letter writing

#1
why is it that the british army has to have its own style of letter writing.  Trying to type up an admin instruction and then getting it check over by the ssm can take hours and for what?  Just to let people they are going to get messed around on ex.  Is all the correct format really worth all the time and effort?  Why dont we do it like every thing else in the army on a POST IT sticky. ???
 
#2
Sorry to be serious but as someone who has to plough my way through loads of crap everyday it helps if it is all in the same format and properly written. Now you probably aren't interested in making my life easier but if you are ever in my position you'll be glad too!
 
#3
yes but for those of us in TA who have to use service writing that now breaks conventions of civvy writing its a pain in the arse espically when some jobsworth gets pissed of because the address block on word isn't where the army's service writing one is. Why not save a fortune go to WORD formats
 

CGS

War Hero
Moderator
#4
Nurse,

Tsk, tsk...

As an ex Reg, you should know that SD is there for the purpose mentioned by ok_yah...

...as someone who has to plough my way through loads of crap everyday it helps if it is all in the same format and properly written
Civilians don't wear DPM uniform (unless they are selling the Big Issue).  Perhaps you wish to ask me for permission to go on a W/E camp in your suit?
 
#5
I have never heard such a fierce defence of SD before!  Don't forget that there are more than 1 convention.  The whole of the armed forces changed a few years ago (sig blocks on the left instead of the right) but Land decided not to go along with the convention.

Head Office uses a different version and the 6th floor (now OWOB) use something altogether different.
 
#6
:mad: As one of those SSM's that heve to check the lads movement orders and Admin instructions I take great pride in my SNCO's producing work that is by the book and top notch. Considering it is going to other departments it just proves that soldiers can do as there told ! (confessed SD Nazi)
 
#7
??? It just proves that you do nothing else all day but pick up little faults on the real workers.
 
#8
Interesting point Newt, but I think you'll find that in most units the 'real workers' can be found in their offices at 6-7pm most evenings not knocking off at 1630.  Now as far as I'm concerned that goes with the territory/pay but it would be nice if people realised that
Just because you don't see what they do doesn't mean they aren't doing anything.  The vast volume of admin and general arrse that gets dumped onto most officers/WOs/SNCOs these days is phenomenal.  Ranging from the very important; IIP, mid year -appraisals, CRs, etc to the utterly trivial; PDRs, visits, trawls,'returns', etc it just eats vast chunks of time.  Anything that makes things easier- like correctly written letters, etc is to be encouraged
 
#9
I understand that but what iam trying to say is that if i wrote a letter in my own words and in my own style the message would still get across and in less time, as you wouldn't have to get it checked every two min off the ssm.

I agree that there is a lot off work goes on behind the scenes and the work load is a lot and maybe one day if i get that high in the ranks i will understand the art of military writing, but until then a yellow sticky note will have to do.
 
#10
Newt,
        Believe me my SNCO's send all their info to me on a sticky note and thats fine by me but when they are representing my Sqn and sending info across the Regt I want them and me to look dammed good and that can only be achieved by perfection ?. With regards to OK-Yahs mention of hours worked 0600 to 1800 hrs everyday is a pain but it ensures that we (the collective) my Sqn look the best !!!! (in my humble opinion)
 
#11
ssm,
Point taken, I think i will just have to try and figure out this letter writing buisness.  Iam sure this will come to me in time, with the more letters i write i can only get better.

If you have JSP 101 on disk that would help, if so e mail me.

Permission to fall out SSM!  ;D
 
#12
:'( Sorry Newts permission is not granted  ??? just remain erect and square to the front until your eyes bleed and regarding the JSP 101 speak to your C/Clk he or she will have a copy on CD which you can burn a copy for pennies ?
 
#13
OK_yah wrote:  
Ranging from the very important; IIP, mid year -appraisals, CRs, etc to the utterly trivial; PDRs, visits, trawls,'returns', etc it just eats vast chunks of time...
 Shame that you don't consider the PDR to be an integral part of IiP...'cos it is...  Not that IiP is taken seriously anyway.  It's just another example, in a lot of cases, where something is being done because it is a requirement rather than something that could provide real benefit.....

and the good old SSM wrote:  
Believe me my SNCO's send all their info to me on a sticky note and thats fine by me but when they are representing my Sqn and sending info across the Regt I want them and me to look dammed good and that can only be achieved by perfection ?. With regards to OK-Yahs mention of hours worked 0600 to 1800 hrs everyday is a pain but it ensures that we (the collective) my Sqn look the best !!!! (in my humble opinion)...
Dear me SSM, I suppose that you at least admitted that you will end up looking good...that being, IMHO, your motive....  And just how much extra work are you generating for yourself and others in achieving this 'perfection'?  And what's this 'my squadron is better than yours bol*ocks'?  Surely your regiment would gain more from having squadrons that work together instead of this pathetic points-scoring?  Blo*dy annoys me that!  I've done OK during my time and I've done it all without shafting people and fu*king them about to make myself look good.  Here is my utopian thought for today everybody:  Think globally and always of the common aim and try to be altruistic in your dealings with others.... yeah, thats gonna happen!  

Edited to apologise to Newt for taking his thread off on a tangent  ;)
 
#14
And what's this 'my squadron is better than yours bol*ocks'?  Surely your regiment would gain more from having squadrons that work together instead of this pathetic points-scoring?  Blo*dy annoys me that!


Stained you should really avoid reading between the lines because you make a real bad job of it ? There was no mention of point scoring just ensuring that my soldiers look good ! nothing personal but you should get out more ? The amount of extra time I spend red penning my soldiers documents in my own time surely shows me as a good manager not just some point scoring fanatic as you seem so bent on announcing to the world ???
 
