Army Reserve Manning - MoD Response

Bad CO

Admin
The legion of ARRSEs working deep undercover in MoD Main Building tell me that there are some very senior people in the MoD who are pretty miffed with the recent article in the Express concerning AR manning (Thread: Army Reserve Manning - Change The Target). Now that in itself isn't really that much of a surprise and probably not worth an entire thread of its own.

What we do have though is a draft of the response which aforementioned very senior people were preparing to send until they realised that it would probably just cause the story to erupt again.

Anyway the draft that we have is:

Your article ‘Army Reserve in Crisis’ in last week’s edition presents an image of the Army Reserve that is not something that we recognise.

Despite the challenges Reservists face in balancing separate life demands with their military service, the vast majority train regularly. And only those who are able to complete a full annual training package, including a two week camp, get paid their year-end bounty.

As the people who know their soldiers best, commanders have the flexibility to retain personnel whose other commitments may have prevented regular training, but who remain committed to returning to service.

Your criticism of the Royal Yeomanry is completely unfounded; it is currently recruited to above 100% of its target strength and is well-attended.

Army Reserve recruiting figures are encouraging. Over 6,500 joined in the past year – a 64% increase on the previous year.

During the past year, Reserves have deployed on operations, including in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and the Middle East. They have supported in domestic emergencies, including the recent flooding, and carried out 23 overseas exercises.


That's an interesting response which seems reasonable enough although I feel throws a bit of chaff into the air.

As we all know, AR COs are under pressure about manpower levels. As OJAR time approaches it must be very tempting to use their discretion regarding retention for non-attenders in a 'flexible' manner that has the entirely unintended consequence of making their unit performance look better ......
 

Purple_Emperor

War Hero
Pretty sure I saw this as a letter from Julian Brazier in one of the papers? So they must have decided to use it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Daxx

MIA
Book Reviewer
It mentions recruitment figures, but omits outflow figures which would be more interesting for balance.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
As we all know, AR COs are under pressure about manpower levels. As OJAR time approaches it must be very tempting to use their discretion regarding retention for non-attenders in a 'flexible' manner that has the entirely unintended consequence of making their unit performance look better ......

Which is why the key figure is the number of reservists who were deemed "efficient" for bounty purposes, rather than those held on strength. You can then refine that even further by looking at various measures of fit for role (ie passed Ph 3 training) rather than fit for appointment (Ph 2).

You can then further complicate things by working out who is FFR but didn't meet efficiency requirements in the previous training year!
 
Someone has got their percentages wrong

17 Nov 2015 : Column 104WH
Most notably, 6,500 people joined the Army Reserve, an increase of 73% on the previous period
House of Commons Hansard Debates for 17 Nov 2015 (pt 0001)

That's like polishing a turd. Numbers are still woefully short no matter what percentage increase gets bragged about.

If you have a casualty at deaths door with a pint of blood in their system, a 100% increase in blood level is not going to see them skipping around full of the joys of spring is it?

Likewise, you can state that recruitment is up...but if attendance/retention is down, then water is coming aboard that sinking ship quicker than you can bail it out....no matter how big your bucket is.
 
They need to get to grips with the real reason that people don't want to join. It simply isn't attractive enough for most civvies. Regulars will put up with lots of crap, poor conditions, shit jobs etc, but TA, or whatever they are called now don't have to.

Weneye were a PSI, we had blokes desperate to do things but ended up doing "training" with their own NCO's week after month.

"Cant take a vehicle out for a map reading ex, PSI, fuel restrictions, do the training in the hall". And "Uniforms? yeah, dues out till August". Radio training? "Cant take a vehicle, we are limited for mileage get the blokes to walk round the camp with A41's - oh, sorry can't release the batteries for the radios". Etc etc AIAN.

It went on and on and it used to drive me nuts. Hopefully things have changed.










But I doubt it.
 
Not heard of CAPITA?

Thought the dismantling of the TA and it's associated brand attractions (DPM social club with added BATSIM?) preceded their appearance on the scene?
 
Not heard of CAPITA?
Nope - well, only on here and vague references in the press, which I couldn't be bothered to read up on because it appears from the comments on here and the available retention figures that nothing has changed.

Which is more or less what I said when the "new" AR was launched. I take no vicarious pleasure in being right though.
 
I hope that the MOD decided not to bother replying. As @Bad CO says, this would only have stirred things up.

The story didn't seem to have much impact, due to its timing, except among those who are paid to care about such things. Perhaps that's a skewed view on my part, caused by infrequency of exposure to people who read the Sunday Express or the Daily Mail.

I have asked around and it appears that no one I know knows someone who reads the Express in any of its variants, and I doubt the readership of the Mail really cares.

The other reason I am happy that (or would have been, if) the MOD letter were not released is that the line in it about the Royal Yeomanry doesn't actually answer the critique levelled in the Express and Mail articles. The critique was about attendance and training level as much as manning and recruitment. I gave the full answer in the other thread:

(snip) Second, as to the manning and attendance of the Royal Yeomanry. Here, I need to declare an interest: I am a member of that regiment. I am told that the RY are one of the best recruited and attended units in the Army Reserve. My regiment is currently 137% recruited, with 489 on the books (as against a target manning of 357 people).

Is that figure of 489 inflated with non-attenders, as Mr Giannangeli alleges? Well, a key indicator of attendance is whether or not those 489 were paid. As we all know, Reserves pay is “attendance based”, meaning if you don’t turn up you don’t get paid.

