Junior soldiers 'being sacked to cut costs'

Chaps - a little news for your comments..........from the Telegraph......

Junior soldiers 'being sacked to cut costs'
By Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent
(Filed: 08/03/2004)

The Army has been ordered to sack junior soldiers in order to save £5 million a year while at the same time employing nearly 200 surplus senior officers at an annual cost of about £12 million.

The Army has been struggling for several years with a shortage of junior soldiers and despite increased recruitment of so-called "foreign and Commonwealth soldiers" is still 3,000 short of requirements.

But experienced soldiers are being thrown out under a system known as manning control which the MoD has been using to cut the number of junior soldiers serving the 22 years that would allow them to earn an immediate pension.

Adam Ingram, the Armed Forces Minister, said last month that "manning control procedures are only ever used for sensible management reasons, and not to avoid pension commitments. In fact, they have not been used since 2002".

But a document obtained by The Telegraph shows that Lt Gen Sir Alistair Irwin, the Adjutant General, has been ordered to save £4.9 million this year through manning control, "all of which is expected to be achieved".

At the same time, figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats show that the Army has 196 more officers between the ranks of lieutenant colonel and full general than it needs. Their salaries alone amount to an estimated £12m a year. The Army employs 60 serving generals, 26 more than the 34 it is supposed to have.

The MoD said: "Given the British Army's commitments worldwide staff officers are in high demand and we have sufficient staff officers to do the job."

But their continuing employment contrasts sharply with the fate of the junior soldiers, who have been "manning controlled" in a move that many soldiers believe is designed to save money on pensions.

Junior soldiers traditionally signed on for 22 years and could give a year's notice after a pre-determined minimum term of service. Those who served the full 22 years received a small pension to compensate for the need to start a second career late in life.

The MoD has been trying to cut the amount of money it pays out in such pensions and has announced a scheme which it says will give new soldiers a better deal but which in fact cuts the end-of-service pension dramatically.

Most serving soldiers remain eligible for the old, more expensive system, and despite the manpower shortage, the MoD has been telling commanding officers to force out hundreds of soldiers to avoid the pension commitment.

Large numbers of soldiers have been forced out under the manning control procedures and several hundred are now suing the MoD demanding compensation for their lost pensions.

In at least two cases, soldiers injured during operations who should have been medically discharged with a disablement pension have been "manning controlled".

The Liberal Democrats demanded that the manning control measures be suspended. Paul Keetch, the party's defence spokesman, said: "Sacking soldiers to cut costs while there is a surplus of officers is both offensive and wrong.

"The MoD has systematically avoided the truth on manning control. The policy should be suspended and the case for an inquiry is now unanswerable."

Anyone surprised? :roll:
It would not surprise me that this sort of thing goes on.

Do people still get 'Brown Lettered' these days.

It would seem to be a very easy cost cutting exercise to brown letter people. Does there have to be any real justification or is 'Services no longer required' sufficient?

An army of too many chiefs?