#15
Only quoting your own words...  I've been around long enough to know what you meant and I didn't have to trouble my pretty little head with reading between all of your lines...just a couple, thats all I needed  :)  If so many mistakes are being made then perhaps you should look at what they are and then spend some of your 'own time' coming up with a strategy to combat it.  If your subordinates knew what a mistake was before giving you stuff to red pen, then sooooo much time could be saved and you could get off home a little earlier than now.  That, IMHO, would be far more effective than your current approach....... Thanks for your concern about my social life.  Its fine thanks  ;D
 
#16
S_E
Thanks for your replies to our points as I think you've hit on a few issues where there is a common misconception amongst many people in the Army.

IiP or 11 pence as it is generally called around here (on account of that is what it is believed to be worth!).  Now for my money, IiP is not about filling in endless reams of paperwork, of which the PDR is just the latest example, it is about getting to really know the people you work with.  Only then as a leader/manager can you make the decisions/phone calls/ or write the letters that will make a diference to their career/quality of life/general well being.  Frankly I spend far more of my time attempting to prove/document that I do IiP than I do actually doing it in the first place.

As for the SSM's point about ensuring that letters sent outside the sub-unit/ unit are professional then believe me that is time well spent.  If you are writing to a busy HQ and the letter is poorly written (as many sent by untrained jnr offrs/SNCOs are) then frankly you are less likely to get whatever it was you wanted in the first place.  I frequently get letters for checking with spolling mistakes, appalling grammer, missing minor items like distribution lists, vital annexes, etc.  Believe me this does not help....  It also gives the reader a poor impression of the person/unit that sent it.  Whether you agree that this is right or not doesn't really matter because unfortunately it is a fact.

As for training people to write proper |SD I am interested as to when/how you think this should be done.  As a REME(?) soldier I think a lot of the 'real knowledge' that you get is 'on the job' training.  Why should this be any different?

Looking forward to your response....
 
#17
Stained, after first reading your latest response I thought I would just not reply but seeing as you appear to be a soldier of the world with valuable experience answer me two simple questions with yes/no answers!

1. would you be happy to let every soldier beneath, or equal to you send all their correspondance to whoever it maybe without a single solitary check by anyone ?

2. Have you ever proof read a document for anyone ?

Sorry to be a pain but I totally disagree with your views, but as a big grown up soldier my ways work for me and I am happy to agree to disagree.
 
#18
Ah, I see where you are coming from Ok_yah but you misunderstand me.  I will explain:  I am not against service writing as it stands.  I agree with its purpose and format.  What I disagree with is SSM’s comment that it is good managerial practice to spend hours engaged in its correction.  By all means prevent badly written and formatted documents leaving the unit, but don’t spend hours correcting the same old mistakes and then call yourself a good manager when you could potentially be:

a.      Occupying subordinates valuable work time (and yours) unnecessarily.
b.      Possibly delaying dispatch.

I am not suggesting formal training but a locally produced précis might be worth considering.  Some people may not have good literary skills and it would be difficult to counter this I agree but layout and general points could be covered in such a précis.  Spell checkers, if set up correctly, will also assist in ensuring that when letters do arrive on the SSM’s desk, that less valuable time is needed to get them corrected and out where they need to be…….  

As far as IiP is concerned, I also agree with you.  What I was getting at is that, IMHO, the PDR is a component of IiP.  It was designed to be a living document and not just a repository for bits of paper.  As you will know, the PDR concept exists in civilian engineering.  Indeed, the PDR was developed through consultation with various engineering bodies and a soldier’s PDR may well end up being presented at job interviews.  It is his record of engineering experience, training and development and as such needs to be relevant.  I have long argued that the PDR should be present at any IiP interview and be used as the basis for moving a soldier forward as an engineer.  Sadly, many tradesmen don’t ever see the PDR let alone use it but why should they want to when it is seen as useless?  I just think it’s a shame that PDR is often seen as an irrelevance but I would say that REME itself is to blame for that and not individual managers.    

Final comment to SSM:      

1.  No
2.  Yes

I have just read my previous posts again and if you do that too you will see that you have totally missed the point.  I'm sure that you do a good job but the way you handle service writing could, IMHO, be handled more efficiently and I still maintain that points-scoring is totally counter-productive.  If you are good at what you do then you will get where you deserve to be without it.
 
#19
Stained there is a precis its called JSP 101 and is very easy to understand. Also I agree with you that the PDR if used correctly and appropriately is a fantastic tool for tracking a soldiers career in all aspects in readiness for potential job seekers. Sadly the management team of the British Army have to complete Bi annual interviews and produce all course certificates ect to the individual but the soldier is under no obligation to keep his/her PDR upto date ? THEY SHOULD BE !!! I am happy to make an effort for a soldier who takes pride in their PDR but sadly the majority of PDR's in the Army are still in their cellophane. I grant you mine is complete and upto date.
 
#20
I am aware of the existence of JSP 101 but unless there is a copy of it in every department in your unit, which there isn’t, then a précis might just do the trick…  All that would be necessary is a monthly check of the précis to make sure it still reflects JSP 101.  As far as PDR is concerned, when REME issued it to the Field Force in 1995, they forgot to make sure that Corps Instruction E-7 detailing the purpose of PDR and instructions on its use was issued at the same time so everyone got a PDR but had little or no idea what to do with it.     This set a trend and resulted in the situation we have now.  All PDR for Cpl and below should be held centrally within units and someone should be appointed as the custodian.  However, and contrary to what you said in your last post, it is still the tradesman’s responsibility to maintain his/her PDR.  What the managers need to do is to educate people otherwise this good idea is going down the toilet.  
 

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