1. Introduction (para 10): We recognise
the value of an overarching strategy in setting high standards
and demanding targets, and eliminating obtrusive inequalities
in treatment. In an era of ever-increasing 'jointery' between
the three Services, it answers a particular need. But we also
approach our consideration of the policies in the spirit of an
underlying conviction that there is much to be said for subsidiarity
in the application of personnel policyexcessive centralisation
and uniformity in its application could stifle imagination and
innovative approaches to the particular needs of particular groups
The Armed Forces Overarching Personnel Strategy explicitly
recognises that each of the Services is different and has its
own requirements. It is neither the wish nor the intention of
the MoD to be overly prescriptive: people join and serve in the
Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Army and the Royal Air Force,
not Defence. There are common values and standards amongst Armed
Forces personnel, but the identity and group loyalty of each individual
Service, and of ships, regiments and squadrons within each Service
is a key ingredient of both a successful personnel strategy and
of operational effectiveness alike.In some policy areasfor
example equal opportunities, pay and pensionsService personnel
policy formulation is led by the MoD and there is little leeway
in how those policies are implemented by the Services. However,
there are other MoD-led policy areas where the single Services
may vary, within agreed limits, the manner in which policy is
implemented. This ability to vary is known as 'tolerable variation'.
Moreover, whilst the MoD, in consultation with the Services, formulates
Service personnel policy, the Services themselves are largely
responsible for its implementation.
2. Cadets (para 16): .... 45% of air crew
recruits of all ranks have been through the cadets.
The RAF places great value on the cadet forces, which
helps to develop an interest in flying and aviation matters and
hence benefit the Service. During 1999/2000, 17% of the total
RAF civil life intake were former members of the Air Training
Corps or Combined Cadet Force. The figure rose to 46% for the
airmen aircrew intake.
3. Volunteer Reserve Forces (para 18): Greater
use of part-time personnel, and greater flexibility of employment
patterns, are features of the solutions sought by almost every
civilian organisation facing rising personnel costs and/or skill
shortages. Similarly, the government has frequently restated its
commitment to forging a more effective alliance between the public
and voluntary sectors. These are areas in which some really radical
thinking could be done by the Armed Forces.
New approaches by the Services in the use of part-time
personnel and flexibility on employment patterns have been in
development for some time, albeit overshadowed by the more high-profile
SDR work. Each Service is developing the concepts of Full Time
Reserve Service and Additional Duties Commitments provided in
Part III of the Reserve Forces Act 1996. These forms of service
will allow, inter alia, for job-sharing and for more flexible
and connected regular and reserve career patterns, particularly
in areas of skill shortages. For example, the Committee themselves
have noted the initiative regarding reservist aircrew in paragraphs
68 and 69 of their Report.
4. Increasing Armed Forces' visibility (para 21):
But building and maintaining links with the wider society should
be regarded as core tasks of the Armed Forces, and should be afforded
a high priority.
Because building and maintaining links with wider
society is regarded as a core task, the Armed Forces already maintain
effective and long-term alliances with the voluntary sector through
the Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Associations (RFCAs), the National
and Local Employers' Liaison Committees (NELC and LELC) and the
Cadet Organisations. All these organisations are constantly on
the look-out for initiatives to encourage further volunteer participation.
The RFCAs, NELC and LELCs are already committed to looking closely
at the link between Reserve and Cadet requirements and what additional
support might be provided through the skills, experience and contacts
of their volunteer members.
AFCO staffs are a uniformed presence in the High
Street and undertake a variety of public engagements, motivational
and PR activities, which promote integration with the civilian
community. The RAF, for example, is recruiting Community Development
workers who will be tasked to work closely with local communities/service
providers to ensure mutual benefit. Two RAF Regiment officers
are engaged in motivational and PR work, including extensive coaching
of children under 12 years old at schools in under privileged
areas of West Yorkshire.
The Defence Training Review has given high priority
to the need to establish a central focus to develop and maintain
links with wider society, not only to address defence needs but
also to offer defence training and education opportunities to
the benefit of wider society. Greater integration through training
and education is one of the key themes of the final report.
5. The Recruitment Challenge (para 26): Despite
the healthy state of recruitment, it is clear that the manning
problem is worsening rather than improving. The Table below (Table
5 page xvi) demonstrates that this is the case for the trained
strength against the trained requirement, as well as for total
numbers in the Services.
All three Services have suffered from significant
manning shortfalls for several years. Inevitably, there have also
been (and continue to be) fluctuations in the requirement and
strength figures as each Service adapts and restructures to meet
the role defined in the Strategic Defence Review.
The trained strength of the Armed Forces as at 1
February 2001 was 189,002, a shortfall of 10,997 against the Post-SDR
requirement for 2005. We acknowledge that achieving full manning
will be challenging, particularly in those areas where the civilian
employment market is buoyant. But we are working hard to address
6. The need for a more radical approach (para
30): We recommend that the plans to open a second Army
Foundation College should be realised as soon as possible.
We agree with the view of the importance of maximising
junior entry, evidenced by the success of Harrogate. The Army
Foundation Project is looking, as a matter of urgency, at what
can be delivered, both in the short and longer term.
7. Ethnic minorities (para 35): The achievements
of the Armed Forces in tackling the issue of racial discrimination
are considerable. Even if the actual results in terms of recruits
remain a little disappointing, the culture change has, we believe,
As the Committee recognise, the Armed Forces have
made considerable progress in the last few years in tackling issues
of racial discrimination. We intend to build upon this by responding
positively to our obligations under the Race Relations (Amendment)
Act 2000. We share the Committee's disappointment on ethnic minority
recruiting. As witnesses made clear, the Department and the Services
are committed for the long haul to better ethnic minority representation
and will continue efforts to raise awareness in minority communities
of military careers.
8. Ethnic minorities (para 39): This is
one area in which we are sure that an over-arching, tri-Service
strategy is relevant and useful. We recommend that more systematic
evaluation of all recruitment strategies is carried out to identify
those which are most successful, with particular attention to
those directed at ethnic minorities. In this context, we were
particularly disappointed that our MoD witnesses did not lay much
greater emphasis on the cadets as a rich recruiting ground for
members of ethnic minority communities, despite the success of
cadets in attracting large numbers of youngsters from ethnic minorities
The need for systematic evaluation of ethnic minority
recruitment strategies has already been recognised and, with growing
experience over the last 3 years, has increasingly influenced
the construction by each Service of its annual Ethnic Minorities
Recruiting Action Plan. A tri-Service forum exists to facilitate
the sharing of results of evaluation, together with details of
initiatives, research and marketing strategies.
We value the contribution that Cadets can make in
attracting more ethnic minority recruits to the Regular Armed
Forces. Consequently, the potential of the Cadet Forces in ethnic
minority recruiting has already been recognised by their inclusion
in the Department's Ethnic Minorities Recruiting (Best Practices)
Forward Business Plan for this year.
