HCDC report - Recruitment and Retention

#2
Index to the report, to give you an idea of what it covers:

Defence - Fourteenth Report
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Contents


Terms of Reference


Summary

1 Introduction


Scope of the inquiry
Previous work by the Committee

Previous work by other organisations

Conduct of the inquiry


Web forum
2 Recruitment and Retention overview


Defence Planning Assumptions
Assessing recruitment and retention performance


Recruitment targets
Gains to the trained strength

Manning balance

Voluntary outflow

Harmony Guidelines

Pinchpoint trades

Assessing Armed Forces responsiveness


Peacetime readiness levels
Ability to generate from peacetime readiness to immediate readiness

Ability to deploy, sustain and recover force elements

3 Recruitment


A broad based approach

Engaging with the public
Working with schools to raise awareness of the Armed Forces

Cadets

Reserves

Recruiting environment


Recruiting diversity
Recruiting campaigns and resources

Recruiting and schools

Educational incentives

Training

4 Retention


Regular Forces' retention challenges: conditions of service and welfare

Impact on family and personal life
Welfare provision

Housing

Pay and allowances

Regular Forces retention challenges: organisational and structural issues


Single Service parity
Retirement age

Transfers

Efficiency and Change programmes

Volunteer Reserve Forces retention challenges


Supporting Volunteer Reservists
Integration

The role of employers

The Military Covenant

Representing Armed Forces Personnel

Conclusions and recommendations

Annex A: List of Abbreviations

Annex B: The Committee's web forum

Formal minutes

Witnesses

List of written evidence

List of Reports from the Committee during the current Parliament


Oral and Written Evidence

Tuesday 25 March 2008

Tuesday 1 April 2008

Tuesday 22 April 2008

Tuesday 20 May 2008

Written Evidence
 
#3
Good one.
We have listened carefully to the arguments both for and against an Armed Forces Federation. We are open-minded about the benefits of such a Federation, but we are concerned that the MoD is not. We recommend that the MoD considers more constructively the possible benefits which may be gained from an independent Armed Forces Federation, and encourage the MoD to consult with the British Armed Forces Federation.
 
#4
DIN 2007DIN03-006 again! From the 20 May evidence session

Q333 Chairman: Good morning. This is the final session in our recruitment and retention inquiry and, Minister and Admiral Wilkinson, you are both extremely welcome to the inquiry. In one particular respect we would be grateful if you could help us because we have, during the course of this inquiry, ... been running a web forum and we have been getting some interesting, quite trenchant views from existing and former members of the Armed Forces. It is always helpful for a select committee such as ourselves to get that sort of information which points us in various directions. However, we have heard today that when people have been in contact with the Ministry of Defence to ask whether they should submit posts on to our web forum they have been discouraged from doing so. I am absolutely sure that this would not come from you, Minister, or from you, Admiral Wilkinson, that it would not come from the top, but it is coming from the Ministry of Defence and it is most dismaying to us that our parliamentary scrutiny of a very important issue for the future of the Armed Forces is being subverted at a middle level, probably, within the Ministry of Defence...

Derek Twigg: Can I, first of all, say to you, neither myself nor Admiral Wilkinson have issued any such instructions, neither have ministers or senior military or civil servants, to my knowledge, and I am, quite frankly, shocked to hear that. I condemn any such instruction that was taken out, and I give you absolute assurance that, after we finish this session, I will ask for that to be investigated very promptly and I will get back in touch with you as soon as possible thereafter. We very much want to encourage our people to have this contact with you. As you rightly say, it enables a good discussion and ideas to be passed through, whether critical or not, from the department and, as you know from the health investigation you did, that worked pretty well. I am really dismayed to hear that and I can give you absolute assurance that it has not come from me and I will investigate it as soon as we finish this session.

Chairman: I would have expected no less.

