Select Committee on Defence Written Evidence

First 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 Committee Clerk's letter of 28 May 2008.

How many Service personnel were paid late last year? (Q365)

  2.  No Service personnel were paid late during the 2007-08 financial year.

When Service personnel do get paid late what costs do the MoD reimburse (eg bank charges)? (Q368)

  3.  If an individual has incurred an actual financial loss such as bank/building society charges or interest charged against a loan which would have been cleared if the payment had been made correctly, the department will compensate the individual on production of documentary evidence of the loss.

Details of the joint personnel administration inaccuracies and difficulties and the measures that have been/will be put in place to resolve them (Q368)

  4.  In January 2008, the MoD provided the Committee with a Memorandum on Joint Personnel Administration which explained problems being experienced, including pay inaccuracies. At that time MoD identified areas where more work was required before Joint Personnel Administration could be considered to have delivered its Vision, as endorsed by the Defence Management Board. Further to this, we can report the following progress against these areas:

    Improvements in the provision of Management Information—The Management Information capability has not yet fully met the user expectations or needs. The programme of work to meet these challenges is prioritised through the Joint Personnel Requirement Steering Group. The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency and the Services are working closely together to establish a common basis for future development which will also align with the MoD wide initiative to develop improved corporate Management Information capability.

    JPA Control Framework—In January MoD reported that a control framework would be put in place around the Joint Personnel Administration processes to ensure that the processes are being followed correctly and that the processes themselves do not allow opportunity for fraudulent behaviour. A control framework programme has commenced and the initial output has been agreed with the MoD finance community and the National Audit Office. The intention is to ensure that all the key controls are in place by December 2008.

    Improvements to the Enquiry Centre and back-office functions—Implementation of a revised management procedure (the Service Request Management Group) and additional training for enquiry centre staff has resulted in a significant improvement in customer satisfaction.

    Reduced "cost of ownership" through further harmonisation and simplification—A series of process reviews is being driven forward under the auspices of the Joint Personnel Administration Business Optimisation Plan. This provides a mechanism for looking at each of the processes and determining a priority for further work, in particular that required to harmonise, simplify and modernise policies and processes where initial progress to support Joint Personnel Administration roll-out was insufficient to achieve optimum business benefit.

  5.  Joint Personnel Administration is an ambitious change programme. All key outputs have been delivered without interruption throughout the implementation process. However, as indicated in earlier memorandum, there have been a number of data quality issues which have impinged on the ability of Defence Analytical Services and Advice to report Army Manning Statistics and there are still a number of gaps affecting manpower reporting. The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency Data Management and Information Group continues to work closely with Defence Analytical Services and Advice to improve the quality of data held within Joint Personnel Administration. This joint work has led to the identification of data issues in some systems which pass data into Joint Personnel Administration or with the way the data transfer is operating.

  6.  MoD are continuing to look at all aspects of the training of personnel in connection with Joint Personnel Administration to ensure that this is fit for purpose. This will focus on the provision of training and processes, primarily for self-service users and unit Human Relations staff, but including, where appropriate, Career Managers and specialist Joint Personnel Administration administrators, to ascertain whether all users are appropriately trained and sufficiently aware to exploit the full potential of Joint Personnel Administration.

Details of other wastage statistics for Phase 1 training and Phase 2 training for each of the Services (Q432) and the number and percentage of recruits who discharge as of right during Phase 1 training in each of the three services and how this compares with our major allies

  7.  Details of Phase 1 training wastages rate by cause are provided at Annex A for the UK Armed Forces. This data is derived from the single Services sources and is not necessarily derived from the employment of identical methodologies, therefore, direct comparison between the Services may not be wholly appropriate.

  8.  Different countries employ different methods of wastage calculation and other factors, including selection processes, entry standards, the handling of injury during training and their policy on back-classing will affect exit rates. Therefore a direct comparison of Other Rank losses during training between countries is difficult to achieve. Therefore, the two tables provided below aim to provide a broad comparison of wastage rates only. In all cases the statistics provide the total wastage rates.

Percentage Wastage Rates for 2006 from UK Phase 1 and US Boot Camp
NavyMarines ArmyAir Force
UK19.4%N/A 21.2%28.9%
USA14%11.7% 13.6%7.1%

1.  Single Service sourced data not validated by Defence Analytical and Statistics Advice.

2.  Excludes Infantry for which there is no separate Phase 1 wastage rate (see Annex A).

Percentage Wastage rates from UK Phase 1 and 2 training and at the 12 month point in Canada, the USA and Australia
2003-04 2004-052005-06 2006-072007-08
UK1RN 26% 24%22%21% 24%
RM47% 41%47%47% 45%
Army31% 26%28%36% 38%
RAF15% 21%19%20% 22%
CanadaNavy8.4% 12.2%13.0%18.8%
Army18.9% 20.0%21.3%25.3%
Air Force3.3% 7.2%9.0%9.2%
USANavy13% 14%14%
Marines14% 14%16%
Army21% 18%13%
Air Force11% 13%13%
AustraliaNavy16% 17%
Army21% 21%
Air Force12% 13%


1.  UK data is single Service sourced and has not been not validated by Defence Analytical and Statistics Advice.

The Armed Forces recruitment process in Foreign and Commonwealth Countries for example Ghana, Fiji and Jamaica

  9.  With the exception of Army recruitment of Gurkhas, except when visiting a Commonwealth country at the express invitation of government concerned, the Armed Forces do not actively recruit overseas. However, individuals can access the Armed Forces websites in order to see the range of opportunities open to them, and how to apply from overseas. Commonwealth or Irish citizens residing overseas who wish to apply to join the Armed Forces must travel to the UK at their own expense to undergo the selection process. They normally arrive on a six month tourist visa and are usually handled by the Armed Forces Careers Office at St Georges Court or, for the Army, the Careers Office on the Strand, both are which are highly experienced in handling the complexities associated with processing overseas candidates.