9. Women (para 43): It is not made clear,
in enunciating this policy on women in combat roles, whether this
exclusion is on the grounds of physiological ability or moral
distaste for women having to do such work. If it is the latter,
it is time it was abandoned.
The current policy is based on the criterion of operational
effectiveness. A review into the wider employment of women in
combat roles is well advanced.
10. Women (para 45): [The EOC also thought
the Navy could do useful comparative research into the number
of women who are unwittingly pregnant in surface ships.] We
The Committee implies that it should be possible
to rely on women not becoming pregnant when about to serve in
submarines, drawing a parallel with women undertaking space flights
with NASA. Hence the suggestion that comparative data about women
in surface ships would be useful. Although work is in hand to
improve statistical data in this area, it may not be possible
to arrive at a definition of "unwitting" pregnancy that
does not involve unacceptable intrusion into individuals' privacy.
11. Women (para 46): However, the Navy
has to decide what its policy on women submariners should be in
10 to 15 years' time and factor this in when designing or refitting
submarines for the future.
The Defence Scientific Advisory Committee has reviewed
the medical evidence. The policy regarding the employment of women
in submarines remains under active review.
12. Women (para 47): Gender-neutral physical
fitness tests can meet the primary criteria of ensuring operational
effectiveness. We recommend that all three Services follow the
Army's example in adopting them to assess physical fitness for
any post. The Army's study of the impact on combat effectiveness
of women in the front-line may provide more objective evidence
on which to make policy decisions. But operational effectiveness
must remain the overriding consideration.
Work is already in hand, on a tri-Service basis,
to examine physical fitness testing. This will take into account
the Army's experience of gender-neutral physical fitness testing.
13. Recruiting the right people (para 51):
It is not, however, clear to us to what extent the colleges had
weighed the efficiency gains from more remedial training against
those of kicking out low-achievers promptly and increasing general
throughput. There may be a case for better targeted investment.
We need to be assured that those considerations are being weighed
Britannia Royal Naval College.
Three factors influence the decision to discharge or provide remedial
training: the capitation cost of a repeat term is some £11,000
against recruitment cost of some £16,000; most failures are
in leadership training and the record shows that the majority
of those who repeat the leadership module subsequently succeed;
and in the current recruiting climate it is essential that the
Naval Service makes the best of every recruit. There would be
a very limited pool to draw on to increase general throughput.
Remedial training is, therefore, cost effective, fair to the individual
and shows that the Naval Service is a caring employer.
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
Just over 40% of candidates sent to the Royal Military Academy
Sandhurst (RMAS) are considered to be "risk" candidates.
Of those, some 30% are identified as "high risk" and
in need of developmental training prior to attendance on the Commissioning
Course (CC), which is currently provided within the RMAS and contributes
a significant number of cadets who would, perhaps, otherwise have
been denied a place. As the Committee is aware, RMAS does not
provide specific remedial training but relies on "back terming"
weaker individuals. This allows them to repeat elements of the
CC, which in many cases proves successful, as some individuals
are "late developers" who benefit from this process.
The existing selection process is an exhaustive one that already
weeds out, at the start, those that would be unlikely to achieve
success. As in all areas of operation within the Army Training
Organisation, the RMAS is constantly reviewing existing practices
to weigh up the true cost effectiveness of these.
Royal Air Force College Cranwell.
The RAF already pursues the policy that it is more economical
to invest in additional training for those who fail one or more
aspect of the Initial Officer Course (IOT) on the first attempt
than to remove a cadet from training. The vast majority of Cadets
re-coursed are ultimately successful at IOT. A fact borne out
by the overall pass rate of 97.5%. A policy of suspending cadets
at the first sign of failure would, assuming the final pass rates
stays the same, need an increase in recruitment to 130% of current
norms to meet the training target.
14. Recruiting the right people (para 53): The
recruiting agencies must assess whether appropriate safeguards
are in place to guard against poor recruitment practices. They
must also ensure that those selected to carry out recruiting are
the most suitable people available, and that they receive the
necessary training and retraining.
Rigorous measures are taken to ensure high standards
in Service recruitment practices. For example, since September
2000 for the Naval-recruiting organisation, a travelling Standards
Team has conducted weeklong audits in the Careers Offices. Officer
Recruitment Centres are inspected biennially by the Deputy Director
of Naval Recruiting. The Army Recruiting Group has been the subject
of a number of studies and a continued programme of research to
assess the qualities of recruitment practices. Specific posts
have been introduced into the Headquarters to audit procedures
and practices to ensure a consistent and high quality operation.
A recent IiP assessment of RAF Recruitment and Selection practices
concluded that the processes are extremely robust and carried
out in a professional manner.
So far as recruiting staffs are concerned, all Naval
Services recruiting staffs are thoroughly trained at the Royal
Naval School of Recruiting. DERA expertise is used extensively
to ensure that all test material is valid and proven against Industry
standards. Army recruiters are subject to a rigorous selection
process involving interviews, attachments and completion of a
four-week course at the Army School of Recruiting. Course content
is also under constant review and practices and procedures are
revised and updated as appropriate. The RAF continues to strive
to adopt best recruiting practices and safeguards, modifying training
and educating staffs as changes occur.
15. Recruiting the right people (para 54): There
have been improvements in recent years in the co-ordination with
the work of Job Centres. There is a great deal more, we believe,
that could be done at the level of individual initiatives to make
more use of them, but practice is very patchy across the country.
Here again, we find a sense that the MoD is being insufficiently
energetic and imaginative in tapping into a wider civilian resource
and building up links with a wider society. This is an area where
more 'joined-up government' is needed.
The importance to recruitment of linking up with
non-MoD organisations and initiatives is already being acted upon.
MoD forged partnerships with DfEE's Employment Service and Careers
Service (access/links with secondary schools) in the mid-1990s;
both organisations are represented on the Defence Recruiting Committee
and firmly involved. Another aspect of the partnership is the
contribution of the Armed Forces to the Government's 'New Deal'
scheme whereby a Personal Development Course or a Service 'Taster
Day' is offered to those young unemployed people who show an interest
in the Armed Forces. Elsewhere, we are working with the Home Office
on the recruitment into uniformed services (eg police; fire service;
Armed Forces) of more people from the ethnic minority communities.
MoD's new youth initiative, Skill Force, also demonstrates our
use of a 'joined-up' approach; it began in September 2000 in Newcastle
and Norfolk after development with the DfEE, the Home Office and
local authorities and is now being extended to a further eight
16. Recruiting the right people (para 55):
The case for the Armed Forces representing British society
as a whole in its recruits is not just a moral or political one.
It is an urgent practical necessity.
