ARRSE - Our opinion

#1
Those of you following this part of the site will have seen that the Defence Reform Bill 2013/14 is going through the House of Commons at the moment. It consists of two main bits; one is the privatisation (ish) of the procurement system and the other are changes to Reserve Forces T&Cs in order to support Army/FR2020. The latter includes unfair dismissal of reservists, payments to employers and calling the reserves out.

ARRSE has been invited to produce a formal written response by the end of the month and we've agreed to do that. Well cpunk (Reserves) and myself (DE&S privatisation) have agreed to put something together anyway. Clearly we probably both need to get out a bit more but we do think that this is an opportunity for our collective voice to be heard.

What we'll be hoping to do is collate the opinions expressed on here and massage them into something suitable for submission. If you've got a strong opinion on either of these then please let us know - ideally in one of the three threads above for the reserves or on the new one that I'm going to start shortly for D&S privatisation.

Final thing, is if you think it is all a waste of time then of course that is a very valid opinion for you to hold. Can I just ask that you share it elsewhere on the site?
 
#2
I think it would be very interesting to poll ex-regulars with so-called active list obligations how many would respond if call up papers arrived. I expect it might illustrate something of a hole in defence planning.
 
D

Davetheclown

Guest
#5
I personally if called up after being made redundant would possibly say no. There is a low morale amongst regular soldiers, and after speaking to reservists the morale has taken a plunge. Mores o with re roled units and closure of units. Some are quitting as the goalposts are being moved. Unit relocations have taken an effect, for some it was a local unit. That is my thoughts and experience so far. Nothing positive my end.
 
#6
I also think the current trend of low (below target) recruitment figures may be a figurative "shot across the bows" of A2020.

The below target figures are for regular and reserve forces. With a possible shortfall in recruitment, an unwillingness of those with a reserve liability to turn up on callout, the chances of A2020 succeeding appear, to me, to be slim.

Privatising procurement? Well, Capita appear to be making a sterling effort of recruitment (falling numbers, sending "too tall" people to the Armoured Corps[to meet targets?], what could possibly go wrong?

Bad CO, sorry for the crayoning, I'm only glad I managed to refrain from swearing.

Out.
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#7
What is too tall for the RAC?

I agree with many of the points on this and other threads the random nature, it would appear, of the re-badging and rolling of TA units will not help with recruitment and / or retention.

The slight changes to T&C's for AR (volunteers (TA), even that is annoying as we now have to try and work out what type of reservist we are talking about) are as ever too little too late.

We have been calling them up (in fact making them volunteer to be called up and then calling them up in what then appears to be a compulsory process which has, for some, destroyed marriages and careers) for over 10 years: now they think about legislation.

One is forced to wonder why now?
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
#8
I find it ironic that one thread somewhere on Arrse (don't ask me where) tells me the enlarged TA will be populated using recently ex-regular troops, while another thread (ditto) tells me that units see the reductions as an excuse to ditch BFT failures (or whatever they are called this week).

Either there is a credibility gap here (did you see how I used a long word to make it sound like I know what I am talking about?) between what is and is not achievable and the TA is going to be as understaffed as the regulars, or the TA is going to be populated by a bunch of fat-knacker BFT failures.

I am sure there are those who would leap in and shout "plus ça change".

But I wouldn't dare.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
Unless there is a real incentive for employers - NICs, preferential access to government contracts etc - they can fiddle about with T & Cs until they're blue in the face for all the good it'll do; you'll be left with the self-employed, the unemployed and the lunatics.

Without incentives you're relying on sanctions and unless the sanctions on companies are formidable, it'll be business as usual. If the sanctions are formidable, Reservists won't survive the first sift of applications and they'll be first out of the door at the first tranche of redundancies. I speak as an ex-Reservist/TA and a current employer.

If this is to work, government's going to have to throw money at it at some point - there's no other way and it would be in everyone's interest for certain folk to stop pretending there is.
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#10
Why is it that the MOD and it's services chiefs seldom, it would appear, seem to sing from the same hymn sheet?