Q334 Mr Jenkin: This is potentially a breach of Parliamentary privilege. It is a very serious thing to interfere with an investigation by a select committee, and I think, Chairman, we should resolve to write to the Speaker if we find any subsequent evidence that our inquiries are being interfered with.

Derek Twigg: If you have evidence, then we will look into it. It is for the House and the Speaker to deal with that, but we would never give instructions to interfere with a parliamentary process.
 
#5
"The report recommended that the MoD consider "more constructively" an independent Armed Forces Federation that would voice soldiers' concerns."

Armed Forces exodus 'endangers troops' lives'

The lives of front-line troops could be put at risk because of the exodus of service personnel from the Armed Forces, an influential group of MPs has warned.

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent

It comes after new figures showed the Forces are more stretched than at any time on record.

The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have damaged recruitment.

Now fewer than half of military units are able to deploy on operations in an emergency, the lowest number recorded by the Ministry of Defence, the figures showed.

They also showed that, over the past year, the Army has seen a shortfall of three battalions, or 1,500 recruits, with only 84 per cent of the target of 9,200 trained soldiers achieved. There was a shortfall of 40 Army officers graduating from Sandhurst.

The Forces are heading towards a manning crisis with the number of trained troops joining the front-line rapidly falling while those resigned in ever greater numbers. ...

Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, said the Government had been repeatedly warned that overstretch was leading to a "retention crisis".

"This risks compromising our ability to react to the unexpected but it has been met by inaction.

"Today's report adds to a list of indictments against Labour and their treatment of our Armed Forces."

Nick Harvey, the Lib Dem defence spokesman, said the "exodus" of troops leaving was "now so grave as to be an issue of national security".

"All too often individual bravery and the sacrifices of the family are rewarded with shoddy housing and incompetent administration. "

The operational capability of troops fighting on the frontline was "particularly threatened" by a decreasing number of specialist troops, the report said. Engineers, aircrew and medics were coming under increased pressure because of their diminishing numbers and shortages "seriously threaten operational capability".

The MoD was criticised for not responding with "sufficient flexibility and imagination" to the problems it faces in recruitment and retention of personnel.

With the Forces short by more than 5,000 personnel there was increased pressure on those remaining to go on operations which in turn affected family life - one of the main causes for people resigning.

"The MoD must take action to address this vicious circle before it becomes irreversible," said the committee chairman James Arbuthnot, MP.

While the MoD has tried to address the problem by improving accommodation, providing extra cash, and more compensation for the wounded it still needed to give "greater priority to addressing the underlying causes of worsening retention," the MPs said.

The report recommended that the MoD consider "more constructively" an independent Armed Forces Federation that would voice soldiers' concerns.

The MoD's "financial retention incentives" of an average £5,000 paid to remain in post was unlikely to be "cost effective over the long term" and diverted money from addressing the causes of "worsening retention".
From the Daily Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/onthefrontline/2470212/Armed-Forces-exodus-'endangers-troops'-lives'.html
 
#6
I always think the main intellectual problem with the subject of 'recruitment and retention' is that they are always grouped together; and treated as part of the same equation. I suggest we all recognise that what gets someone into the Army is not necessarily the same thing that keeps them in!

And in other news, 27 Commanding Officers have resigned their commissions this year alone...
 
#7
27 Commanding Officers to date this year? Source would be appreciated - if only to encourage the less gifted to hang on in there on the off chance.......
 
#8
Rickshaw, do you mean some sort of weblink: if so, these aren't the sorts of figures that are readily available that way.

But I can assure you that they are completely accurate.
 
#9
Proximo said:
I always think the main intellectual problem with the subject of 'recruitment and retention' is that they are always grouped together; and treated as part of the same equation. I suggest we all recognise that what gets someone into the Army is not necessarily the same thing that keeps them in!

And in other news, 27 Commanding Officers have resigned their commissions this year alone...
Precisely.