The Armed Forces need to recruit and retain a sufficient
number of high calibre personnel to deliver the UK's requirement
for operational capability and to meet the required levels of
operational effectiveness. Our diversity policy assists that aim
in a number of ways, promoting equality of opportunity for all
personnel irrespective of race, ethnic origin, religion, gender,
social background or sexual orientation. It recognises that individuals
from diverse backgrounds bring fresh ideas, perceptions, skills
and attributes that not only benefit decision-making but also
enhance capability. It also assists our recruiting efforts with
those parts of the UK population whose potential we have not adequately
17. The scale of the retention problem (para 58):
In fact, for the Army, the percentage of other ranks leaving
the Service as a proportion of the trained strength was higher
in the year to April 2000 than in any of the previous four
years and the position for Navy ratings is little better.
As the figures in the Committee's report show, premature
voluntary exits of Army other ranks from trained strength in 1999/2000
(at 6.4%) were at their second lowest level in 10 years and well
below the peak at the beginning of the 1990's. The rate this year
(6.3% as at 1 February 2001) is also encouraging. The Naval rating/Royal
Marine other ranks voluntary exit rate peaked at 6.3% in August
1997, and fell to around 5% in mid 1998, where it has remained.
There are indications that it has fallen during 2000, but the
trend is not yet clear due to the transient effect of the recent
change from 18 to 12 months Notice to leave the Service.
18. The scale of the retention problem (para 58):
In no category other than naval officers did the Services have
a net gain in personnel in the last financial year.
The Naval Service has applied considerable effort
to the challenge of meeting the post-SDR requirement. The officer
recruiting success in 1999/2000 is re-inforced by the January
2001 figures recently released, showing real increases in both
officers and ratings strengths during the preceding 12 months.
The Army had a net inflow into the trained strength of the Army
for the first time in 15 years in FY 1999/2000. For the RAF, the
net outflow is in line with the restructuring of the Service to
undertake the role of an expeditionary Air Force. Total outflow
during 1999/2000, expressed as a percentage of trained start strength,
for both Officers (5.8%) and Ground Airmen (8.1%) was lower than
in the previous year, whilst recruitment achievement was good.
19. The scale of the retention problem (para 61):
It is extremely worrying that the target date for achieving full
manning in the Army keeps receding. The Army itself believes it
will be difficult to achieve the 97 per cent manning target by
2004 and it is not clear to us why there should therefore be any
great confidence that they will achieve full manning by 2008.
We do not believe that the MoD nor the Army are yet tackling poor
retention rates with sufficient urgency and imagination to address
the manning problems, and we expect to see much greater effort.
We cannot accept the Committee's comments that we
are not tackling retention with sufficient urgency or imagination.
Armed Forces retention is being tackled as a matter of the highest
priority. A wide range of measures aimed at improving levels of
retention through policies that genuinely reflect the priorities
of our people and their families, both at home and on deployment,
have been introduced. The Army, singled out for particular criticism,
is putting considerable effort and imagination into both recruiting
and retention and remains firmly committed to the target of achieving
full manning by 2005. Whilst the current strength figures pose
a very significant challenge to achieving this target, work is
in hand across a very wide range of initiatives. This is taking
the form of a three pronged approach; maximising recruiting, reducing
wastage during training and improving the return of service of
trained soldiers. Two examples of the effort and imagination that
the Army is putting into recruitment are the present Scotland-wide
trial of recruiting through a civilian agency and the extensive
use of the internet on-line recruiting service. The recruiting
trial commenced on 1 April 2001 and will last for one year. It
follows a series of studies in 1999, which led to the proposal
that utilisation of an experienced commercial human resources
company could lead to an improvement in recruitment and reduction
in associated costs. Throughout the trial, a commercial company
will be responsible for the regional and local marketing of the
Army, manage the processing of applicants through to final selection
and will maintain contact with individuals until they enlist in
the Army. If judged successful, this may be introduced throughout
the UK. As Minister(AF) has observed in the current edition of
Focus: 'This is a bold initiative which shows that the
Army has its finger on the pulse when it comes to modern recruiting
The Army's on-line recruiting service is an extension
of its website. It allows enquirers to 'chat' on-line with an
experienced recruiting officer. This service reflects the growing
use of the internet amongst the target population and provides
an information forum for those individuals who may, for whatever
reason, be reluctant to visit a careers office. It is intended
that the site will be further developed to allow completion of
much of the application process on-line, with only the formal
interview and initial selection process requiring a visit to the
More widely, the recommendations of the Armed Forces
Pay Review Body have again been accepted this year. As recently
announced in the House of Commons, we are planning to spend up
to £200 million per year on an upgrade programme of single
living accommodation. A further package of improvements to the
Operational Welfare Package will be introduced from April this
year. In addition to these tri-Service Initiatives, each Service
has a raft of measures aimed at improving retention. These include
innovative uses of technology; for example, the Army has expanded
its website with significant benefits for the soldier and his
family. Service personnel and their families can now collect a
comprehensive amount of information on units and garrisons world-wide
including medical facilities, schools and other educational establishments,
the Army Welfare Service, and the Army Families Federation. Service
personnel are also able to access policy, personal development
issues and training opportunities available to them, and information
on resettlement contracts.
These measures appear to be having an impact on retention.
Outflow so far this financial year is showing an improvement on
the same time last year and we expect this to continue.
20. The short-term manning problem (para 67):
We believe, in particular, there is room to recruit more women
Applications from women are welcomed by the RAF.
Females compete for entry as pilots on an equal footing with male
applicants. The RAF, for example, currently employs 34 trained
female pilots and a further 19 women are undergoing training.
21. The short-term manning problem (para 68):
The Royal Navy Reserve, supporting a much smaller front line force,
includes 88 pilots (81 trained to full readiness) of which
14 are fast-jet pilots (though they are on a lower level of
call-out liability than the RAF's).
The Royal Naval Reserve has been recruiting pilots
since 1980. During this period a highly co-ordinated and flexible
approach to managing the requirement and training has been developed,
and it is pleasing that the Committee recognises the success achieved.
22. The short-term manning problem (para 69):
It is evident that these arrangements to use reservist aircrew
point to one very productive way forward. The RAF is, in a way
distinct from the other services, part of a wider worldthe
aviation world. The initiatives the RAF has already taken in building
relations with that wider world need to be built on to develop
a strategy in which they work even more closely together.
Reservist Aircrew are currently employed on a large
number of different aircraft types in the RAF, and their numbers
are to be increased to help ease the regular aircrew manning deficit.
Nevertheless, a balance between regular and reservist aircrew
must be achieved, with regulars in the majority. The delivery
of operational air capability requires a core of full-time regular
professional airmen and women to deploy wherever required at short
The RAF is keen to build on the good links it has
established with the civil airlines in connection with the employment
of both regular and reservist aircrew. A non-executive Reservist
Aircrew Advisory Group has already been established as a forum,
involving the civilian airlines, the regulatory authority and
the 3 Services, where mutual concerns over the employment of reservists
may be discussed and resolved. Additionally, through schemes such
as the RAF Civil Airlines Recruiting Scheme and Linkup, the RAF
has regular contact with the civil airlines.
