BRITISH ARMED FORCES FEDERATION - 10-Point Plan

#21
Mushroom -

Firstly, the proposal is not for a union. If you read the 10-point paper, you will see that any sort of 'militancy' or other union-stylee action is specifically excluded.

Undertaking secondary duties, charity work, or sport played at a reasonable level are all ways to enhance an individual's prospects in the military - not doing enough to get by and clock watching are not really the way to get promoted.

Thank you for the time limit suggestion - this is precisely the sort of thing a federation could become involved in.
 
#22
Coincidentally I have today received an answer to my Lords written question about a Federation. I quote the full reply below. I think it means there is no bar, since none is given. We shall however look carefully at the new Armed Forces Bill to see whether it is an opportunity to achieve greater clarity.

The Lord Garden asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether there is any bar to serving members of the armed forces forming an association along the lines of the Police Federation. (HL3245)

The Minister for Defence Procurement, Lord Drayson:
The Police Federation of England and Wales was established by the Police Act 1919, under which it has a statutory responsibility to represent its members in all matters affecting their welfare and efficiency. There is no similar basis under which members of the armed forces could form an association along these lines.

There are however a number of alternative processes in place to ensure members of the armed forces can express their views on matters which affect their Service or their welfare. There are regular surveys to monitor welfare matters, and it is an integral part of the duty of our chain of command to look after the welfare and well-being of their people. Individuals have the right to complain about any matter relating to their service to the Defence Council. Further modernisation of the complaints process is being proposed, including the introduction of an independent element as part of the Armed Forces Bill.
 
#23
Thanks Lord T.

Is the Lord Drayson saying or implying it would need an Act of Parliament for a federation within the Armed Forces to be formed?
 
#25
I do not think that he is claiming that. However, I shall have to go back to him for clarification. He does however seem to be encouraging us to put suitable hooks into the Armed Forces Bill. He certainly has not made a clear statement of any prohibition, which suggests that none exists.
 
#26
I don't understand this fixation with Unions. We do not propose a union. This is the Armed Forces of our country and we do not want it ham-strung by a union even if one were legally possible.

This is a federation that aims at working closely with the MOD to ensure soldiers, sailors and airmen properly receive the conditions of service granted them by the Government. Of course many issues are a chain of command thing but have you considered that on many issues the chain of command are no wiser than the soldier with the problem. What are your Coy Comds skills as a tax agent like? Is your CO interested in negotiating with civillian employers who have sacked TA lads called up for Iraq? Did you know that many units currently deal totally incorrectly with agents chasing soldiers debts? Are you happy that soldiers pay higher premiums for insurance and loans?

There are additionally an increasing number of aspects that impact a soldiers life that have little to do with the military. Just read some of the threads on ARRSE and you will note the problems of debt, taxes, passport issues for our soldiers recruited from the commonwealth, family assistance issues; now so heavily emphasised with so much separation. These are not strictly military issues and go beyond the chain of command. It distresses me, a retired soldier to see that in these areas over the past 30 years there has been no improvement.

Things have moved on Mushroom. Are we to sit back and muddle on in the same old way whilst watching our cousins in the US and Australia come to grips with these issues? Why are soldiers leaving the forces before they have completed a full career? How many go because the accumulation of silly, annoying issues convinces them that a better option is to seek a civvy job.

The time is right and the time is now. We have the best soldiers, sailors and crabs in the world when it comes to the fight. Lets do something to ensure that their welfare achieves the same level of excellence.

Congratulations Hackle this is an excellent start.
 
#27
It is indeed Hackle.

Mushroom and PP, I'd have thought the "Union" concerns were more than covered in the 26 page thread previously?

Maybe the explaination needs posting again?
 
#28
Hackle, I don't suppose you can post this over on PPRUNE or at least a link. Does the navy have an equivalent site?
 
#29
Birdie_Numnums said:
I don't understand this fixation with Unions. We do not propose a union. This is the Armed Forces of our country and we do not want it ham-strung by a union even if one were legally possible.

This is a federation that aims at working closely with the MOD to ensure soldiers, sailors and airmen properly receive the conditions of service granted them by the Government. Of course many issues are a chain of command thing but have you considered that on many issues the chain of command are no wiser than the soldier with the problem. What are your Coy Comds skills as a tax agent like? Is your CO interested in negotiating with civillian employers who have sacked TA lads called up for Iraq? Did you know that many units currently deal totally incorrectly with agents chasing soldiers debts? Are you happy that soldiers pay hire premiums for insurance and loans?

There are additionally an increasing number of aspects that impact a soldiers life that have little to do with the military. Just read some of the threads on ARRSE and you will note the problems of debt, taxes, passport issues for our soldiers recruited from the commonwealth, family assistance issues; now so heavily emphasised with so much separation. These are not strictly military issues and go beyond the chain of command. It distresses me, a retired soldier to see that in these areas over the past 30 years there has been no improvement.

