Royal Navy Manning - Extreme Solutions Being Tried

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
We already have different rates dependent upon the grade of SLA. Some is so poor the troops don’t pay anything.
And guess where I always seem to end up staying? :)

(And it's not Navy - one's nominally a RAF base and the other is loudly joint-service...)
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
Not the best for the family though
Why? How many people in civvy strasse get to come home at 1700 every day, or even want to do that? It's done my family no harm and I've a multitude of civvy friends (engineers, consultants, doctors) who have had very similar patterns of working away from home. Unless you work in London it's probably quite common in white collar work.
 
Local market costs, local market availability, security, health, equality laws, education, jobs availability for spouses, the additional costs of transporting personnel to and from work, willingness of servicemen and their spouses to live in specific areas (eg Scotland), erosion of ethos, duty of care for young servicemen.

Regards,
MM
Thanks for your response (and for others who also replied!), but a lot of the challenges you describe happen with lots of jobs in the private sector with little to no support from their employers. Lots of people cope perfectly away from family for long periods of time without help.
I personally doubt the MoD is capable of housing people in accommodation of the right quality; they aren’t incentivised to do so. And it might ultimately be cheaper to just pay soldiers etc significantly more but remove the responsibility for housing.
 
Thanks for your response (and for others who also replied!), but a lot of the challenges you describe happen with lots of jobs in the private sector with little to no support from their employers. Lots of people cope perfectly away from family for long periods of time without help.
I personally doubt the MoD is capable of housing people in accommodation of the right quality; they aren’t incentivised to do so. And it might ultimately be cheaper to just pay soldiers etc significantly more but remove the responsibility for housing.
Are you absolutely sure you're not a Senior Officer in HM Forces?
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
Are you absolutely sure you're not a Senior Officer in HM Forces?
Yes. Because he'd know there is neither the funds nor the appetite to pay the amounts needed to offset provision of MQ/SLA. And more importantly the Army regimental system revolves around soldiers and families moving with the battalions.

I absolutely agree with the first part of his post. It echoes what I've said previously and is mirrored by what my civvy friends find. They work all over the UK/Europe, weekending (if they can) and many either get a pittance for travel support, some get decent packages, some get nothing. None get subsidised housing but are expected to be as mobile as the job demands, when it demands. Overall I'd say our package is still decent.
 
I absolutely agree with the first part of his post. It echoes what I've said previously and is mirrored by what my civvy friends find. They work all over the UK/Europe, weekending (if they can) and many either get a pittance for travel support, some get decent packages, some get nothing. None get subsidised housing but are expected to be as mobile as the job demands, when it demands. Overall I'd say our package is still decent.
The high rate of people leaving would tend to suggest they disagree with that assessment.
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Yes. Because he'd know there is neither the funds nor the appetite to pay the amounts needed to offset provision of MQ/SLA. And more importantly the Army regimental system revolves around soldiers and families moving with the battalions.

I absolutely agree with the first part of his post. It echoes what I've said previously and is mirrored by what my civvy friends find. They work all over the UK/Europe, weekending (if they can) and many either get a pittance for travel support, some get decent packages, some get nothing. None get subsidised housing but are expected to be as mobile as the job demands, when it demands. Overall I'd say our package is still decent.
I have pretty much worked away from home since I left 5 years ago* and have found that accommodation/travel packages are factored in where the location is challenging or where the work is project based, i.e. the demand justifies it. For routine jobs you are expected to move (some relocation support may be available) or make your own arrangements at your own cost. You are free, of course, to negotiate your package.

*my wife's ugly and my tea's a salad, etc..
 
...It's done my family no harm...
Funny, your wife was only commenting the other evening that she found the arrangement worked for her as well! ;)

Thanks for your response (and for others who also replied!), but a lot of the challenges you describe happen with lots of jobs in the private sector with little to no support from their employers. Lots of people cope perfectly away from family for long periods of time without help...
You work for the Treasury and I claim my £5.

Your comments are, with respect, is the perennial argument we have with Civil Servants whose sole military experience is Playing CoD on their PS4. Indeed, it's akin to the oh so successful 'Pay as you dine' system which has seen less financially savvy servicemen find that they can't afford to eat at the end of the month because they've blown their pay on beer in the first few weeks since pay day.

Here's just a few reasons why it wouldn't work:

1. What happens when the local housing market is too expensive to be covered by extra pay?
2. What happens when the local housing market doesn't have sufficient housing?
3. What do you do when someone moves out of an expensive area to a cheap area or buys his own home? Cut his pay?!
4. How do you avoid troops getting ripped off by local agents?
5. How do you avoid personnel saving their money and kipping in the spare room - or on the floor - of a mates house?
6. How do you cater for non-financially savvy personnel when they default on rent and end up on the streets while serving?
7. How do you fundamentally change the Army regimental system?
8. What happens when a serviceman can only afford to live in an area with high proportion of immigrants or anti-military personnel and where his personal security is fundamentally at risk?
9. What happens when the agents demand a huge rent hike? Pay them more?
10. How do you 'index link' pay to housing rental rates?
11. How do you reconcile the readiness, disciplinary, and duty of care challenges inherent in such arrangements?
12. How do you afford all the additional home to duty costs? Extra pay as well?
13. What happens when public sector unions kick off that HMF are getting a disproportionate deal (they already moan about what we get)?

In essence, what you're suggesting is an extreme Future Accommodation Model (FAM) which is proving fundamentally unaffordable for all the reasons stated and many, many more.