23. Defence Medical Services (para 71): The
slow progress made in treating the DMS problem indicate the unlikelihood
that general recruitment initiatives will be sufficient to remedy
critical shortages in some key specialist areas. We remain to
be convinced that these problems are being addressed with sufficient
There is no single solution to the manpower shortages
in the DMS. We need to improve the professional attractions of
service in the DMSwhich applies equally to retentionand
find ways of making the DMS a more attractive career option for
people completing their medical training. The opening of the Centre
for Defence Medicine on 2 April is a clear sign that the DMS have
a bright future. Specifically on recruitment, we are working closely
with the Department of Health (DH) to ensure a joined up approach
across Government departments. For example, the DH have agreed
that DMS requirements should be included in national manpower
planning and MoD representatives included in the new Workforce
Confederations. We have revised the arrangements for starting
pay for direct entry qualified personnel to enable us to offer
more attractive starting salaries, and are discussing with NHS
Trusts joint recruitment. We intend to start placing advertisements
24. Other short term initiatives (para 73): Moves
towards extended service might also embrace, in the longer term,
a more creative approach to the use of part-time service to meet
Personnel in Full Time Reserve Service appointments
already make a valuable contribution to the trained strength of
all three Services. In the Naval Service, it will be possible
to offer suitable Full Time Reserve Service vacancies to part-timers
with effect from July 2001. Army Full Time Reserve Service personnelTA
or ex-Service personnel with reserve commitmentshave been
used increasingly; some 613 were serving as at February 2001.
The RAF actively seeks out reservists who are willing to serve
on Full Time Reserve Service who are then used to fill gapped
Options for part-time service for Regular personnel
will be reviewed in the course of the current Naval Manning Strategy
study (Project TOPMAST). The Army is indeed thinking creatively
and imaginatively. For example, the Multiple Service Engagement
study began in January of this year and is expected to lead to
new or revised forms of engagement next year. Mobilised Reservistssome
of who may have a reserve commitmentare specialists who
are deployed in operational theatres; some 661 were serving as
at 1 February 2001. There are also some 366 Military Provost Guard
Service personnel also currently undertaking security duties.
For the RAF, the introduction of Additional Duties
Commitments (ADC) terms and conditions of service also allows
a reservist to undertake intermittent or part-time employment
compatible with any concurrent civilian employment. ADC allows
for a reservist to serve full time for a limited period.
25. Overstretch and time away from home (para
83): If a sustained pattern of high operational tempo is
to be maintained, it may be that the Services simply need more
people to do the job than we envisaged in the SDR.
We are grateful to the Committee for emphasising
the importance of the retention battle. Improving personnel retention
is a vital factor in improving manning levels, reducing overstretch
and obtaining the optimum return on the investment in training.
While time and the world has moved on since the Strategic Defence
Review, its principles and conclusions in relation to force levels
are proving as robust and well-founded as we expected them to
be. The success of our forces in Kosovo, and our ability to deploy
effectively to East Timor and Sierra Leone, show this. We are
pleased to report that commitment levels have reduced since 1999/2000.
For example, at the height of the Kosovo operation, 44% of the
trained strength of the Army was committed to operations; this
has reduced to 22%.
26. Overstretch and time away from home (para
83): The problem is, if the Services continue to lose the
retention battle they will not hit their SDR targets and meanwhile
the pressure on serving personnel will continue. If the Services
cannot substantially reduce the burden on personnel in the short
to medium term they may have to look at rewarding personnel more
generously both financially and with other benefits to induce
them to stay.
We are reducing the burden on personnel. Levels of
commitment have reduced significantly since the height of the
Kosovo operations. We have also introduced a range of measures
to improve retention. Outflow from the Armed Forces in 2000/2001
is showing an improvement on last year. We continue to seek to
enhance welfare support for personnel deployed on operations.
As announced in the House of Commons on 19 March 2001, a review
has recently been conducted into operational welfare, addressing
the shortfalls and inconsistencies in provision between different
theatres of operation. We will now be introducing significant
improvements to the Operational Welfare Package as a result of
this review, including extending provision to cover maritime deployments
and exercises lasting for 2 months or more. These improvements
will be introduced from 1 April 2001.
27. Pay (para 87): It is unfortunate that
the introduction of Pay 2000 was delayed by a year, thus delaying
its benefits. We hope for a successful introduction in April 2001
and expect the MoD to be able to demonstrate through the promised
evaluation that the new system is having a positive effect on
morale and on retention rates.
MoD is confident that Pay 2000 will be introduced
successfully in April 2001. The delay to implementation was regretted
but proved necessary to allow extra IS development and testing
time. The Department will monitor the impact of the new pay system
closely and assess the impact on retention and moraleparticularly
in the early years.
28. Pay (para 88): The problem which bonuses are
meant to tackle are one area where the 'tolerable variation' of
which AFOPS speaks must be used to ensure that individual services
are not excessively restricted in their ability to tackle specific
Financial retention initiatives (FRIs) are seen as
a measure of last resort, and are targeted to specific retention
issues to retain personnel and buy time while other measures are
instigated to correct the cause of that particular shortage. All
three Services have initiated FRIs in recent years; including
to counter extreme external market forces pressure.
29. Pay (para 88): The MoD needs to be
flexible but also more strategic in its approach if it is going
to use additions to pay as a retention tool, and in particular
needs to assess both the negative and positive effects of bonuses.
A comprehensive review of Additional Pay was undertaken
in 1998. The Review concluded that while there was scope for some
rationalisation of payments, the major forms were best handled
through a system separate from basic pay not least because this
provides flexibility to target additional cash where it is needed.
MoD is aware that there are adverse features to the use of FRIs,
but believes they are needed for the foreseeable future, as a
measure of last resort, to target specific retention issues.
30. Training and accredited qualifications (para
94): The Review Team believed that the crucial elements in
taking transferable qualifications forward in the Services were
that it should be done on a defence-wide, rather than a single
Service basis, and that the MoD should use its 'muscle' in this
area to better effect: it is the biggest user of training and
education in the country, with a budget of over £3 billion.
This is an area where the 'overarching' approach to personnel
is likely to be very beneficial.
The Defence Training Review has emphasised the importance
of transferable qualifications to the recruitment and retention
of personnel and the benefits of approaching accreditation on
a defence-wide basis. A Defence Accreditation Cell will be established
to set defence accreditation policy, avoid duplication by a co-ordinated
approach to the market place and use the MoD's corporate "muscle"
to achieve best value for money. We will also develop a progressive
approach to accreditation throughout an individual's career.