Things have moved on Mushroom. Are we to sit back and muddle on in the same old way whilst watching our cousins in the US and Australia come to grips with these issues? Why are soldiers leaving the forces before they have completed a full career? How many go because the accumulation of silly, annoying issues convinces them that a better option is to seek a civvy job.

The time is right and the time is now. We have the best soldiers, sailors and crabs in the world when it comes to the fight. Lets do something to ensure that their welfare achieves the same level of excellence.

Congratulations Hackle this is an excellent start.
Absolute top post, Birdie! That's the essence of it! You're perfectly right in that it's way past time that something positive should finally happen for the Armed Forces on this very important issue!

MsG

(Hope PTP let's me post this! :D :D :D )
 
#30
Birdie_Numnums said:
Hackle, I don't suppose you can post this over on PPRUNE or at least a link. Does the navy have an equivalent site?
Maybe someone who is a PPRuNe member could follow that one up?

edited to add: top post by Birdie, as Bugsy7 says.
 
#31
I foresee a long struggle ahead to establish a federation but hey, if enough want it then it will eventually happen in some form or other. Nothing is worth much if it isn't fought/jawed for.
 
#32
Done. BTW there is no real dark blue equivalent of ARRSE, so we use/abuse ARRSE and PPRuNe!!
 
#33
Going back to Lord Drayson's reply for a moment: That first paragraph suggests to me that the Government thinks BAFF impossible without legislation. The answer from Lord Drayson highlights the Police Act of 1919 as being necessary for the Police Federation's founding. He then points out that there is no such provision for the Forces, implying that BAFF would be illegal unless similar law was passed for the Forces. The second paragraph, quite frankly, looks like hot air from here...


On a semi-unrelated note: Lord Garden and I just looked at the same answer and drew almost exactly opposite conclusions from it. Would it have been too much to ask for Lord Drayson to have given a straight 'yes' or 'no' answer?
 
#34
I agree the parliamentary reply could have been clearer on the point of interest. Perhaps Lord Garden will be able to follow it up in some way.

The Police Federation of E & W is a creature of statute, but it does not follow that members of the armed forces cannot form a voluntary, non-statutory federation if they wish.

The emergence on Monday of both our '10 point summary' and Lord Grayson's reply to Lord Garden are totally coincidental, but should be timely for the media if in the mood for further coverage.
 
#35
If there were grounds to clearly say NO then he would have said NO.
Where there are no grounds to deny establishing a Federation then the answer is grey.

Politics.
 
#37
Probably the case B_N. That said, whilst it might not be essential, wouldn't it be useful for BAFF to have statutory existence? That would clear up any potential legalities over its existence, give it a clearly defined role and create a body that could not be ignored by the Government of the day?
 
#39
Juvenal said:
Probably the case B_N. That said, whilst it might not be essential, wouldn't it be useful for BAFF to have statutory existence? That would clear up any potential legalities over its existence, give it a clearly defined role and create a body that could not be ignored by the Government of the day?
It might be helpful however pursuing it could be a long term distraction. If there is no statutory requirement then we should just get on with it.
 
#40
The Lord Garden asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether there is any bar to serving members of the armed forces forming an association along the lines of the Police Federation. (HL3245)

The Minister for Defence Procurement, Lord Drayson:
The Police Federation of England and Wales was established by the Police Act 1919, under which it has a statutory responsibility to represent its members in all matters affecting their welfare and efficiency. There is no similar basis under which members of the armed forces could form an association along these lines.

There are however a number of alternative processes in place to ensure members of the armed forces can express their views on matters which affect their Service or their welfare. There are regular surveys to monitor welfare matters, and it is an integral part of the duty of our chain of command to look after the welfare and well-being of their people. Individuals have the right to complain about any matter relating to their service to the Defence Council. Further modernisation of the complaints process is being proposed, including the introduction of an independent element as part of the Armed Forces Bill

Thanks Lord T.

Is the Lord Drayson saying or implying it would need an Act of Parliament for a federation within the Armed Forces to be formed?
It would appear that the answer has two parts.

Part 1.
a. The Police Federation was set up by an Act of Parliament.
b. There is no such Act in respect of Armed Forces.
c. Therefore, the Armed Forces could not set up a federation in the same way as the Police Federation.

Part 2.
Waffle to try and justify the non-existence of a federation!

It is clearly obvious that, without an Act of Parliament, the Armed Forces could not establish a federation with a statutory role along the lines of the Police Federation, which was created by an Act of Parliament. What an insulting and patronising answer, clearly dodging the issue!

Note that there is no mention of any of the single-Service Acts or The Queens' Regulations.

There appears to be no impediment to the establishment of a federation and the issue of an Act of Parliament is a red herring, particularly as the Human Rights Act and the right to association (etc) did not exist in 1919.

Nevertheless, a Bill proposing such a measure would clearly be in the interests of the Armed Forces. Time for the political parties to think about this for their manifestos later this decade....
 

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