In the last year 443 members of the RY were paid at some stage. That is 91% of the 489 on the books, and substantially more than the 357 people who are supposed to be in the RY.

Yes, yes you say: but how many of the 489 are fully trained? The latest figures I have seen are that 271 out of the RY's target 357 are trained. Again, that figure (about 75%) is impressive: it is the highest of the four Yeomanry regiments. I don't know how it compares to the rest of the Army Reserve but I will wager it is very good. A figure of 75% trained is nothing to be ashamed of: Army Reserve units have always carried on their books soldiers who are still in training. Indeed, Army Reserve units are just as much recruiting and training organisations as operational units; in this regard, they are completely unlike Regular Army units, and to fail to understand this is another category error (often made).

But what about the 46 people on the books who did not attend at all in the previous year? Are they being held on to in order to inflate the figures?

Unlikely, for two reasons. First, because my regiment is under pressure to reduce its manning to the 357 it is supposed to be at. Second, because the manning figures for the Royal Yeomanry - like those of any Reserve unit - will include people who intend to leave but who have simply stopped attending rather than show the moral courage required to announce that they are resigning. They are all given a grace period to sort their lives out, so the regiment carries that 9% or so.

Plus, as has already been pointed out, the MOD response reads weaselly: a claim about numbers recruited is only of probative value when set against numbers retained and numbers lost. And so what if members of the Reserve have been sent on operations overseas? How many? To do what?

On this occasion, the MOD acted wisely if it chose to let it lie. To quote Ronan Keating: Defence, sweetie, you say it best, when you say nothing at all.
 
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walrusboy

War Hero
You can then refine that even further by looking at various measures of fit for role (ie passed Ph 3 training) rather than fit for appointment (Ph 2).
You could also look into the existence of new schemes to improve the perception of the "trained" cohort. For example, the INT CORPS has recently introduced a pseudo phase 2 partially-trained category of "Op MI class 4", which means that phase 2 candidates have reached a specific stage of phase 2 training (Op MI 3); this includes distance learning sessions and development weekends but not the main part of Op MI 3, which is the 15 day CQE. Op MI 4 "qualified" candidates cannot be deployed and are not eligible to attend PNCO courses. However, these individuals are counted in some way as trained strength.

This creative accounting has probably been introduced due to the success in INT CORPS (R) recruiting and the second order effect highlighting lack of Op MI 3 course capacity. The phase 2 pipeline is stacking up quickly. Management are aware and, reassuringly, are having a very close look at it.

One useful output of the Op MI 4, however, is that of a filter as the Op MI 3 courses are only allocated once candidates reach Op MI 4 stage. Therefore those candidates who fail to attend have to demonstrate Op MI 4 level commitment to get loaded onto the course. Furthermore, candidates who fail to reach the Op MI 4 stage due to capability can be developed further or offered a trade reallocation. Therefore Op MI 3 failures should be minimised.
 
You could also look into the existence of new schemes to improve the perception of the "trained" cohort. For example, the INT CORPS has recently introduced a pseudo phase 2 partially-trained category of "Op MI class 4", which means that phase 2 candidates have reached a specific stage of phase 2 training (Op MI 3); this includes distance learning sessions and development weekends but not the main part of Op MI 3, which is the 15 day CQE. Op MI 4 "qualified" candidates cannot be deployed and are not eligible to attend PNCO courses. However, these individuals are counted in some way as trained strength.

This creative accounting has probably been introduced due to the success in INT CORPS (R) recruiting and the second order effect highlighting lack of Op MI 3 course capacity. The phase 2 pipeline is stacking up quickly. Management are aware and, reassuringly, are having a very close look at it.

One useful output of the Op MI 4, however, is that of a filter as the Op MI 3 courses are only allocated once candidates reach Op MI 4 stage. Therefore those candidates who fail to attend have to demonstrate Op MI 4 level commitment to get loaded onto the course. Furthermore, candidates who fail to reach the Op MI 4 stage due to capability can be developed further or offered a trade reallocation. Therefore Op MI 3 failures should be minimised.

Such schemes are not all bad or cynical stats manipulation. By breaking Phase 2 / 3 training into bite sized lumps, you're avoiding confronting the average soldier (who can manage 1 x 15-day camp / year) with years and years and years of endless "recruit" training. The same training is ultimately delivered and as you say, the solider is non-deployable until it is. If there really is an urgent need there is always the option of mobilising, completing trade training and then PDT. Its not quite what we did for HERRICK, but it would be doable.
 

CRmeansCeilingReached

ADC
Moderator
This creative accounting has probably been introduced due to the success in INT CORPS (R) recruiting and the second order effect highlighting lack of Op MI 3 course capacity. The phase 2 pipeline is stacking up quickly. Management are aware and, reassuringly, are having a very close look at it.

I believe it resulted from the planned OPMI 3 training exceeding the permitted time allowed for Phase 2 / Class 3 (not sure which) by Reserves policy. Because they have to do so much training before the CQE, they had to create an artificial split so the CQE + three semesters of pre-training did not exceed parameters.

It doesn't actually do much to address the training pipeline issue (which you and I foresaw back in Sep 14). The only practical solution to that is more courses.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
6500 joined, but how much did the AR actually grow by?
Steady on! The normal measure is how many more of Britain's callow youth have opted to join IS/Daesh/ISIS/ISIL **** it, the enemy, over the AR.

You have to admit that TA rolled off the tongue more easily. And that is not a euphemism.
 
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