Memorandum from the Ministry of Defence
(13 April 2000)
1. Thank you for your letter of 24 March
in which you asked for a note on:
(a) the Call-out Order made under section
56 Reserve Forces Act 1996 to allow members of the reserve forces
to be called out for service with the UN observer and monitoring
forces in Sierra Leone and the Democractic Republic of the Congo;
(b) the Call-out Order made under section
54 Reserve Forces Act 1996 which permits members of the reserve
forces to continue to be called out to support operations in the
former Yugoslavia and in the region of Iraq;
(c) the Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Association
Regulations which were laid in the House on 23 March 2000.
Each subject is discussed in turn below.
The Section 56 Call-out Order
2. The Call-out Order made on 11 March 2000
under section 56 Reserve Forces Act 1996 was the first to be made
under that section. Its purpose was to allow the call out of members
from any of the reserve forces for service with the United Nations
monitoring and observer forces in Sierra Leone and the Democratic
Republic of the Congo.
3. The requirement is primarily for officers,
from any Service, who have experience of peacekeeping, monitoring,
service as liaison officers, movements officers or public relations
work. Additionally, a working knowledge of the French language
is desirable for those holding posts in the Democractic Republic
of the Congo. No posts are specially set aside for reservists.
4. Although the total UK commitment to the
UN forces in Sierra Leone and the Democractic Republic of the
Congo is not significant, current strengths being 18 and six personnel
respectively, it can sometimes be difficult to fill the posts
from within the regular forces. This is because people with the
necessary skills, experience and training are not always available
at the right time. The inclusion of the reserve forces in a trawl
can help to ensure that posts are filled in a timely manner and
without imposing an additional burden or disruption upon those
recently returned from other operational tours.
Call-out Order made on 3 April 2000 under Section
54 Reserve Forces Act 1996
5. A Call-out Order was made on 3 April
2000 under section 54 of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 to permit
reservists to be called out to support NATO operations in the
former Yugoslavia, the no-fly operations over north and south
Iraq and the UN commitment on the Iraq/Kuwait border. This Call-out
Order is the fourth made under section 54 of the 1996 Act.
6. On 1 April 2000 832 reservists were in
permanent service, having been called out to support NATO operations
in the former Yugoslavia. (RNR 5, RMR 4, TA 538, Army Reserve
252, RAuxAF 23 and RAF Reserve 10). These figures include reservists
who are providing operational support from the UK and other countries
as well as those deployed in the former Yugoslavia. It also includes
reservists on post-operational leave.
7. Reservists are used in the former Yugoslavia
to make up shortfalls in regular Service manning, reduce overstretch
and to bring units up to their operational establishments. No
targets have been set in the Call-out Order as the numbers of
reservists required during the year will change according to operational
needs, other Service commitments and overall manning levels in
the armed forces. Historically the reserve forces have provided
some 10% of the total UK force deployed in the former Yugoslavia,
although this figure did rise last year to just under 15% primarily
because of the additional commitments in Kosovo. Currently, the
UK's total contribution to the NATO Stabilisation Force (SFOR)
in Bosnia is just under 3,000 personnel while the contribution
to the force in Kosovo, KFOR, is about 3,500.
8. By cap-badge, the main requirements for
Army reservists in former Yugoslavia are expected to remain proportionately
similar to last year, covering a broad spread of trades and skills.
Reservists from all three Services will also continue to provide
many specialist skills, including, meteorologists, linguists,
intelligence staff, public relations officers and movements support.
9. The Call-out Order made under section
54 will also enable reservists to continue to be called out in
order to support the no-fly zone operations over north and south
Iraq and also the UN commitment on the Iraq/Kuwait border. At
present some 60 reservists are involved in these operations, the
majority coming from the RAuxAF and RAF Reserve. The main trades
and branches include Flight Operations staff, RAuxAF Regiment,
movements, nursing services, intelligence and administrative staff.
10. The Committee has also sought a progress
report on the re-organisation of the Territorial, Auxiliary and
Reserve Forces Associations (TAVRA) since its First Report of
Session 1998-99, together with the reason for deciding to change
the title of the TAVRAs and an exposition of the purpose and effect
of the Reserve Forces' and Cadet' Associations (RFCA) Regulations
laid on 23 March 2000.