31. Training and accredited qualifications (para
95): We believe the [Standard] Learning Credit scheme should
be more generously funded. We recommend a phased increase in the
sums available up to a target of £500 per person per year.
The Standard Learning Credit scheme is already generous
in comparison to most employers. It was introduced in 1999 and
replaced the Individual Refund Scheme, increasing the amount available
by 25% in the process. The level of the award is reviewed annually.
32. Training and accredited qualifications (para
95): This [Enhanced Learning Credits scheme] seems
an excellent idea, although the precise details of how it will
work are not yet clear and we look forward to receiving further
information in response to this Report.
The Enhanced Learning Credit scheme will work as
follows. After an initial 4-year qualifying period of service
an individual will be able, in each of a maximum of 3 separate
financial years, to claim 80% of the fees for a learning purpose.
If the claim is made between 4 years and 8 years service the individual
can claim up to a maximum of £1,000 per annum. If the claim
is for learning after the 8 year point the maximum is increased
to £2,000 per annum thus rewarding those who remain in the
Armed Forces. The scheme recognises the difficulty some Service
personnel may have in undertaking study and so allows claims for
up to 10 years after leaving the Armed Forces.
33. Training and accredited qualifications (para
96): But the figures about take-up of this scheme also point
once again to the risks of going too far in the direction of single
solutions for all three Services. In general, the RAF has always
provided its people with skills which are highly applicable to
civilian work opportunities. Yet the RAF is attracting some two-thirds
of the funding of this scheme. Here again, the overarching
aims of the strategy need to be weighed against single-Service
specific needs. It is parts of the Army, above all, who need to
be developing this aspect of their trainingand it must
be adequately funded in doing so.
The Standard Learning Credits (SLC) scheme is demand
led. The take-up rates amongst soldiers have not been as high
as in the RAF. The longer-term trend in the Army suggests that
things are getting better: from a take-up rate of less than 2%
in 1999/2000 it now approaches 5%. This improvement has resulted
from active marketing of the opportunities offered by the SDR
'Learning Forces' initiative. The Army is pursuing a wide range
of accreditation opportunities, which will also encourage SLC
34. Training and accredited qualifications (para
98): We hope that the findings of the Defence Training Review
will fully recognise the value of transferable qualifications
and that it will recommend appropriate changes in Armed Forces
training and career patterns to reflect this. The funds available
should be focused on those personnel whose military jobs do not
automatically provide valuable civilian qualifications. Commanding
officers must accept such training as part of a Service man or
woman's career and not simply an add-on which they undertake in
their free time.
The Armed Forces have long recognised the need to
enable Service personnel to achieve civilian recognition of Service
qualifications. A great deal of single Service training is already
formally recognised and accredited by external bodies. The establishment
of the Defence Accreditation Cell will take that process further,
on a Defence-wide basis. That will be closely integrated to the
introduction of individual Personal Development Records for all
Service personnel, which encourage personnel to plan and invest
in professional and personal education and training, in conjunction
with line managers, as a formal element of individual career management.
35. Training and accredited qualifications (para
99): Good training is a recruitment incentive. But it will
be by convincing people that the longer they stay in the Services
the better trained they will be that retention can be improved.
The Services all have some way to go yet before they approach
to the best available in the private (and public) sectors in terms
of creating a genuine lifelong learning environment, in which
self-development is an integral part of manpower resource planning.
The Services are well aware of the need to retain
personnel and the valuable contribution that training and education
makes to this end. The Defence Training Review is proposing a
range of initiatives, which support the Government's policy of
Lifelong Learning. These will improve the delivery of training
within the Services, increase the levels of civilian accreditation
of that training and encourage individuals to undertake learning
in support of personal development. To aid this latter aim, we
are introducing the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme, which allows
personnel to draw down funding for up to 10 years after leaving
36. Operational welfare (para 102): We
agree that it would be better if personnel were able to take leave
to which they should be entitled unless unavoidable operational
commitments make this impossible. If over-commitment is preventing
leave being taken on a regular basis, it is only fair that the
MoD should investigate financial means of compensating those affected.
In the long term, the MoD should be able to demonstrate that leave
is an integral part of their manpower resource planning.
Leave is required to enable people to relax, spend
time with their family and friends and to return to their duties
refreshed and better equipped to cope with the demands of military
life and thereby ensure that they are individually and collectively
capable of delivering their element of operational capability.
The obligation to ensure that leave is taken wherever possible
is placed on the chain of command. We do not accept that financial
compensation should be offered when leave is lost as this would
risk the ability of commanding officers to achieve the required
levels of operational capability.
37. Operational welfare (para 103): But we
cannot emphasise too strongly our belief that generous access
to free communications with families is a fundamental right which
should be available to personnel on operational deployments wherever
possible. The record of the MoD in this area is poor. Improvements
have been made in recent years. Further improvements should be
As the Committee acknowledges, free telephone time
to those deployed on eligible operations has increased since 1997
from 3 minutes per week to 20 minutes per week. The Review of
Operational Welfare conducted in Autumn 1999 has led to a fundamental
re-appraisal of how personnel are supported in welfare terms on
The recommendations of the Review are being implemented
from 1 April 2001 and will cost an additional £60 million
over the 5-year period. The resulting changes give high priority
to communications with home by telephone, E-Mail, conventional
post and free aerogrammes, including electronic free aerogrammes
('E-Blueys'). In addition to the considerable range of improvements
being introduced across the operational theatres, the eligibility
for access to free communications is being extended to all those
on extended exercises, maritime deployments and those serving
in the Falklands; this should ensure parity for all.
38. SLA (para 107): The first priority
for the MoD must be to set a timescale and a detailed annual budget
for improving the SLA. If the Adjutant General's prediction that
it will take at least 10 years to complete the upgrade is correct,
this is simply unacceptable. In addition to ensuring that the
worst accommodation is improved as a matter of urgency the MoD
needs to adopt a strategic and considered approach in assessing
the long-term accommodation needs of unaccompanied Service personnel.
As the Secretary of State for Defence announced on
14 March, a very significant programme of expenditure on single
living accommodation for our Servicemen and women is being launched.
The upgrade programme will involve a major investment year-on-year
for the next decade. We plan to build up to new investment levels
of around £200 million per year on new and upgraded single
living accommodation. A number of upgrade and rebuild programmes
are already under wayfor example at Andover in one of our
first construction prime contracts, and in a number of PFI projects.
Action is in hand to let other contracts shortly for specific
projects. The principles of 'Smart Construction' will be applied
to the new programme, achieving greater efficiencies and economies
of scale through prime contracting or contracts covering the whole
country and close collaboration with the building industry. We
will invite industry to offer us innovative solutions to achieve
as much as is possible, as quickly as possible. A scoping study
is in progress and an integrated project team is being formed.
