards.

  56.  Soldier transfers are encouraged at unit level and are mainly aimed at those that have elected to discharge. Personnel interested in transfer or in leaving the Army are encouraged to attend a Transfer Fair, held twice a year by each Division and by the British Army in Germany. Uptake rate from these events is good, with over 500 successfully applying for transfer in the last financial year, and the process works effectively. At these Fairs all capbadges are represented along with the Other Services. Internal transfer timelines have been refined and an applicant could now be "re-badged" in as little as two months from applying. As soon as the applicant has been accepted for transfer, they are re-badged and sent on the appropriate trade training. On successful completion of that training, he/she is permanently changed to their new capbadge and posted to a unit. Unsuccessful applicants on any trade training are either given a second chance at their first choice of trade or offered transfer to another capbadge.

  57.  For the year 2007-08 there were 550 successful Soldier transfer applicants, 426 were rejected and 511 withdrawn. A full breakdown is shown in the following table:

Transfer Statistics 1 Apr 07—31 Mar 08

CorpsSuccessful RejectedWithdrawn
AGC (RMP)1720 28
AGC (SPS)2119 35
AGC (MPS)148 6
SASC110 19
R Signals2412 14
Intelligence Corps10 1113
RE2628 24
RAMC2144 27
REME4329 52
RAVC2822 24
RADC815 18
QARANC2374 13
RLC8271 52
AAC86 10
H Cav112 2
APTC3816 76
RA300 16
RAC223 2
R Irish (GS)60 3
Inf—Guards Div6 10
Inf—Kings Div6 02
Inf—Light Div15 06
Inf—Para153 14
Inf—PoW Div14 00
Inf—Queens Div11 04
Inf—Scots Div6 01
R Marines144 17
R Navy54 11
RAF1534 22
Total550426 511

  Each Arms and Service Director sets the entry requirement for his Arm/Corps which includes a trade test. These standards cannot be lowered and therefore there will always be a relatively high level of rejected transfer applicants. However, this does not prevent them being offered the chance of applying to transfer to another capbadge.


  58.  Officer applications for branch or specialisation transfer within the RAF are considered subject to manning circumstances at the time with clearance taking into account the aspirations of the individual and any other contributory factor. Other Rank Ground Trade branch transfers are encouraged subject to suitability and manning circumstances, with each application being considered on its own merits. Transfers are seen as retention-positive and are used to manage Critical Manning where it is practical to do so. Uptake is relatively low; in the last financial year, 36 applications were received, 21 were unsuccessful, 10 were successful and five remain ongoing. Unsuccessful applicants were due to individuals' not meeting educational, aptitudinal, medical or Service requirements.

  59.  Personnel wishing to apply for transfer to or from the RN, RM or Army apply to transfer under Single Service guidance. Applications are processed at unit level before being forwarded to their respective Manning Agency staffs for processing under tri-Service administrative procedures. The facilitation of the transfer is carried out by the Joint Personnel Administration Centre resulting in no break in reckonable Service.

  60.  Joint Personnel Administration does not record inter-Service transfers and so we do not have precise historical data of the number of transfers out of the RAF. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that between 50-60 other ranks transfer out per year (a similar figure transfer in), and a trawl of officer records for the past 12 months show that six ground branch officers and three aircrew officers transferred out. The RAF has gained 34 RN and Army aircrew and there are a further 52 applications waiting to be processed.

Whether any consideration has been given to raising the retirement age for certain Armed Forces personnel where compatible with operational considerations, and what the department's current position is on this issue

  61.  Although the Armed Forces require an age profile focussed on youth and physical fitness, consideration has been given to raising the retirement age for Armed Forces personnel. There is existing flexibility to employ individuals beyond age 55 and at 1 January 2008 330 Regulars, 295 Full Time Reserve Service personnel and 30 mobilised Reservists were serving beyond age 55.

Royal Navy

  62.  The current compulsory retirement ages will remain under scrutiny for both Officers on Full Term Commissions and Other Ranks on Second Open Engagements to determine the viability of increasing one or both to a retirement age of 55; there is no intention to consider a retirement age of 60. Any changes may be implemented at trade level rather than across the Naval Service in order to avoid a significant bulge in manning figures as an increase in the retirement age for all would commit to an excessive number of man-years leading to manpower surplus and a significant reduction in career prospects.


  63.  The Army now commissions officers on length-based terms of service, based on a 34-year career structure. The compulsory retirement age for officers commissioning into the Army now is no longer 55, but is now 60. Officers who complete their regular commissions will retire between the ages 55 and 60, depending on when they complete their 34 years service. However, the Directorate of Manning (Army) retains the authority to grant service beyond the normal retirement age if it is in the interests of the Army. This allows the Army flexibility to make use of talent beyond the normal run out date this manning mechanism is used regularly for officers still on age based terms of service who would normally retire at age 55.