Editorial Comment from the Herald

Is the British Army's top brass top-heavy? According to the Ministry of Defence, the army should have 2334 officers from the rank of lieutenant-colonel upwards. It has 2530. A degree in accountancy is not essential to appreciate that, on paper at any rate, the army appears to have a surfeit of officers at the highest level – 196 too many, in fact. Fighting forces must be well led if they are to do their job properly.
There might be good reasons for the theoretical complement being apparently exceeded.
The MoD says there is no direct correlation between manning controls and senior officer numbers. As it points out, the army needs experienced staff officers of the highest quality to deliver on its commitments worldwide. These include facing up to the new, shifting threat posed by global terrorism. An army that stands still loses battles and wars. Strategy, the responsibility of senior officers with a capacity to think and adjust, is the key to ensuring that the British army continues to punch above its weight. The options set out in the defence white paper of December last year are aimed at shifting balances in the armed forces so that they can meet the new challenges.
It will be the job of senior staff to push change through.
Part of that process involves belt-tightening to make sure every penny of the taxpayer's investment in the armed forces is well spent. The army is some 3000 short of soldiers for front-line duties, but cuts in manning levels are planned elsewhere to trim budgets that already appear over-stretched. Is the top brass doing its bit to deliver on the "lean and mean" fighting machine envisaged by Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, to operate in the theatres of conflict of the first quarter of the 21st century?
To answer that question, the MoD must first establish, and state publicly, whether the army is 196 senior officers over establishment. Morale is of critical importance in a force still to make a convincing case that it has learned the many lessons from the deaths of the four young recruits at Deepcut barracks. Demoralisation would be the result if the army were found to be carrying senior staff on high salaries (ranging from on average £60,000 to £110,000 depending on grade) while forcing through cuts among the regular ranks.
If there were a failure to prune at one level ripe for the knife (a process that would have a telling and immediate effect on salary savings) it would set a bad example at the other end. Soldiers have had leave entitlement between duties reduced so that military commitments can be met. They should not bear a disproportionate burden of efficiency savings. The MoD must demonstrate that the army's senior staff are setting an example to follow, not one to be put off by.
Isn't it strange how history repeats itself? I remember the Junior Army, as it was then termed, being consigned to the dustbin of history, despite strident protests from the Army. (I can't help noticing a complete absence of protest in this case!) Politicians were told it would affect recruiting and retention. Politicians ignored the advice, as it suited them to do so - ie they made short term savings, which is all they were interested in. The advice given was correct and the Junior Army has been resurected as the School Leavers scheme and Army Foundation College. (I wonder how much that cost?)

Now it would seem cutting costs today to spend tomorrow or the day after is the order of the day - again. Why? Because politicians are stupid and simply do not care about defence - no votes in it you see! And all any politician really cares about is votes. (If they say otherwise, leave the room before even greater lies are told!)

All those bemoaning the lack of backbone displayed by our senior officers in various threads on this site need look no further for an explanation as to why senior officers do not speak out on our behalf!

I wonder if this was leaked to the Torygraph? (Wouldn't half save some cash if Buffhoon had the bottle to get rid of some of those staff officers!)
Theres a distinct parallel here with civvy street. The quickest and most effective method of bringing the bottom line back into the black is to get rid of staff.

An organisations payroll is usually is biggets liability, - therefore less staff less payroll equals less debt.

You rarely see the big bosses going even though the maths makes more sense (1 generals pay = how many privates?). It is only later on that the loss of experience and sheer lack of numbers starts to hit home and affect the operations of the organisation.

Then the recruiting campaign starts again!!!

It appears to be a cyclical thing in many organisations. Starting to look like the Army's no different, - but it probably should be.
Rudolph - agreed parallels with civie environment are amusing. Get rid of some juniors cos the bean counters concentrate on "headcount" not the actual wage bill, therefore making a joke of the whole exercise.

I have seen many redundancy rounds where the senior people manage to escape and more juniors go in their place. I wish someone would "do the numbers" on redundancy costs/ rehire costs in total, but that would blow the arguement. Many civie headhunters charge a massive fee for sorting Cvs and setting up interviews. Gone are the days when you could apply directly to a company cos the t*ssers in HR are too busy working on "strategy" to bother about the demeaning task of hiring people.

The real b*stards here are the bean counters. I know an accountant who actually enjoys firing people and brags about it at social events. It's a power thing and any organisation that allows accountants too much power will find themselves in decline.

To all senior officers, I would urge you to put presure on the bean counters and demand that they provide costs of re-hire / trg of new pers in addition to the "savings" mde through redundancy.

Let's call their bluff :twisted:
A good proportion of the posts overmanned will be those deployed to other nations as loan service/military assistance (all part of defence diplomacy in support of the Crown). They are all paid for by the supported nation.

However, the thread misses the point by trying to make a division between officers and soldiers. It is immoral to make any soldier/officer redundant at this time. We are short of manpower and commitments look like they are expanding; it was pointed out earlier that redundencies are a short term measure that is in the long term more costly than the savings declared.

It is about time the Government looked for (massive) savings, where waste is truly rife, and hasn't the courage to confront the liberal minded, wet, precious do gooders that form the vociferous elite that all parties seem to kow tow to. I shudder every time I think of the money being wasted on the idle, feckless and criminal elements of our society particularly in the realms of DSS. In addition the number of bureacrats to run new parliaments and police politically correct policies seems to have quadrupled (complete with a pensions time bomb). The defence budget (which has its faults particularly in procurement) is always seen as the easy option because it is not necessarily vote losing and we always do as we are told.
It is not just the Army who are Top heavy, but the Navy and Air Force are also in the same league.