The detailed timetable will depend on what solutions industry
39. A more family friendly career structure (para
110): The Armed Forces should do more to recognise and
accommodate the changing needs of personnel during their period
of service. We recommend that the MoD takes a more imaginative
approach to terms of employment in the Service and investigates
in detail the possibility of offering career breaks and guaranteeing
personnel with families more stability at periods in their career
when they need it. We further recommend that it explores ways
of making greater use of the resources the Services have in personnel
who have completed their 22 years' service.
All three Services are embracing a number of initiatives
designed to meet the reasonable expectations of both the individual
and their families to assist Service personnel combine Service
career commitments with family responsibilities, subject to the
overriding operational requirements of the Service. That said,
careful management of such initiatives is required to ensure that
they are not at the expense of operational capability or overstretch
on others. The Naval Service is, for example, actively considering
the possibility of career breaks and offering personnel with families
more stability at periods when they need it. Additionally, policy
is being urgently developed to ensure that both parents of young
children are not at sea simultaneously and overlap their shore
service by at least 3 months. A number of family friendly policies
have already been introduced by the RAF, including monitoring
and managing the turbulence suffered by individuals, giving greater
importance to personal posting preferences. In addition, improvements
to the maternity arrangements for Armed Forces personnel are under
With regard to continuance, the Naval Service already
makes extensive, but judicious, use of Extensions of Service beyond
22 years, typically offering careers for selected personnel out
to at least 32 years. Additionally, suitable recruits are accepted
for 22-year engagements up to the age of 33 years, thus serving
well beyond the middle of their working lives. The Army has a
number of mechanisms or incentives in hand to enable soldiers
to serve beyond 22 years. Around 27% of officer intake for this
financial year is expected to come from late entry commissions
from the ranks and some 400 are serving on continuance. In addition,
the Multiple Service Engagement, a study in hand at the moment,
is expected to lead to new or revised forms of engagement next
year. In the RAF, extensions of service to 22 years are normally
offered on promotion to corporal, and beyond 22 years on promotion
to sergeant. To address shortages within certain ground trades,
however, the RAF is offering some 700 junior airmen the opportunity
to extend their service to 22 years. This package was introduced
last year and is planned to run for 4 years; to date around 350
airmen have agreed to extend their service. Further work is in
hand to identify the possibility of expanding this package to
include more senior personnel in critically manned trades. Where
there is a Service need, RAF personnel are already invited to
extend their period of service beyond the normal retirement age
of 55 applicable in most branches and trades.
40. Ethos and Discipline (para 115): Self-discipline
combined with respect for authority remain the cornerstone of
Service ethos. The balance to be struck in preserving this, whilst
continuing to attract and retain people from today's less disciplined
society, is a very delicate one which the Services and the MoD
need to keep under constant review.
We agree. This is the approach that the Services
and the Department are following.
41. Leadership Skills (para 117): In looking at
people management skills, the Training Review will need to examine
the balance between management tasks and more direct operational
skills. The former are important, but should not be allowed to
squeeze out the latter.
The Defence Training Review recognises the requirement
to optimise the balance between management training and operational
skills. As announced by the Secretary of State for Defence on
27 March, a Defence Leadership Centre will be established to design
an overarching policy framework and strategy for managerial and
leadership training, to meet the wider needs of defence.
42. Leadership Skills (para 120): Personnel management
is an area in which the Services need to develop if they are to
provide a working environment which meets the demands of today's
employees. This has been demonstrated to be an issue which the
Services cannot ignore. We welcome the Services' acceptance that
change is necessary and expect to see evidence of a more professional
approach to managing people.
Naval Service. We are
pleased that the Committee has acknowledged the measures taken
at Britannia Royal Naval College to improve the training of new
officers. Personnel management is delivered in the RN/RM through
'Divisional'/Regimental officers and senior rates who are all
required to undergo formal training and whose performance is monitored
and assessed by their superiors. The recent introduction of Drafting
and Career Management Liaison Offices in the three Base Port Areas
and the Air Stations at Yeovilton and Culdrose enables personal
advice to be given to all ratings regarding career and drafting
opportunities. They can contribute to, and influence, their own
career planning. The RN/RM continue to monitor the effect of the
measures already taken and are pursuing a programme of continuous
improvement including the developments flowing from the Armed
Forces Overarching Personnel Strategy, the Naval Personnel Strategy
and the Naval Strategic Plan.
Army. The Armed Forces
Overarching Personnel Strategy, and now the Strategy for the Army/Personal
Development Agenda, have brought personnel issues to the top of
the Executive Committee of the Army Board's agenda. A major review
of officers' generic training (Review of Officers' Career Courses)
is ongoing and due to report in November 2001. Similarly, a further
study concentrating on Non-Commissioned Officers' generic training,
primarily command leadership and management skills, is also underway
and due to report in April 2002. In addition, the Junior Officers
Leadership Programme is a pilot course, focused on young officers,
aimed at developing leadership and management skills. It is envisaged
that this will, once established, become a requirement for promotion.
Royal Air Force. The RAF
is making significant advances in this area. The personnel department
has been reorganised to manage skill sets more effectively; competencies
are being recorded on revised appraisal forms and will now be
a key consideration in appointing individuals to posts. From October
2001, all RAF personnel will also have direct access to their
personnel manager. Transparency of all personnel management processes
has also been significantly improved and wherever sensible the
management of officers and other ranks has been harmonised. The
importance of good personnel management is accepted. All RAF personnel
staff receive regular training and updates on Service and civilian
issues, routine letters and forms are being reviewed and, where
necessary, rewritten into plain English, and a comprehensive programme
of outward and inward visits will help ensure that the personnel
department stays in tune with its customers.
43. Harassment and Bullying (para 128): We
believe the Services have made great strides in changing their
working environment to one where all members of society can be
expected to feel welcome. But there is no room for complacency:
regrettable incidents of racial and sexual harassment and other
forms of bullying are still occurring and efforts to eradicate
these must continue. We recommend the MoD takes full account of
the views of the EOC and the CRE in working towards an effective
equal opportunities policy which will meet the high standards
which the Services have set themselves. The MoD should demonstrate
its commitment to a harassment free working environment by ensuring
that there is no display of material which may either be seen
as offensive to women or of a racist nature, in any public areas
in any of its premises or that of its agencies.
Much has been achieved to introduce an environment
in the Armed Forces where men and women, irrespective of ethnic
background, sexual orientation or religion, can work without fear
of discrimination or harassment. Certainly there is no room for
complacency. We will continue to work closely with the Equal Opportunities
Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality to tackle any
prejudice and to import best practice from elsewhere. All three
Services will continue to act decisively to remove any literature
or material, which might be sexist, racist or offensive to those
of different sexual orientation.