  64.  For soldiers, the Versatile Engagement was introduced on 1 Jan 08. Under the Versatile Engagement, recruits will be enlisted for a term of 12 years service from the date of enlistment (Versatile Engagement Short), unless they are joining a Corps which is authorised by the competent military authority to enlist recruits for a term of 24 years (Full) or 30 years (Long). Under the Versatile Engagement, it will be possible for a soldier, if selected, to opt to undertake further service beyond the term for which he enlisted. In exceptional cases, which are expected to be rare, a soldier may be selected for service beyond the age of 55, subject to an upper age-limit of 65. In all cases, selection for further service will depend on the soldier's skills and performance and on the needs of the Service at the relevant time.


  65.  Delivery of RAF operational output is focused at junior levels with sufficient and capable leadership, management and supervision at more senior level. The majority (but not all) Branches and Trades carrying shortfalls do so at or near base rank level (hence the targeted Financial Retention Incentives). Consequently, simply increasing the retirement age would not tackle the specific problem of operational and manning pinch points. Continuance beyond age 55 is offered on a case-by-case basis where there is a clear Service need. This occurs across many Branches and Trades, including aircrew, for example to match manning profiles to aircraft Out of Service dates (including the VC10 and latterly the Canberra), or where the required individual skills cannot be found elsewhere. As for the Royal Navy, a widespread increase in retirement age would require adjustment to the structure of the Branches and Trades to reflect reduced promotion flows.

Recruitment Age

  66.  All three Services keep the age limit criteria for entry under regular review; for example the maximum age limit for soldier entry was increased to 33 in December 2006. Maximum age limits in all three service vary according to branch and trade and are imposed in order to maintain a balanced age/rank structure, with individuals benefiting from a visible career structure, and because the Services wish to recruit individuals who are operationally fit and likely to give a good return of service. When considering upper age limits, the length and cost of training an individual is also taken into consideration, for instance, the Royal Navy recruits trained Medical Officers up to the age of 55.


The long term plans for Financial Retention Incentives, including details on whether FRI's have an impact on the morale of those not eligible

  67.  Financial Retention Initiatives are designed to be targeted, time-limited, discrete measures to address short-term critical manning shortages. Therefore, by definition, there is no long term plan for Financial Retention Initiatives. Each one is unique in approach, usually for Service personnel with bespoke skill-sets, and they form part of a wider package of financial and non-remunerative measures where an urgent operational requirement to stem outflow of personnel is identified. Financial Retention Initiatives provide the Armed Forces with a period of guaranteed service from personnel during which they can resolve the underlying manning and retention issues.

  68.  The potential divisiveness of Financial Retention Initiatives is recognised by MoD and the Armed Forces. As with any incentive, there will always be some who fall just outside the eligibility criteria. However, each Financial Retention Initiative originates with the chain of command, is carefully targeted to maximise its effect and all proposals are accompanied by detailed evidence of the requirement. As part of the Financial Retention Initiative package, the Services produce an extensive Internal Communications package to explain the incentive and its rationale. Additionally, as part of the Financial Retention Initiative evaluation process, the Services are required to carefully monitor any impact on the morale of those personnel not eligible.


The support the MoD gets from other Government departments to assist Service families in accessing doctors, dentists and schools


  69.  The Department of Health, and other UK Health Departments, engage with us. Both the Secretary of State and Under Secretary of State for Defence have discussed with their opposite numbers in the Department of Health, on several occasions in the past year, issues relating to medical and health care for Service personnel, veterans and Service families and dependents.

  70.  The Department of Health's Operating Framework document for the NHS (2008-09) advises Private Care Trusts and providers to take account of the special circumstances that apply to Service families. This includes making certain that processes are in place to ensure that, when Armed Forces families move around the country or move back to England, they are not disadvantaged as a result of their move; for example, they must be able to access NHS dental services. In addition:

    a.  The MoD/UK Departments of Health Partnership Board, and its subordinate working groups provide a forum to resolve issues facing Service families in accessing NHS care.

    b.  Discussions to resolve the continuity of certain specialist treatments, such as IVF, across the UK are ongoing.

    c.  The Armed Forces primary healthcare centres and Primary Care Trusts are increasingly engaging at the local level to address issues of mutual interest, including Service family access to NHS dental services.


  71.  There is considerable liaison between MoD and Other Government Departments on the education of Service children; this includes, at the UK level, the MoD children's Board (with Department of Children, Schools and Families representatives), the Service Children's Education Forum and the Service Children in State Schools meetings. Links also exist at local level and, for example, at the national level such as the Northern Ireland forum to discuss the education of Service children. The links inform both MoD policy makers and the MoD education specialists, Service Children's Education and Children's Education Advisory Service. This co-operation has led to the sharing of best practice on dealing with Service children and a number of initiatives:

    a.  The new, statutory, Department of Children, Schools and Families admissions code covers specific elements to take the requirements of Service children into account.

    b.  The Department of Children, Schools and Families has introduced a Service child marker on the Annual School Census in order to gather authoritative data on the relative performance of Service children in comparison to their peers. This will inform wider research into how best to support them, in concert with the outputs of the joint MoD/ Department of Children, Schools and Families project "Mitigating Mobility".

    c.  There is ongoing work to address issues of transportability of Special Educational Needs provision.