Part of Interview and MOD response:

In the interview, Gen Houghton said that one of his main concerns is that the “transformation” of the Armed Forces has been poorly communicated to personnel, leaving many feeling left out and let down.
Defence chiefs have not done enough to explain the changes now underway, changes that are have hit many personnel hard.
The general said: “We do not spend enough time talking to our internal community. They need to understand the context and relevance of what they’re doing in circumstances and times that are quite difficult for many of them.”
He added: “I think we’ve risked people becoming cynical and detached from what defence is trying to do.”
Gen Houghton said he would be “honest, straight-talking and supportive,” and do more to listen to the concerns and worries of Armed Forces personnel.
“With transformation for example, this should be more than just communicating a message, we should be doing it in a way that makes everyone feel on side with what is going on, believes in it and can see the part they need to play,” he said.

The Ministry of Defence said it was working to mitigate the impact of cuts on morale.
A spokesman said: "With any period of change there is bound to be uncertainty surrounding the future of personnel and their families which will inevitably have an impact on morale. We are clear that the resilience of personnel should not be underestimated and we remain committed to ensuring that we take the necessary action to address the areas of discontent such as pension benefits, morale, integration with Reserves and welfare support."


 
#11
Hi Everyone!

Apologies for hijacking the thread but just wanted to remind anyone wanting to provide comments/evidence as part of the Defence Reform Bill call for evidence - time is running out.

Please do try and post your comments by end of play on Monday 26th August to give BadCO and cpunk time to write the submission of evidence.

We'll keep you informed of the progress of the Public Bill Committee during it's consideration of the Bill.

Many thanks
DOT
 
#12
Regarding the "privatisation" of the part of part of the MoD responsible for purchasing items for the Armed Forces, the DE&S, it will be catastrophic. Bernard 'GOCO' Grey is widely regarded as already having made his mind up, but is still trying to formulate the right question to justify the unjustifiable. The simple questions such as "how can it be better value to employ a large Contractor Management Team in order to control the DE&S, then charge handling charges and profit on top of everything they do?" and "will the service (and morale) improve when 1000's of staff, who joined as Civil Servants, are TUPE'd out and expected to charge for everything they do?" are being ignored. I suspect the answer to the 2 questions could be guessed by even the dimmest politician. The question of "If you privatise everything what will Government actually be responsible for?" also deserves an answer.
Finally with the withdrawal of KBR this will only leave 2 consortia, both American led I believe, bidding for DE&S. Is it REALLY such a good idea to leave the equipping and support of the Armed Forces in the hands of a foreign nation? How many existing Contracts with DE&S do these Consortia members have and are they not then excluding themselves from bidding?
The suggestion that "privatisation" will remove constraints, said constraints having been put upon the DE&S by the politicians themselves leads to another question "why not simply remove our own constraints rather than privatise?"

WC
 
#13
I think it will be more like a ditch than a hole.
Nobody dies in a hole...

People leaving the Army on to the Reserve should be discounted except in time of all out conscription. Most people sign off because they've had enough.

They should be encouraged to transfer the TA, with incentives to do so (and the current incentives are a bit bonk - no call out liability? How about I just don't join the TA? What's my call out liability then?)

An easy system (some work has been done on this) of transfer to the TA should be brought in. It should be as easy as re-trading or transfering capbadges is. And, any courses (reg or Reserve) neccesary to complete the transfer should be open to the individual, much like resettlement.

Employers need incentives too. Old fashioned patriotism just wont cut it in this modern age. The benefits need to tangible and most likely financial.
 
#14
Nobody dies in a hole...

People leaving the Army on to the Reserve should be discounted except in time of all out conscription. Most people sign off because they've had enough.

They should be encouraged to transfer the TA, with incentives to do so (and the current incentives are a bit bonk - no call out liability? How about I just don't join the TA? What's my call out liability then?)

An easy system (some work has been done on this) of transfer to the TA should be brought in. It should be as easy as re-trading or transfering capbadges is. And, any courses (reg or Reserve) neccesary to complete the transfer should be open to the individual, much like resettlement.