Quality not Quantity is in order at the top of the tree in all three arms of the Sevices.

It is time they thought of the long term future of the Services and their personnel and not every few years a review and cutbacks, the tasks do not diminish, but the personnel do.

Buffhoon is again coming out of this smelling of roses and the Generals et all are now being gagged by him.

It is a sad day for the Forces, again being screwed by Spineless politicans and their own fickle agenda. :evil:
The real b*stards here are the bean counters. I know an accountant who actually enjoys firing people and brags about it at social events. It's a power thing and any organisation that allows accountants too much power will find themselves in decline.
The meek might inherit the earth but it will still be run by a friggin accountant!! :twisted:
Just had a quick look at pay scales. I've been out for so long some of this higher/lower level stuff passes me by but some of the basic numbers bare scrutiny.

I can only research up to brig L5 (£223.46 per day) and would guess major general quite a lot more(?). Private L5 between £47.23 and £55.42 per day.

So thats between 4.73 and 4.03 privates per brig.

Bargin Sir!!!

So if we have something like 27 major generals more than the establishment getting rid of them would mean at least between 108 and 127 privates could be retained.

I'm probably missing something but this really doesn't make sense when short of people.
Don't let them use this to divide and conquer us. Does it really matter if any part is over established right now? No, of course not. We want everything to be over established because the current "establishment" is bollox to start with - it's far too small. No bit of HMF is independent - the reason we work is because we have a f'kin good structure that can adapt to and overcome anything. Like it or not, whatever we say internally HMF requires Generals every bit as much as Private soldiers. We know this because it works. We've proven it over several hundred years.

The bottom line is not that the Army is stuffed because of being top-heavy, it's stuffed because it's overstreched. Don't let the politicos and their spin merchants take your eye off that ball and set you against your own team.

I just finished a civi MBA and guess what they taught? They reckon that 100% of sackings to improve the bottom line end up costing the companies vastly more than it saves them. So why does it still happen, when the academics can prove it only hurts? Because it's trendy. That's all. The fat money brokers in the banks - most of whom have no concept of what it's like to even spend a night in a tent - think that they are big and tough and decisive when they "streamline" a factory, or "downsize" it.

An army that fights amongst itself, setting officers against soldiers is doomed to die. Don't help Goon et al by making their task easier.
Zaphodski - good post and interesting to read the current thinking on the MBA.

I just finished a civi MBA and guess what they taught? They reckon that 100% of sackings to improve the bottom line end up costing the companies vastly more than it saves them. So why does it still happen, when the academics can prove it only hurts? Because it's trendy. That's all.
It's not the "fat money brokers in the banks" that do this, they have little to do with it. Most of this pain is caused by middle management in the civil service. Essentially what do they care, sitting is a newly (and expensively) refurbished office in Whitehall? They are not the one's who will have to stag on for 16 hours in Basrah for months on the trot.No, all they care about is their next appraisal / promotion and frankly who can blame 'em.

I remain convinced that it costs money as well as inflicting significant damage to those left behind. I a company I used to work for we refered to it as " Who got killed in the last round?"(of reundancies). For those left behind, the trick is to survive and therefore avoid the attention of bosses. Net result is that no one in the company is actually working to improve things, just trying to survive and stab other people. Hardly cost effective.

One of the reasons it still happens is that most managers ( civie or military) spend relatively short periods of approx 2 years in role, so they do not care if it hurts the unit or company, especially in the civie environment where esprit de corps is a lost concept.

Another reason is budgetting at too low a level. This means that managers rarely look more than one year ahead because they are not judged on achievement, rather on how well they manage a budget. I am amazed at how many civie financial staff are employed at unit level. Checkers checking the checkers and counters counting the counters.