Retention is the prime issue, and Recruitment is failing to bridge the gap. Worse, if we cannot Retain we lose ability and, crucially, real experience. Even with the best training in the world (and have we not heard that 'training' is to be 'outsourced' and reduced wholesale?) there is no substitute for experience.

There's no quick fix for this. You cannot acquire experience except through the passage of time. The increasing loss of junior and senior NCOs and regimental level officers is disastrous. It also places those on active service in even greater danger.
 
#10
Recruitment and retention are not separate issues. The aim of both is the same: to reach a deal where the both sides see value in committing to each other. The reason that value on both sides is created changes over time.

Failures in both are symtomatic problems, not the cause. The reasons for poor retention will be the same as for poor recruitment.
 
#11
sanchauk said:
The reasons for poor retention will be the same as for poor recruitment.
No they aren't, and mercifully even our policy is a little more joined up than this.

By way of explanation:

Young Johnny (why is it always 'Johnny'?) is considering the Army i.e. we wish to recruit him. However, his perception (and his Mum's more pertinently) is that we are fighting 'immoral' and unwanted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and anyway, all the kit is crap and when soldiers are injured, they are ignored completely by all and sundry. And everyone knows that bullying is rife and it's only a matter of time before young Johhny winds up dead having 'shot himself' on stag at some ghastly camp somewhere. And so on.

Maj Smithson-Smithson, on the other hand, has served 18 years all up. He joined as a Junior Paratrooper (the proper version!) and commissioned from the ranks as a Cpl. He has served with Conventional and Special Forces. He currently sits within the top 10% of his peer group and will - on projection - promote early to Lt Col. Frankly, he's a little cheesed off with the way he perceives the Army to be going and is likely to jump ship at his IPP and therefore we are seeking to retain him.

I suggest that these 2 highly representative vignettes require very different solutions: one is actually about influencing gatekeeper perception, the other is examining the moral contract the individual has. If any similarities exist in a theoretical solution, they are coincidental at best.
 
#12
Proximo said:
sanchauk said:
The reasons for poor retention will be the same as for poor recruitment.
No they aren't, and mercifully even our policy is a little more joined up than this.

By way of explanation:

Young Johnny (why is it always 'Johnny'?) is considering the Army i.e. we wish to recruit him. However, his perception (and his Mum's more pertinently) is that we are fighting 'immoral' and unwanted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and anyway, all the kit is crap and when soldiers are injured, they are ignored completely by all and sundry. And everyone knows that bullying is rife and it's only a matter of time before young Johhny winds up dead having 'shot himself' on stag at some ghastly camp somewhere. And so on.

Maj Smithson-Smithson, on the other hand, has served 18 years all up. He joined as a Junior Paratrooper (the proper version!) and commissioned from the ranks as a Cpl. He has served with Conventional and Special Forces. He currently sits within the top 10% of his peer group and will - on projection - promote early to Lt Col. Frankly, he's a little cheesed off with the way he perceives the Army to be going and is likely to jump ship at his IPP and therefore we are seeking to retain him.

I suggest that these 2 highly representative vignettes require very different solutions: one is actually about influencing gatekeeper perception, the other is examining the moral contract the individual has. If any similarities exist in a theoretical solution, they are coincidental at best.
The symtoms are different. The cause is the same: Neither see any value in joining or staying.
 
#13
Proximo said:
sanchauk said:
The reasons for poor retention will be the same as for poor recruitment.
No they aren't, and mercifully even our policy is a little more joined up than this.

By way of explanation:

Young Johnny (why is it always 'Johnny'?) is considering the Army i.e. we wish to recruit him. However, his perception (and his Mum's more pertinently) is that we are fighting 'immoral' and unwanted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and anyway, all the kit is crap and when soldiers are injured, they are ignored completely by all and sundry. And everyone knows that bullying is rife and it's only a matter of time before young Johhny winds up dead having 'shot himself' on stag at some ghastly camp somewhere. And so on.