Employers need incentives too. Old fashioned patriotism just wont cut it in this modern age. The benefits need to tangible and most likely financial.
Civilian employers have offered the facility to go from fulltime to part time and vice versa for years. if it now is truly one Army why not offer that facility to all now (subject to completing full training if going fulltime)?

Such a system would retain skills of male soldiers who want to move to a civilian job after a few years and offer female soldiers some flexibility around maternity if they want to retain a future fulltime military career.

Aside from this from what I've seen the incentives to employers to employ reservists do seem lacking. Perhaps OK for big companies but smaller employers will struggle to see the benefit
 
#15
Nobody dies in a hole...

People leaving the Army on to the Reserve should be discounted except in time of all out conscription. Most people sign off because they've had enough.

They should be encouraged to transfer the TA, with incentives to do so (and the current incentives are a bit bonk - no call out liability? How about I just don't join the TA? What's my call out liability then?)

An easy system (some work has been done on this) of transfer to the TA should be brought in. It should be as easy as re-trading or transfering capbadges is. And, any courses (reg or Reserve) neccesary to complete the transfer should be open to the individual, much like resettlement.

Employers need incentives too. Old fashioned patriotism just wont cut it in this modern age. The benefits need to tangible and most likely financial.
In all fairness there's too much focus on improving the TA on paper at least and in pragmatic terms expecting the number of regulars just to transfer is far too optimistic and unbalanced.

Regulars leave or are pushed for all manner of reasons, most are fully aware that the environment won't improve just because they change from full to part time, financial incentives are only a plaster not a long term solution.

Moral is dire, and most see the bigger picture with the ongoing Germany withdrawal process too. The TA commitment needs robust, reliable commitment along with improved employer support however SME's have limits and restrictions too.

Recruitment & retention is also equally unbalanced, I've sen no tangible improvement on the latter which is frankly embarrassing.

Apologises for another negative contribution.


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Bowmore_Assassin

MIA
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#16
Civilian employers have offered the facility to go from fulltime to part time and vice versa for years. if it now is truly one Army why not offer that facility to all now (subject to completing full training if going fulltime)?
The US Army do this; it is seamless (bar the inevitability of occasional admin cock-ups). They are also looking at those who leave both full time and reserve service and affiliating them to a local reserve unit who will keep tabs on them for post military admin/med etc; if these individuals then rock up and want to rejoin, they will be welcome. Similar the the US Marines (once a Marine, Always a Marine), when I last had any visibility on this (about a year ago), the US Army were looking at some kind if 'Soldier for Life' type programme and making it actually work and mean something.

Having served with the US Army twice, they are light years ahead of us with regard to mixing and matching full time and reserve service careers. I know very senior officers looked at this on our side but I do not know how far this model has been considered.

We would perhaps do well to emulate some of what our US brethren are doing.




Posted from the ARRSE Mobile app (iOS or Android)
 
#17
The US Army do this; it is seamless (bar the inevitability of occasional admin cock-ups). They are also looking at those who leave both full time and reserve service and affiliating them to a local reserve unit who will keep tabs on them for post military admin/med etc; if these individuals then rock up and want to rejoin, they will be welcome. Similar the the US Marines (once a Marine, Always a Marine), when I last had any visibility on this (about a year ago), the US Army were looking at some kind if 'Soldier for Life' type programme and making it actually work and mean something.

Having served with the US Army twice, they are light years ahead of us with regard to mixing and matching full time and reserve service careers. I know very senior officers looked at this on our side but I do not know how far this model has been considered.

We would perhaps do well to emulate some of what our US brethren are doing.