44. Code of Social Conduct (para 130): We are
pleased that the introduction of the new code of social conduct
so far appears to have caused no problems and look forward to
receiving further results of the MoD's ongoing monitoring. It
is important that the Services look ahead to anticipate problems
of this kind and how they wish to respond, rather than being forced
into action by outside authorities. In the case of homosexuality,
the Services may have found a policy which proves to be acceptable
to the majority of Service personnel.
A further management review of the Armed Forces Code
of Social Conduct and homosexuality policy is planned for July
2002. The main findings of the review will be reported to the
45. Family welfare (para 136): We recommend
that the provision of 'cyber cafes' and distance learning centres
for families in every significant Service community should be
adopted as a definite target.
All three Services have widespread access to the
internet at Service facilities. Subject to administrative requirements,
Naval Service spouses will have access to the education facilities
in all 18 RN/RM Learning Centres. Work is in hand to achieve this
extension of service and to advertise its availability and RN
Families' Centres are also internet fitted. For the Army, all
major Garrisons and stations have publicly funded internet facilities
for families, which are available through local HIVEs. In addition,
many units have set up 'cyber cafes' at their own expense. A recent
initiative between MoD, NAAFI and Public Internet Services Ltd
has provided coin-operated internet kiosks in nearly 50 unit locations
for both soldiers and families. Distance Learning Centres are
available to both soldiers and families in 33 Army Education Centres
(AECs) and 53 Army libraries located world-wide. The plan is to
have such facilities in all AECs by financial year 2002/2003,
with the primary purpose being access to educational and training
packages. The RAF provides internet facilities at every RAF HIVE,
which are normally located with other community facilities, such
as coffee shops and childcare centres; therefore, they offer easy
access to the internet for families in a relaxed atmosphere. Learning
Centres have also been set up on 10 RAF stations and these have
on-line internet access. Each Centre has a Personal Learning Advisor
to provide advice and guidance. Although primarily intended for
the use of Service Personnel, MoD civilians and Service dependants
aged 16 and over can also use the Centres.
46. SFA (para 138): A study undertaken in
1991 by the Army Personnel Research Establishment indicated that
Army personnel were significantly less likely to take early severance
if they stayed in service accommodation up to the age of 35 or
so. We recommend that this study be re-run, and take in the
The majority of subject areas covered by the Army
Personnel Research Establishment study and subsequent report are
now monitored on a regular basis, and in a more sophisticated
manner, through the revised Army Continuous Attitude Survey. This
contains over 40 questions relating to housing, accommodation,
retention and welfare and provides valuable input to policy decisions.
A tri-Service Defence Housing Review is currently in progress,
which inter alia, is examining the effect of Defence housing
on recruitment and retention and measures that might enhance that
Analysis of the Continuous Attitude Surveys of Service
leavers, spouses and serving members show that the ability, or
lack of ability, to exercise choice over where and how their families
live is an important factor in retention of personnel. The initial
findings of the Defence Housing Review suggest that, although
it remains important to provide a good standard of accommodation
to those who need it, the retentive effect of families' accommodation
is greatest where personnel are allowed to exercise freedom of
47. SFA (para 140): The budget and the target
date for achieving the upgrade have proved unrealistic: at the
beginning of 2000, a revised target date of 2005 was announced,
with a budget of £582 million. We welcome the increased
funding, if not the delayed target dates.
The original target date of 2003 had to be necessarily
extended following the identification of additional works through
a major stock conditions survey completed in 1998. The Department
is confident that the upgrade will be substantially complete by
November 2005 as noted by the Committee.
48. SFA (para 144): A high standard of accommodation
should be available to all Service families who want it. Achieving
the upgrade of the estate in a reasonable time span is essential.
This is one area where more money would have immediate and beneficial
effects for Service personnel and their families and, in consequence,
massive potential benefits for the Services in terms of morale
and retention. The Treasury took a huge amount of money from the
sale of the married quarters estate in 1996nearly £1.7
billion. It let the MoD keep only £100 million, a sum clearly
inadequate for the promised upgrading of the married quarters.
We recommend that more of the proceeds of the sale should go back
to the Services in the form of an immediate, ring-fenced increase
in the funds made available to the Defence Housing Executive specifically
for the upgrade of the Service Families Accommodation. At the
same time, we recommend that the MoD tailor its policies on Service
Family Accommodation to meet the specific needs of each Service.
The split of receipts between MoD and Treasury from
the sale of the married quarters estate in November 1996 was decided
by the previous Government. The £100 million allocated from
the sale for the upgrade programme was not the only funding available;
at the time, the Department had already identified some £370
million for upgrade work, bringing a total of £470 million
over seven years. The additional funding for Single Living Accommodation
announced by Secretary of State for Defence on 14 Mar 01, also
includes further provision for improvements to family accommodation
in Germany and other overseas locations.
Funding requirements increased following the completion
of the stock condition survey referred to above. The work programme
was necessarily extended by two years, with additional funding,
bringing the target date to complete the upgrade of the bulk of
long-term core stock to November 2005. The need for additional
funding will be kept under review in the light of future contract
costs and demand for accommodation from Service families.
49. Service Families Task Force (para 145): We
welcome the MoD's initiative in establishing the Families Task
Since its inception, the role and agenda of the Task
Force has grown as new areas of difficulty for Service families
come to light. We will continue to address these in co-operation
with the Departments in whose area of responsibility the issues
50. Service Families Task Force (para 147):
We expect to see a more active engagement by the DfEE and Department
of Health in the issues affecting Service family welfare, and
we recommend that our successor committee take evidence from Ministers
in those Departments on their achievements of these goals.
Other Government Departments are engaged on a day-to-day
basis with the problems faced by Service families and they have
responded positively in helping to resolve many of these. However,
we recognise that this involvement has in some cases been responsive
rather than pre-emptive. We plan that the Ministerial Group should
meet in the Autumn and review the way in which key Departments
outside MoD are engaged in addressing Service families' concerns.
51. Service Families Task Force (para 148): We
recommend the rapid development of key indicators of the quality
of education and health provision for Service families, the rapid
development of targets for improvement, and the public measurement
of progress in reaching these. The government has been setting
national standards for health and education for the population
as a whole. These should represent a minimum for Service families.
Service families based in UK are covered by the same
educational and health services as the rest of the population,
including targets for levels of service provision. The Service
Families Task Force (SFTF) identifies areas where the families'
mobile lifestyle creates added difficulties and takes action to
Children of Service families receive the same standard
of education as the rest of the population. This includes education
provided overseas by the Service Children's Education (SCE) agency,
which is inspected by OFSTED. Mobility can affect a family's choice
of school as a result of moving outside the normal academic year.
We recognise families' concern that they should not be disadvantaged
in terms of choice and are addressing this. Available data, for
example on achievement levels at SCE schools, indicates that the
performance of Service children is comparable with that of children
in the wider population.