I believe that we are more inefficient managers than we were 30 years ago.
efficient manager?? whats one of them then?? :D

As far as stabbing in the back, the first thing I got taught in my first job was to always cover my a*s, keep incriminating e-mails etc… very inspirational!! :evil:

Career survival is about doing what u get told by the t**t who got promoted out of a position where he could do real damage, then watch them take the credit when u fix their mess… but I'm not bitter!! :lol:

Finally as far as a pension, at 26 now, when I do finally retire (prob aged 80 by then!) I'm not counting on anything… cause they'll share anything I save with everyone who lived it up and spent all theirs!! :roll:

Agree with everything you said Hootch. My reference to bankers is not a general detestation of the species, nor a claim that they run the show. The US Investment/V Cap community created the hack-em-down culture - best exemplified by the disasterous "Chainsaw Al" Dunlap and his rise and equally spectacular fall.

Once the trend was set, the business world followed bleating more deafeningly than a Welsh wierdo's wettest dream. Much like the mad overzealous adoption of KPIs and Balanced Score Cards so many previously competent organisations have used to reduce themselves to jelly. Doesn't matter that it's patent bollox, backfires and does leaves a hole, we must follow the trend.

Then, oh dear, the idea get through to government. Typically that happens slowly, but like a bullet once it's penetrated armour, the idea doesn't escape until it's bounced around and done the max possible damage. Lemmings trained to count the beans.

The best bit is till to come. Once they've sacked everyone and decided they need them back, they recruit at all levels, and so bring in senior folk who don't have the first clue about the organisation. The loyal guys don't get promoted and loose all faith. Everything thus remains in a sort of rotten state that's only held together by the permafrost of fear - who's out next?

It's just a matter of time before someone wants to expand the Army again, and he won't have the luxury of 2 generations in which to do it. Hello WW1.
Never ceases to amaze me how the MOD adopts "new management techiniques" after they have failed miserably in the civie world. At least in the civie world there is flexibity to reverse out of the mess.

Also amusing to speak to regular soldiers that think the business world is efficient and a good place to work. At least most COs will question MCP. In the civie world forget it, people are a "cost" and nothing more than a number on a spreadsheet.

Typically the OJAR. The key thing with setting objectives in things like this is to "negotiate down" ones' objectives and to front load them so that they can be achieved early in the reporting period. I have actually seen a presentation to management by a group of consultants selling a similiar product to the OJAR. The REAL objective of such reporting tools is to provide a quantitive measure so that results can be graphed and ultimately used to control salaries. Don't be fooled by the PR.

In other words, I predict that in the future OJAR will be used to "reward" only the top percentge of Officers with a pay rise and therefore control costs. It IS how similiar systems are being used in civie companies.

How one can compare say a Major, across the broad range of roles in the Army is beyond me but this is being done. I also predict that OJAR "scores" will be used at a senior level without any consideration as to the inaccuracy of the data. It'll just arive in a Powerpoint presentation that no one will question.

I look at my Grandfathers generation and the leadership back then. They managed to value people and achieve reasonable growth for decades. It wasn't a stable world ( 2 world wars, depression, cold war etc) and yet they managed to run companies successfully without "Balanced Scorecards", consultants and armies of sycophants called accountants.

Let's face it. Our private companies are badly run and hugely inefficient in financial and human terms.

Now the Army is following their poor example.
I have just been on the link posted by The Grandad. It is absolutely disgraceful - because it is true. If anybody thinks otherwise, look at it this way, if was lies and distortions, the site would closed down and those siting their cases would be in court in no time.

Check out Chandlers story. If you have any feelings at all it will make you want to weep.

It makes me ask one question - why do people join the Armed Forces? It seems to me that for the last 10 years or so there has been an ever incresaing number of stories like these. Whether it is because the media are more interested or something I don't know.

What I do know is that, given these facts (and I do believe they are facts), the well documented dragging of heels over Gulf Syndrome (as in 'It doesn't exist, so there is no need to research it it does!') and the continued trend to erode our terms of service, I could honestly could not advise anyone to join the Army. There are no perks, no privileges and no benefits - or those that remain are being removed as quickly as possible.

Given all that, why join the Army to have your life dictated to by a bunch of incompetent, selfish, hypocritical morons who are solely concerned with rewarding themselves whilst removing as many benefits as possible from every other public servant? I cannot describe the disgust I feel for them.

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