The structure of the TAVRAs: MoD/TAVRA Interface
11. As indicated to the Committee previously,
a joint MoD/TAVRA Interface Study was undertaken. Its conclusions
and recommendations were accepted and endorsed by CinC Land Command
and the Chairman of the Council of TAVRAs. As a result, and with
the co-operation of the Associations, there will be a reduction
in the number of Associations from the present 14 to 13 with effect
from 1 September 2000. An order made in accordance with section
110 of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 (RFA96) will be made before
that date, and copied to the Committeewith explanatory
memorandumwhen the statutory instrument is laid.
12. A further recommendation of the joint
working group related to the budgetary arrangements necessary
to reflect the new structure and relationships. The Associations
derive the majority of their income from five Top Level Budgets
(TLBs) within MoD. Each Association will be responsible for in-year
management of a Basic Level Budget, and be resourced to achieve
its agreed annual programme of tri-Service tasks from the range
identified and jointly agreed in course of the study.
13. Obviously where there are complex series
of inter-relationships, clarity of responsibility and accountability
at all stages is essential. Strategic mechanisms are also necessary
to establish confidence, communications and the necessary partnership
on both sides of the MoD/TAVRA interface; to ensure co-ordination
and coherence, where there may be commonality or conflicts of
interest. Accordingly, at the level of personal responsibilities
and accountability, Letters of Delegation are issued to each Association
Secretary. At regional level, local Service representatives will
be invited to attend Associations' committee meetings. Associations
are now represented at meetings of the Management Boards of the
regional Army Division and CinC Land Command. And a tri-Service
Stakeholders' Board has been established, which will report to
the Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Advisory Committee (RFCAC), chaired
by the Minister for the Armed Forces on behalf of the Defence
14. All these new arrangementsand
many othersare embraced by the new Reserve Forces' and
Cadets' Associations Regulations.
The Change of Name
15. The Associations published their own
review "TAVRA 2000: A Report on the Role of TAVRAs"
on 30 May 1997. In this Report, the Associations themselves recommended
that they be known as Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Associations
to better reflect their tri-Service and cadet responsibilities.
The MoD/TAVRA Interface Study endorsed that recommendation.
Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Associations Regulations
16. As the Committee is aware, the current
TAVRA Regulations were published by Defence Council Order dated
29 August 1978. The purpose of the new Regulations is to do more
than merely update these. They also incorporate proposals resulting
from wide consultation and policy developments in areas such as
membership appointment procedures and the responsibilities of
key officers and committees, and improved financial and general
management arrangements and property and personnel management
responsibilities. As a result, the RFCA Regulations now provide
an over-arching charter that sets out the framework in which the
Associations operate. The effect is to give flesh to the provisions
of Part IX of RFA96. The financial regulations incorporated in
the Regulations have received the Treasury consent required by
section 117(2) of the Act.
17. The Regulations set out in full the
tasks and responsibilities of the Associations and their members.
They publish the Terms of Reference and Membership of the Reserve
Forces' and Cadets' Advisory Committee and Stakeholders' Board,
through which the Defence Council will maintain overall visibility
of the Associations. The Regulations also embody the only published
and fully updated versions of the Military Lands Acts that apply
to the Associations.
18. From the framework provided by the Regulations,
other administrative instruments depend, such as Financial Memorandums
and the Army Volunteer Estate Works Management Manual (regulations
3.3 and 4.3) and the RFCA Staff Regulations (regulation 5.2).
New Schemes of Association, made in accordance with RFA96 section
111 and Schedule 4, have been negotiated with the Associations.
These take fully into account the regulations on organisational
structure and membership appointments, and will come into effectunder
their new names as RFCAsfrom 1 April 2000.
19. We are satisfied that the issues raised
in the Committee's previous inquiry have been explored and resolved
in full and wide consultation with the Associations, the Service
and MoD and that the outcome that has been accepted on both sides
of the MoD/TAVRA interface. The new RFCA Regulations give the
Defence Council clear visibility of the structure and mechanisms
of the bodies it has estbalished. Named as Reserve Forces' and
Cadets' Associations, the new RFCA Regulations recognise and record
their role and their Crown status as autonomous Government non-trading
bodies serving all three Services.
1 See the Government's Observations (No 417, published
28 April 1999) and Mr Spellar's answer to the written Parliamentary
question from Mr Pound MP on 21 April 1999 (Hansard, Col WA566). Back