Maj Smithson-Smithson, on the other hand, has served 18 years all up. He joined as a Junior Paratrooper (the proper version!) and commissioned from the ranks as a Cpl. He has served with Conventional and Special Forces. He currently sits within the top 10% of his peer group and will - on projection - promote early to Lt Col. Frankly, he's a little cheesed off with the way he perceives the Army to be going and is likely to jump ship at his IPP and therefore we are seeking to retain him.

I suggest that these 2 highly representative vignettes require very different solutions: one is actually about influencing gatekeeper perception, the other is examining the moral contract the individual has. If any similarities exist in a theoretical solution, they are coincidental at best.
I guess you're advocating an examination of the motivations (de-motivations?) of those who leave. I'd certainly agree with that. However any decent attitude survey should reveal exactly the same information - prior to individuals making their decisions to leave, for whatever their reasons. But I'd suggest that current MoD surveys are biased in that respect (deliberately or otherwise) and do not provide hard evidence of such reasons. If such MoD surveys do accurately paint the picture then it's clear that a political choice has been made by those responsible for Retention.
 
#14
Proximo, apologies my previous post was a bit obtuse. My point is that R&R is a bit like obesity. There are many different illnesses resulting from it, but the root cause is that people eat too much. Which do you tackle? The symptoms or the cause? Ideally both, however short-term retention "incentives" etc are far easier to implement than the generally costly and long term institutional changes of attitude required to solve the problem.
 
#15
sanchauk said:
Proximo, apologies my previous post was a bit obtuse. My point is that R&R is a bit like obesity. There are many different illnesses resulting from it, but the root cause is that people eat too much. Which do you tackle? The symptoms or the cause? Ideally both, however short-term retention "incentives" etc are far easier to implement than the generally costly and long term institutional changes of attitude required to solve the problem.
More like Obesity and Mental Illness: two totally separate subjects, which need to be addressed in different ways.

msr
 
#17
Unsworth said:
I guess you're advocating an examination of the motivations (de-motivations?) of those who leave. I'd certainly agree with that. However any decent attitude survey should reveal exactly the same information - prior to individuals making their decisions to leave, for whatever their reasons. But I'd suggest that current MoD surveys are biased in that respect (deliberately or otherwise) and do not provide hard evidence of such reasons. If such MoD surveys do accurately paint the picture then it's clear that a political choice has been made by those responsible for Retention.
Examining peoples motivation to leave is at best ad-hoc, without wishing to detract from the thread take my case: I submitted notice with no real idea of what I wanted or where I was going (for many reasons I'd had enough) A SNCO with 25 years service signed on for another 8. My CO wouldn't interview me as he was a crab and concerned he wouldn't understand my motivation, oh yes and he was also on his way out. My Divisional Officer agreed with my reasoning and explained that he was off in 2 years no matter what, the Executive Officer who interviewed me was leaving in 6 months and also agreed with my reasons for leaving and spent half the interview telling me how he had been getting on with his resettlement and his future plans! Did I mention that nobody sought to interview me at all until my notice had been in for 8 months and I raised the question of a "leaver's survey"

Even if leaving interviews were any good, the people interviewing are in no position to offer any form of retention offerings, they are merely there to record drips, rationalise (see censor) feedback and record process, it's a farce and the main failure of any retention initiative.

I'm confused that the paper doesn't see pay as an issue, having left I walked into a job where I work 20 hours a week less for about 20% more, seems all my interviewer's were correct, perhaps I should contact them and congratulate them on a job well done.
 
#18
I'm trying to think of one organisation that has excellent planned retention but poor recruitment or can recruit well but has poor retention. The only one I can think of is the martyrdom section of AQ...retention has proved difficult, but not impossible as Smeato proved.
 
#19
sanchauk said:
I'm trying to think of one organisation that has excellent planned retention but poor recruitment or can recruit well but has poor retention. The only one I can think of is the martyrdom section of AQ...retention has proved difficult, but not impossible as Smeato proved.
Mcdonalds?
 

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