Similarly, research gives no grounds for concluding
that the mobile lifestyle of the Service family adversely affects
The major concern of Service families with regard
to health provision is with waiting lists. There is a Government
programme to address this in so far as it affects the population
as a whole. The SFTF is addressing the added problem faced by
some Service families due to moves between NHS Trust and on returning
to UK from overseas.
Specific Service family problems with regard to health
and education are monitored through Service and MoD family welfare
organisations, through the Families Forum by the Minister for
the Armed Forces and through Continuous Attitude Surveys. We have
no reason to believe that the systems in place for education and
health are failing to identify issues of significance and, on
this basis, we have no plans to introduce new monitoring systems
or targets for the quality of educational and health provision
to Service families.
52. Service Families Task Force (para 149):
Whilst government policy has been substantially to increase health
and education expenditure in the UK, the provision of such services
to families accompanying Service personnel on overseas postings
has had to be accommodated within a broadly static defence budget.
Against a background of increased government spending on health,
education, and social services in the UK, there is a risk that
provision of such services to families in overseas garrisons,
which fall on the defence budget, will be relatively disadvantaged.
We recommend that the MoD at least match funding increases
for such services, and seek commensurate Treasury uplift in the
Wherever practicable, the overseas commands act as
Local Authorities for their Service families in terms of ensuring
the provision of health, education and social services. The Service
personnel staffs keep the resulting services under review to ensure
that Service families receive a standard of support that is comparable
with that available in the UK, including meeting any statutory
obligations. Should arrangements fail to match those available
in the UK, we would address this, seeking funding as necessary.
For example, in view of the rapid changes in social welfare legislation,
a DoH consultant was employed by the MoD to draw up the statement
of requirement on which the contract for social welfare support
overseas was based. The resulting services are being funded from
within the Defence budget.
53. Unmarried partners (para 152): We expect a
comprehensive statement of policy on unmarried partners in response
to this Report and encourage our successor committee to give consideration
to this important matter of principle at an early stage.
Unmarried partners are not at present eligible for
those benefits that are available to married couples. An extension
of eligibility would raise complex questions of principle, practicality
and cost. The Department is keeping the issue under active consideration
but an early conclusion is not anticipated.
54. Pensions (para 160): We expect the [AFPS]
review findings to be published before the government replies
to this Report.
The Review findings for public consultation were
published on 16 March.
55. Resettlement (para 163): We recommend
that 'resettlement' facilities are made available to spouses.
Many of the existing arrangements are already open
to spouses. Each Service leaver has access to a personal career
consultant and spouses are welcome to attend interview sessions.
On the courses run for those who wish to start up their own business,
attendance by spouses is not only encouraged, but recommended;
in fact few do attend for a range of practical reasons, often
involving employment or children. Last year we extended full resettlement
support to the spouses of those medically discharged, who themselves
are unable to take it up. In FY 1999/2000 the number of Service
leavers eligible for the full Career Transition Partnership service
totalled 14,000; whilst not all are married, the additional cost
would obviously be very considerable. The RAF and Royal Air Force
Association are developing a "Point of Contact" scheme,
which will be available to serving personnel and spouses seeking
local employment opportunities and information on discharge.
56. Resettlement (para 164): We recommend that
the MoD make resettlement training and advice an entitlement for
Service personnel which should be available for up to 12 months
There are different levels of 'eligibility' dependent
on the Service leaver's length of service. For those eligible
who register for Career Transition Partnership (CTP) (>80%),
advice is already available for up to 2 years post-discharge.
All training is done pre-discharge, whilst the Service leaver
is still not only being employed and paid by MoD, but is also
therefore eligible for the appropriate allowances. The rules already
allow for exceptions to be made for genuine operational or other
Service reasons. Those who have only served for a very short period
of time are not eligible for the full resettlement package. The
CTP, as the title suggests, is about career transition; those
who leave after only 3 years are not seen as having had a 'career'
and should not need the support that those who have been isolated
from the civilian world for much longer are deemed to need.
57. Resettlement (para 165): It is the Services'
own interests that those leaving the Armed Forces take a positive
experience back to the civilian community. The Services need to
do more to ensure this is the case and should draw on the knowledge
and experience of organisations who work with ex-Service men and
women, and therefore understand their problems, in further developing
their resettlement package to meet the needs and expectations
of those who have served their country.
It is the Service leaver's experiences whilst serving
that will give the messages, good or bad, which he/she takes back
into civilian life. Resettlement is a part of the whole career
package and seen very much as a positive part of both recruitment
and retention. In FY 1999/2000, over 93% of eligible Service leavers
were in appropriate employment within 6 months of discharge, perhaps
an indication of the success of the current resettlement arrangements.
58. Sick and Injured Veterans (para 170):
These are complicated issues but, as we have commented before,
the MoD has not in the past handled the issue of sick veterans
with anything like the sympathy and concern which it should demonstrate.
The Government welcomes the Committee's acknowledgement
of the complexity of the issues. It also notes the Committee's
past acknowledgement of the efforts that have been made since
1997 in addressing the concerns of Gulf veterans. Continuing to
deal with these issues remains a high priority for this Government.
The Gulf Veterans' Medical Assessment Programme (GVMAP)
continues to be run efficiently and the vast majority of veterans
who have attended have been well satisfied with its services.
This is borne out by the responses to a user questionnaire, introduced
as a result of the 1999 external audit, which showed that 94%
of those who used the GVMAP and completed a questionnaire were
satisfied with their assessment and 27% added further comments
to express the extent of their satisfaction.
Since July 1999, the GVMAP has been utilising a network
of psychiatric assessment centres with specialist knowledge of
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to which Gulf veterans have
been referred as appropriate. In general we believe this system
has been working very well. A range of measures aimed at preventing
PTSD among serving personnel is in place, including pre- and post-
deployment briefings and professional counselling in theatre.
Service personnel needing counselling or psychiatric treatment
have access to the Community Psychiatric Service at units, out-patient
care at the Royal Hospital Haslar and in- or out- patient care
at the Duchess of Kent's Psychiatric Hospital, Catterick.
Ministers of State for the Armed Forces have held
eight meetings with Gulf veterans' representatives and also met
a number of veterans individually accompanied by their MPs. Regular
meetings have also been held between Gulf veterans' representatives
and officials from the Gulf Veterans' Illnesses Unit. All veterans'
letters and phone calls receive comprehensive replies.
Fresh arrangements were announced on 21 November
2000 to address the health concerns of Porton Down Volunteers,
some of whom believe their ill health may be related to participation
in the human trials programme at Porton Down. A Medical Assessment
Programme has been set up and discussions continue with the Medical
Research Council to establish an epidemiological research programme.
Our initiatives on Gulf veterans, Porton Down volunteers,
and recently on screening in respect of health concerns about
depleted uranium show that we are determined to respond to the
concerns of veterans.
Ministry of Defence
10 April 2001