Posted from the ARRSE Mobile app (iOS or Android)
The Americans are not constrained by traditions and can think practically much better than we can sometimes. I remember a small number of lads being offered the option of a 12 month attachment from 7 Royal Anglian (TA) to the 1st & 2nd Battalions (Regular) in the 80s. Though one was later rejected for having visible neck and jaw tattoos,

The idea was they'd go over and serve a year, if they liked it and were deemed acceptable they could transfer permanently. But there was no official scheme and no option to come the other way. It just seems daft to me that you have to leave the Regular Army in order to apply to be be a Reservist.
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
#18
The US Army do this; it is seamless (bar the inevitability of occasional admin cock-ups). They are also looking at those who leave both full time and reserve service and affiliating them to a local reserve unit who will keep tabs on them for post military admin/med etc; if these individuals then rock up and want to rejoin, they will be welcome. Similar the the US Marines (once a Marine, Always a Marine), when I last had any visibility on this (about a year ago), the US Army were looking at some kind if 'Soldier for Life' type programme and making it actually work and mean something.

Having served with the US Army twice, they are light years ahead of us with regard to mixing and matching full time and reserve service careers. I know very senior officers looked at this on our side but I do not know how far this model has been considered.

We would perhaps do well to emulate some of what our US brethren are doing.




Posted from the ARRSE Mobile app (iOS or Android)
I think the US model is the way to go in general. Light years indeed. When they are able to put reservist formations into the field at division level, we have to ask why, or rather how do we do the same? Not at div level, but why not not at coy level, eventually aspire to bn level? We need to overhaul our ethos, to increase the competence/trust of TA officers and snco's so that regular troops will work alongside them as equals (for the record, I have worked for outstanding officers and snco's but when deployed, they have not deployed in role as platoon commanders or csm, but as standby jobs, such as ops officer, watch keepers etc).
At the same time, we need to formalise TA working conditions so it is effectively a job - my civ colleagues are amazed that I don't have to turn up for training if I don't want to, and if I want to leave, I just don't turn up.
At the other end, we need to make it worthwhile to employers to have their staff disappear - tax breaks, pension contributions maybe even compensation?

In this country, we have a tradition of relying on the volunteer, or charities to cover gaps in capability (RNLI, air ambulance, special constables, H4H and so on). And we continue to rely on this, cos its tradition. I think times are a-changin' and we need to be objective about a lot if things we are to succeed.


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#19
I think the US model is the way to go in general. Light years indeed. When they are able to put reservist formations into the field at division level, we have to ask why, or rather how do we do the same? Not at div level, but why not not at coy level, eventually aspire to bn level? We need to overhaul our ethos, to increase the competence/trust of TA officers and snco's so that regular troops will work alongside them as equals (for the record, I have worked for outstanding officers and snco's but when deployed, they have not deployed in role as platoon commanders or csm, but as standby jobs, such as ops officer, watch keepers etc).
At the same time, we need to formalise TA working conditions so it is effectively a job - my civ colleagues are amazed that I don't have to turn up for training if I don't want to, and if I want to leave, I just don't turn up.
At the other end, we need to make it worthwhile to employers to have their staff disappear - tax breaks, pension contributions maybe even compensation?


In this country, we have a tradition of relying on the volunteer, or charities to cover gaps in capability (RNLI, air ambulance, special constables, H4H and so on). And we continue to rely on this, cos its tradition. I think times are a-changin' and we need to be objective about a lot if things we are to succeed.


Posted from the ARRSE Mobile app (iOS or Android)
This is essential. They need to sever the deadwood and understand just how big the real TA is and that will then give them an idea how many they need to recruit to hit the target establishment. If that means they start with fewer than they thought then so be it. At least the view will be honest.

Formalising the commitment may also then start to get the Army Reserve the respect the National Guard enjoys in the US. This is an opportunity to start to shake off the Preston Front/Gareth image in the eyes of both the armed forces and the civilian population.

While they are at they should also equalise the service ages across all three Arms. Joking about Rock Apes aside it is ridiculous that at the age of 48 the Army Reserve would not take me back, despite previous TA Infantry & Corps experience mainly in signals and communications and a current civilian role in IT, yet the RAF Regiment Reserve Squadrons would take me up to the age of 50.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#20
Surely the average regular who is leaving needs (and wants) to focus on his new career, probably involving a house move and maybe purchase, schools for kids in the new place etc etc and there will be no little psychological readjustment on the part of self and partner.

I doubt that has changed much since I PVR'd. I was sent a whole lot of bumf about the RNR and slung it all in the bin.
 

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