Select Committee on Defence Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from the Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Associations (10 October 2000)

RESHAPING THE ORGANISATION

  Resulting from the Future Structure Study the RFCA title was introduced and RFCA boundaries were aligned with the Government Offices for the Regions in England. No changes were made in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales. While staff and operating cost reductions affected all RFCAs, the main change was a decision to merge the adjoining RFCAs in the South East and Eastern Wessex, with the county of Dorset transferring to the re-named Wessex RFCA. A new Association for the South East opened its main office in Aldershot in September 2000. HCDC received a letter from MoD recently outlining these changes.

  In addition a manpower review led to staff savings in all RFCAs.

    —  The reshaping will save £891K per annum in running costs.

    —  Our new title "Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Association" describes better what we do in support of all three Services and the Cadet Movement.

    —  The Executive Committee of the Council of RFCAs took the decision last summer to invite Chairman Sea Cadet Association and Commandant Air Cadets to join the Committee. They both accepted and Vice Admiral Sir Jonathan Tod Chairman Sea Cadet Association accepted an invitation to join the Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Advisory Committee (RFCAC) for its biannual meetings under the chairmanship of Minister AF. (Commandant Air Cadets was already a member of RFCAC).

    —  RFCAs have similarly extended invitations to representatives of the Sea Cadets and Air Training Corps at their (Regional) level.

  The Associations have long been concerned that their Regulations dated from 1978 and that financial instructions had not kept pace with the introduction of delegated budgets. Both NAO (1989) and the DIA (1995) remarked upon the lack of current guidance. Stemming from SDR, which directed that the Associations "must be kept up to date . . . to reflect the need to enhance the lines of accountability, responsibility and delegated authority . . ." a study into The Future Structure of TAVRAs [RFCAs] provided the impetus to draw up a collection of complementary documents which will guide the RFCAs for the future:

    —  A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between HQ LAND, acting as the Lead Service Headquarters, and the Council of RFCAs was signed on 23 April 1999. In it are defined the roles and duties of the RFCAs within the provisions of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 (RFA 96).

    —  RFCA Regulations 2000, updating previous regulations of 1978, were signed in Defence Council Order of 22 March 2000.

    —  A Financial Memorandum sets out the conditions under which HQ LAND pays its Grants in Aid to the RFCAs. The Command Secretary and Chairman of the Council of RFCAs signed this on 14 December 1999.

    —  The Works Management Manual has been updated and reissued.

    —  A paper of guidance on the Budgetary Arrangements that underpin the new organisation following TA restructuring and the dissolution of Reserves Branch was agreed at the Land Command Board in December 1999. Most importantly this has given Chairman of the Council of RFCAs a seat on CinC's Land Command Board and the Chairmen of each RFCA a seat on their local GOC's Board.

    —  Guidance from the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments was incorporated within RFCA Regulations 2000 and the Schemes of Association on 1 April 2000.

  The thirteen RFCAs' membership totals 1,830. There are 340 staff employed countrywide.

ASSISTANCE TO RESERVES POST-SDR

  As a result of the changes stemming from the implementation of SDR 67 TA units moved location and a total of 205 changed their titles. The RFCAs provided "get-you-in-services" for each move and/or change.

  The outturn for FY 1999-2000 was £78.6 million.

  This was spent on:

    —  Capital Works  £11.0 million

    —  PROPMAN  £33.8 million

    —  HLC  £ 8.3 million

    —  Cadets  £12.0 million

    —  Support to Units  £ 3.7 million

    (This sum represents the grants made to the establishment, Band, local Recruiting and Employer Liaison).

    —  RFCA costs  £ 9.8 million

    (This sum includes the staff salaries, members travel costs and office running costs for the 13 RFCAs)

  A total expenditure of £5.17 million was spent on recruiting and publicity in combination with Commander Recruiting Group at HQ AG. This expenditure was channelled into raising public awareness of the continuing need for Reserve Forces, especially TA, through a national TV campaign in February/March 1999 and TA Open Days in March 1999 and March 2000 and also into specific national and local recruit marketing campaigns targeting known deficiencies in the Army Medical Services (Volunteers) and young officers.

  The SDR imperative to make Reserve Forces available and usable has focussed on the needs of better liaison with employers. The National Employers Liaison Committee initiates work at MoD level and the RFCAs through local contacts, teams and working groups have the responsibility for improving liaison with employers.

  RFCAs have continued to manage the Volunteer estate on behalf of all Services; provide support to the Cadets, ACF and ATC; carry out local recruit marketing in support of TA units and RAuxAF units when requested to do so and promote the volunteer, both reservist and cadet adult instructor, throughout the civilian community.

DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS VOLUNTEER ESTATE

  The reduction in the size of the TA freed 87 Territorial Army Centres (TAC) for disposal with a further 27 TACs retained for cadet use only.

  The approximate value of these sites was £102 million.

  The Defence Estate (DE) organisation has the responsibility for disposing of surplus TACs once they have been vacated and handed over. DE then contacts the Property Advisers to the Civil Estate (PACE), who in turn deal with the local agents.

  Disposals have progressed well in some areas—notably North of England, Yorkshire and the Humber and Lowland. In others planning permission and the provision of alternative accommodation for Cadets have led to delays.

IMPACT OF SDR ON CADETS

  SDR contained a guarantee to cadets that no detachment would be made homeless.

  54 displaced cadet detachments from all three Services require re-housing and a sum of £12 million has been provided for this purpose.

  Re-housing is a slow business. New sites are difficult to acquire, especially in urban areas. The process of forming a cadet enclave on an existing site, which is to be disposed of, is lengthy requiring as it does planning consent and DE authorisation.

  The difficulties associated with re-housing cadets are being overcome but do delay TAC disposals.

  The reduction in the size of the TA, especially in the rural areas, has led to a reduction in the resources available to support ACF training.


 
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