MoD's position on the establishment of an Armed Forces Federation

  72.  The MoD considers that the representation and safeguarding the well-being of Service personnel is a vital function of the chain of command. However, the establishment of an Armed Forces Federation is not supported for the following reasons:

    a.  Individuals have the right to complain about any matter relating to their service, ultimately to the Defence Council. The Armed Forces Act 2006 introduces improvements to the complaints process, including the establishment of a Service Complaints Commissioner.

    b.  There are other mechanisms through which the views of Service personnel can become known. Service personnel may join trade and professional associations, as well as organisations representing their interests, ranging from the Armed Forces Pension Society to the Armed Forces Lesbian and Gay Association.

    c.  We remain unconvinced that an Armed Forces Federation is consistent with the ethos and traditions of the British Armed Forces, nor is there evidence of widespread grass roots desire for such a development.

  73.  MoD will engage with any organisation which represents individual service personnel interests such as the Forces Pensions Society, the Combined Armed Forces Federation (UK).

What measures the MoD has considered/is considering to provide Service personnel with greater stability—like giving personnel more notice of postings or increasing the length of tours

  74.  Mobility is an inevitable and necessary part of Service life, because of our geographical spread and the requirement to post people to achieve career development and generate military capability. We already do what we can to minimise it and its impact for example through the RN base porting policy and elimination of the Army Arms plot. In addition, the RAF will increasingly concentrate on fewer main operating bases and Army aims in long term to achieve greater coherence through the super garrison concept.

  75.  Examples of policies undertaken to mitigate mobility include:

    a.  Provision of education and health support overseas.

    b.  Provision (and new investment in) public accommodation wherever people serve.

    c.  Maximum possible notice of postings, making every effort to take personal preference into account.

    d.  Families moving during a key educational stage are permitted to retain Service Family Accommodation at their old duty station to provide continuity.

    e.  Children's Education Advisory Service—advice and assistance to parents with UK schools admissions which is demonstrating high success in appeals rates.

    f.  Continuity of Education Allowance—5,000 recipients, 8,000 children.

    g.  Housing purchase support—Long Service Advance of Pay, the Key Worker Living Program, bespoke commercial shared equity schemes, new MoD shared equity pilot announced in March 2008.

    h.  Access to social housing on retirement (removing the provisions in the Housing Act 1996 which prevent military service being accepted for purpose of establishing a local connection.)

    i.  Discussion with NHS through the Partnership Board to facilitate easier access to NHS services when moving in UK: specific guidance to NHS on supporting Service families, identification of best practice through Primary Care Trusts serving large service populations.

    j.  Comprehensive information services for families via 165 HIVE outlets.

  76.  The MoD recognise that there is more to be done here, especially in harnessing the efforts of other Government Departments to provide a better service for personnel, families and veterans. This is a central focus of the ongoing work taking place with the Service Personnel Command Paper.

Royal Navy

  77.  For the Royal Navy, Service Personnel Functional Standards mandate a minimum notice for postings (variable according to circumstances); this approach acknowledges the exigencies of service at sea, Operational Tours and other Augmentation posts, or of career development. Personnel Functional Standards provide a good steer for our Career Managers, our Service people and their immediate families, as evidenced by the reasonably small number of Personnel Functional Standards assignment notice breaches reported.


  78.  For the Army, a target of a minimum of four months notice of assignment is required. In some cases, more notice than this can be achieved. The historical figure for notice of posting was six months but, over time, this has proved largely unattainable particularly as operational tempo has increased. For Operational Commitment Establishment assignments, which historically have seen many individuals assigned at short notice, notice periods of four months are now also being achieved for a large number of posts.

  79.  Tour lengths vary from two to three years. Requests for tour extensions are looked at by the Army Personnel Centre on a case by case basis and will always take into the consideration the needs of the employer and the individual and the impact on the individual's career of any extension in post.


  80.  The RAF is continually working towards providing its personnel with as much stability as possible, and reductions in the basing footprint have assisted in this. The average time in location for Ground Tradesmen is between 2.4 to three yrs, while for officers it is between two and three yrs. Extensions will be considered by Career Managers on a case-by-case basis, but must take into account the needs of the Service as well as the individual. However, while we continue to optimise stability as far as practicable, difficulties associated with Critical Manning, wide-spread gapping, OOA commitments, and the need to continue to develop the breadth of experience necessary for our officers and Senior Non Commissioned Officers means that the movement of personnel continues to be as important and as relevant as ever.

  81.  Recognising that mobility remains a key aspect of service with the RAF, the career managers therefore aspire to providing a degree of predictability to future moves in order that Servicemen and women, and their families, have as much time as possible to prepare. The Service has recently gained approval to augment its manning staffs in order to improve career management. In recent years, the period of notice has improved markedly and is now set at a minimum of 90 days, although there will be times when this period of notice cannot be achieved owing to Service circumstances at the time.

12 May 2008

47   Source: HQ Infantry. As single Service estimates these figures are not directly comparable with Defence Analytical Services Agency figures. Back

48   This is the Regular forces and excludes FTRS, Gurkhas, the Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment and mobilised reservists. Back

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