Select Committee on Defence Written Evidence

Further 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 and email of the 6 May 2008 following the Committee's visit to the Armed Forces Recruiting Office at St Georges Court.

An update on the discussions between the MoD and the Department for Children, Schools and Families on the development of the Cadet Movement (Q250)

  2.  MoD is working closely with the Department of Children, Schools and Families to identify ways of achieving greater exposure of State Schools and State School pupils to the cadet experience. They are attempting to develop plans to build on existing schemes in three areas:

    a.  Academies. The intent is to establish additional Cadet units in new academies. It is hoped that the Department of Children, Schools and Families will assist with funding capital costs where they are required and the prioritisation of suitable Schools/Academies and pursuing "partners" to assist with the start-up and continued mentoring for new Cadet units. MoD intends to discuss how to develop this programme further with the devolved assemblies of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

    b.  Independent/State School Partnering. The intent is for a nationwide rollout to be based on the London Challenge Pilot, assuming it is successful, after a year. In the meantime, a Cadet Ambassador (facilitator/coordinator) has been established to facilitate partnering between London Independent schools with Combined Cadet Forces and neighbouring State schools.

    c.  Community-Based Cadet Forces. There will be an expansion of community-based cadet units; moreover, MoD intends to seek closer links between state schools and Community-based units.

  3.  MoD and the Department of Children, Schools and Families are working on establishing more detailed plans for expanding the Cadet Forces, which will be driven by the availability of additional Government funding.

The latest position regarding Manning Balance for each service (Q272)

  4.  At 1 April 2008 the Armed Forces were outside the Public Service Agreement Target Manning Balance with the Trained Strength standing at 173,960p[49] against a liability of 179,270p, representing 96.8% against the Requirement. The Trained Strength of the Armed Forces is 5,310 short of the Requirement. This represents an increase in the deficit against the Requirement from 3.0% to 3.2% since 1 April 2007. A comparison by Service against the statistics provided for 1 January 2008 and 1 April 2007 is at Annex A.

  5.  Voluntary Outflow exit rates remain relatively stable overall. They are up for Naval Service Officers, slightly down for RN/RM Other Ranks, slightly up for RAF Officers and up for RAF Other Ranks. Due to JPA data shortfalls, Army data will not be available until December 2008.

RN Manning Situation

  6.  At 1 April 2008, the RN strength stood at 96.7%p of the Requirement. The deficit against Requirement (3.3%) has improved compared with the same period in the previous year (5.1%). Continuing restructuring is expected to reduce the Liability further, although not as rapidly and extensively as originally envisaged. Initiatives to grow Strength through improved recruiting and retention should also help to reduce the deficit but the RN is not now expected to achieve manning balance in the foreseeable future. Critically, within this headline some pinch points Branches/Trades will continue to have significant sustainability problems.

Army Manning Situation

  7.  At 1 April 2008, the Full Time Trained Strength of the Army was 96.5%p of Requirement and between 1 April 07 and 1 April 08 the deficit against liability increased by 1.1% from 2.4% to 3.5%. Manning the Army remains the Army's highest priority after sustaining operational success. Army Manning Plans delivered in 2006 and 2007 have added back around 1,800p personnel between April 2006 and April 2008 (comprising rejoins (net increase 630), Extended Service (net increase 610), Full Time Reserve Forces (net increase 340) and Foreign and Commonwealth gains to trained strength (net increase 220)). The Army is working hard on a Retention Action Plan comprising some 70 measures, which is reviewed quarterly.

RAF Manning Situation

  8.  At 1 April 2008, RAF strength stood at 98.6%p of the Requirement. The deficit against Requirement has decreased from 3.2% to 1.4% p, helped by the planned drawdown of the Requirement by 8.5% p between 1 April 2007 and 1 April 2008. The RAF is currently in Manning Balance but is likely to fall outside again within 12 months.

  9.  The full set of 1 April manning statistics is attached (TSP 4).

Details on the process for assessing the medical fitness of a potential recruit for each service

  10.  The single Services are responsible for determining the processes for screening and assessing the medical fitness and suitability of potential recruits. The fitness standards required vary according to the Service and occupation within the Service that the recruit has applied for.

  11.  The detailed process for each of the single Services is as follows:

    Royal Navy and Royal Marines

    Potential applicants are asked screening questions when they first apply to the RN by Careers Advisers in the Armed Forces Careers Office. All applicants then complete a medical form obtained from the Armed Forces Careers Office. Currently Potential RN officers are medically examined at the Institute of Naval Medicine (INM) after passing the Admiralty Interview Board. Potential RN Ratings, Royal Marine (RM) other ranks and RM officer candidates are medically examined at a location close to their home by Armed Forces Careers Office Medical Examiners, who are civilian General Practitioners contracted to provide the service. If they consider it necessary, the Armed Forces Careers Office Medical Examiner will also liaise with the candidate's General Practitioner. It is planned that in the near future all potential non aircrew RN officers will be examined by Armed Forces Careers Office Medical Examiners before attending the Admiralty Interview Board. Any atypical medical cases are followed up with the individual's GP and referred to the Institute of Naval Medicine.


    All applicants complete a medical form obtained from the Armed Forces Careers Office. Potential recruits are subsequently provided with a detailed questionnaire designed to gather pertinent information about the individual's medical history from themselves and their General Practitioner. The individual takes the form, after completing the relevant sections themselves, to their General Practitioner who completes it and sends it to an Army Development and Selection Centre, where it is screened for disqualifying conditions. If the applicant is suitable, they will then be called forward for medical examination at the Army Development and Selection Centre by a Medical Officer (military or civilian) trained in selection medicals. If either the examination of documents or the individual indicates that further information is required it will be sought from the General Practitioner. The Army considers the initial questionnaire a crucial factor in reducing the risk involved in training, especially for vulnerable young people.