  10.  Since 1997 the RN has visited St Vincent on two occasions at the invitation of the Island's government. As a result of the first visit in 2002, 154 individuals joined the Service (126 Royal Navy and 28 Royal Marine). A second visit took place in 2005 as a result of which 71 completed training and entered the Royal Navy.

  11.  The employment of foreign nationals in those branches directly related to operations is restricted on security grounds. As a result the Royal Navy Logistics Branch has a higher than average number of ratings from overseas, with enough candidates in the selection process to provide the branch with sufficient manpower until 2009. Therefore, although Royal Navy recruiters have been invited to return to St Vincent, there is currently no requirement to recruit more overseas personnel.

  13.  As a result of reports back home to family and friends from those already serving, a steady flow of candidates is making their own way to the UK with a view to joining the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines.


  14.  In recent years the Army have sent selection teams to some Commonwealth countries at the specific request of the government concerned where evidence suggests that there is sufficient interest amongst the local population to merit a visit. These teams screen out those not thought capable of meeting the full entry standards to save them the cost of an abortive trip to the UK to undergo the recruitment selection process. Selection teams will only see those who have already made an application to the Army's Recruiting Group Overseas Cell which has passed the initial sift.

  15.  Since 1997 Army Overseas Selection Teams have visited Fiji 10 times, St Vincent and the Grenadines three times and St Lucia twice. In addition a team has this month just commenced a visit to St Lucia and Belize.

  16.  Applicants through the Overseas Cell are the biggest source of enquiries (some 30,000 per annum). Those that enquire do so via telephone, email, letter and On Line Enquiry Forms. Each enquiry is screened for eligibility and if everything is in order, the candidate is invited to attend a careers office in the UK.


  17.  Individuals from Commonwealth countries can apply through Broadsystems, a response-handling company, whose job is it to handle responses resulting from national advertising and direct marketing activity, via telephone, online enquiry and interactive TV. Any resulting "live" queries are passed to the field force in the Armed Forces Careers Office.

Clarification about the Retention Action Plan referred to by Major General Gregory, Director General Personnel (Army) in the Evidence Session of 22 April (Q276)

  18.  The Retention Action Plan is a matrix of measures and actions, currently consisting of some 73 serials, which are being progressed to either examine or improve retention in the Army. It is owned by the Army Retention Executive Committee chaired by Director General Personnel (Army) and the Plan is reviewed at each meeting and updated on a quarterly basis. The Retention Action Plan serves to coordinate effort and enable a more holistic approach to retention.

  19.  The Retention Action Plan has been operating in its current form for about 12 months, although a similar document had previously formed part of another Action Plan. Key areas include the formulation of Financial Retention Incentives, coordinated retention estimates and plans by Arms & Service Directors, establishing and prioritising research requirements to better inform balance of investment decisions and better ways of communicating the problems and what is being done.


    A.  Loss of Recruits during Phase 1 and 2 Training.

18 June 2008

RAF Flying Trades

FY Type No in to IOT VW Prof MedTotal %age
Weapon Systems Officer
05/06Pilot92 381 13.0
Weapon Systems Officer 19263 57.9
06/07Pilot134 100 0.7
Weapon Systems Officer 26000 0.0
07/08Pilot153 971 11.1
Weapon Systems Officer 27300 11.1

Since this pipeline has been up to two years long (because of backlogs), the number being withdrawn in any year does not necessarily correlate with the number-in in the same year.

FYType No in to FTVW ProfMedTotal %age
04/05Pilot63 5221 44.4
Weapon Systems Officer 303101 46.7
Weapon Systems Operator3 83613 12.0
05/06Pilot74 271 13.5
Weapon Systems Officer 23263 47.8
Weapon Systems Operator 65044 12.3
06/07Pilot105 762 14.3
Weapon Systems Officer 18221 27.8
Weapon Systems Operator 73100 1.4
07/08Pilot133 871 12.0
Weapon Systems Officer 27300 11.1
Weapon Systems Operator 88400 4.5


FT—Flying Training

VW—Voluntary Withdrawal

Prof—Profesional Failing (Airwork)

Med—Medical Withdrawal

1. Withdrawal—removed from course but often cascaded from Fast Jet to Rotary Wing or Multi-Engine; or Rotary Wing to Multi-Engine for pilots; Weapon Systems Officers withdrawn from trianing are sometimes cascaded from Fast Jet to Multi-Engine (there are no longer Rotary Wing Warfare Systems Officers) and Weapon Systems Operators can also be cascaded within their various specialities. It is not possible to define those that are ultimately successful or otherwise.

2.  The pipeline can be up to four years long therefore the number being withdrawn in any year does not necessarily correlate with the number-in in the same year.

3.  Weapon Systems Operators are Non Commissioned Officers.

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Prepared 30 July 2008