    If an individual needs a specialist assessment with respect to an ongoing or past medical condition they will be referred from the Army Development and Selection Centre to an appropriate military consultant. Cardiology referrals occur in such volume that there is a standing contract with a civilian provider. Medical examination may lead to deferrals for a specified amount of time, which may include conditions ie "remain free from symptoms and treatment for three years".


    All applicants complete a medical form obtained from the Armed Forces Careers Office. Potential officers and airmen aircrew attend the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre at Cranwell at which they are examined by civilian Medical Examiners and Service Medical Officers. Other ranks are medically examined by Armed Forces Careers Office Medical Examiners in their local Armed Forces Careers Office after they have passed aptitude testing and an interview. If any medical issues are identified these are followed up by contacting the individual's General Practitioner and, if necessary, referred to the RAF Inspectorate of Recruiting Occupational Medicine consultant at RAF College Cranwell.

Conversion rates for information seekers to enquirers to enlistments for each of the services

  12.  The table below details the conversion rates for information seekers to enlistments during the Financial Year 2007-08 for the three Services.
Information Seekers Enquirers/ ApplicantsForwarded to Training Success as a % of information seekers1
RN Officers2N/A1,300 344N/A
RN Other Ranks45,360 9,9603,5527.8%
Army Officers6,9201,473 71610.3%
Army Other Ranks124,762 21,80413,12910.5%
RAF Officers314,635 3,9836384.4%
RAF Other Ranks20,854 8,8492,31411.1%


1.  This is a comparison of the number of information seekers in 2007-08 and the number forwarded to training in the same period. Of those applying or forwarded to training in 2007-08 some will have sought information before the start of the year. Therefore the numbers in the three columns are not directly comparable.

2.  Information Seekers and Applicants data for RN Officers are an approximation due to the long lead in period over which requests for information are made. Applicants reflect the number of people attending AIB plus 10% for sift and Recruit Test failures.

3.  This includes Non-commissioned Aircrew.

Details about the numbers of recruits who dropped out of Phase 1 and Phase 2 Training, if possible for the last 10 years

  13.  National Statistics data on the outflow of Untrained UK Regular Forces produced by Defence Analytical Services and Advice are at Annex B. Further information on the Phase 1 and 2 wastage rates will be provided in MoDs subsequent memorandum alongside the additional evidence requested on the reasons for wastage during new entry training.

Annex A

Strength and Requirement of Full Time UK Regular, Full Time Reserve Service and Gurkhas

1 April 20081 January 2008 1 April 2007 Revised1 April 2008 1 January 20081 April 2007

1 April 2008

1 January 2008

01 April 2007 Revised

Trained Requirement36,260 36,47036,800101,800 101,800101,80041,210p 42,160p45,020
Trained Strength35,070p 35,200p34,920r98,270p 98,510p99,350p40,620p 41,210p43,550
Variation -1,190p -1,280p -1,880r -3,530p -3,290p -2,450p -590p -940p -1,460r
Untrained Strength4,040p 3,920p4,52011,540p 10,410p11,180p3,140p 2,730p2,160
Total UK Regs139,110p 39,110p39,440109,810p 108,920p110,530p43,750p 43,940p45,710

1.  The Trained Strength, Untrained Strength and the Trained Requirement comprise UK Regular Forces, Gurkhas, Full Time Reserve Service personnel and Nursing services. They do not include the Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment or mobilised reservists.

2.  Due to ongoing validation of data from the new Personnel Administration System, Army statistics from 1 April 2007, and Naval Service and RAF statistics from 1 May 2007 are provisional and subject to review.

p denotes provisional.

r denotes revised.

Figures are rounded to ten and may not sum precisely to the totals shown.

Annex B

Outflow of Untrained UK Regular Forces—National Statistics
1997-98 1998-991999-2000 2000-012001-02 2002-032003-04 2004-052005-06 2006-07
All Services5,960 8,4508,560 7,3506,7707,250 6,9505,830 5,1306,290p
  Officers240390 330380320 350310340 220370p
  Other Ranks5,720 8,0608,2306,970 6,4506,9006,640 5,4904,9105,920 p
Naval Service1,200 1,4701,680 1,5101,7601,740 1,3401,050 1,1901,110
  Officers12080 708080 1209090 90100
  Other Ranks1,080 1,3901,6101,430 1,6801,6201,250 9601,1001,010
Army4,260 6,2906,2005,160 4,3904,880 5,0204,3303,690 4,840p
  Officers80260 220260190 180170200 90220p
  Other Ranks4,180 6,0305,9804,900 4,2004,7004,850 4,1303,6004,620 p
RAF490690 680680 620630570 460250 330
  Officers4050 404050 50406030 50
  Other Ranks450640 640640570 580530400 220280

Source: DASA (Quad-Service)


Figures are for UK Regular Forces and therefore exclude Gurkhas, Full Time Reserve Service personnel, the Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment and mobilised reservists.

Due to ongoing validation of data from a new personnel administration system, Army statistics for 2006-07 are provisional and subject to review.

Figures have been sourced from Table 2.20 in UK Defence Statistics

2007-08 information will be available once TSP4 is published on 29 May 2008.

6 June 2008

Where figures are annotated with a "p" the figure is provisional and subject to review. Back

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