...I personally doubt the MoD is capable of housing people in accommodation of the right quality; they aren’t incentivised to do so...
The MoD is not the problem; it's the Treasury who would love, more than anything, to get rid of all SLA and SFA (not to mentiuon medical, dental and all leisure facilities) and make us all live in the local community. That's how FAM was thought up...the same FAM that is proving so unrealistic even at first glance.

...it might ultimately be cheaper to just pay soldiers etc significantly more but remove the responsibility for housing.
It isn't, by a very long way. Indeed, do you actually think that nobody has ever done the sums to examine this option...many times?!!!

...Overall I'd say our package is still decent.
There are many great aspects of serving in the military which many don't realise until they leave. Guaranteed access to medical and dental care at (relatively) short notice and in particular what currently remains a very good pension deal for those who serve a fair time.

Subsidised food and accommodation used to be a big part of that, and it's still trumpeted by our recruitment websites as well as the MoD and DIO. Unfortunately, the reality for many is somewhat different, a fact that the AFPRB is increasingly commenting on. Meanwhile, allowances have been eroded such that I'm routinely out of pocket when I travel anywhere and have to travel long distances economy (even when business class may be cheaper!). Likewise, many serving overseas (especially those on exchange) typically return about £7K out of pocket.

I've spent the majority of the last decade on the weekend commute. While it may work for you, it sucked for myself and my family (not least as the allowances only assume I want to go home every other weekend!) and came very close to forcing me out. As @kevster suggests, such factors are certainly a major and increasing 'push factor' for servicemen considering their future, especially the experienced JNCO/SNCO cadre who are so essential to our everyday business.

Regards,
MM
 
Funny, your wife was only commenting the other evening that she found the arrangement worked for her as well! ;)



You work for the Treasury and I claim my £5.

Your comments are, with respect, is the perennial argument we have with Civil Servants whose sole military experience is Playing CoD on their PS4. Indeed, it's akin to the oh so successful 'Pay as you dine' system which has seen less financially savvy servicemen find that they can't afford to eat at the end of the month because they've blown their pay on beer in the first few weeks since pay day.

Here's just a few reasons why it wouldn't work:

1. What happens when the local housing market is too expensive to be covered by extra pay? You live in cheaper housing, share with others, or you move out and commute. Exactly what every civilian in the country does?
2. What happens when the local housing market doesn't have sufficient housing? See above, though this isn't usually a problem given the demand/supply/price trifecta
3. What do you do when someone moves out of an expensive area to a cheap area or buys his own home? Cut his pay?! Why? Pay is pay and this could be a one-off upward re-rating.
4. How do you avoid troops getting ripped off by local agents? Not the MoD's problem. Employers don't negotiate housing for employees.
5. How do you avoid personnel saving their money and kipping in the spare room - or on the floor - of a mates house? Not the MoD's problem. Employers don't usually involve themselves in the personal lives and/or living arrangements of their employees.
6. How do you cater for non-financially savvy personnel when they default on rent and end up on the streets while serving? Not the MoD's problem. Trained soldiers are usually adults and should be able to manage their own finances. As a civilian part of my contract is if I declare bankruptcy I lose my job. It's a fact of life that you are responsible for yourself.
7. How do you fundamentally change the Army regimental system? Not sure what you mean here and would appreciate it if you could expand?
8. What happens when a serviceman can only afford to live in an area with high proportion of immigrants or anti-military personnel and where his personal security is fundamentally at risk? Interesting point which I haven't thought of. Don't have a response really.
9. What happens when the agents demand a huge rent hike? Pay them more? No, you move somewhere else. Same as with every civilian in the country. It's not really the MoD's problem.
10. How do you 'index link' pay to housing rental rates? You don't. Same as with every civilian working for the private sector and those with the government, though you could probably have the equivalent of a London rating (those in London will earn more as they do currently).
11. How do you reconcile the readiness, disciplinary, and duty of care challenges inherent in such arrangements? I'd guess more onus would be on the individual soldier, airman or sailor, same with every civilian job where you have to be available at short notice: see doctors and emergency services. I don't see why disciplinary requirements would change. Duty of care would be limited to when personnel are actually on duty.
12. How do you afford all the additional home to duty costs? Extra pay as well? Yes
13. What happens when public sector unions kick off that HMF are getting a disproportionate deal (they already moan about what we get)? I admit I haven't done the sums but I view it as a rejigging of costs rather than just an increase in pay, and in theory should be fiscally neutral. Would be happy to read anything public you can share on why such an approach wouldn't be feasible but in my mind it's perfectly justifiable to increase salary if you are hugely reducing benefits.

In essence, what you're suggesting is an extreme Future Accommodation Model (FAM) which is proving fundamentally unaffordable for all the reasons stated and many, many more.

The MoD is not the problem; it's the Treasury who would love, more than anything, to get rid of all SLA and SFA (not to mentiuon medical, dental and all leisure facilities) and make us all live in the local community. That's how FAM was thought up...the same FAM that is proving so unrealistic even at first glance.

It isn't, by a very long way. Indeed, do you actually think that nobody has ever done the sums to examine this option...many times?!!!

Regards,
MM
I'll try and respond where I can above but most of these fall into the "It's not the MoD's problem" camp. As other folks have stated, most employers frankly don't care where their employees live and it's the employees responsibility to ensure that their living arrangements aren't to the detriment of their job.

I guess there are some unique aspects of military life (primarily the long training period and security aspects), but I'm not sure the answe to that question has to be MoD-provided accomodation.
 
Yes. Because he'd know there is neither the funds nor the appetite to pay the amounts needed to offset provision of MQ/SLA. And more importantly the Army regimental system revolves around soldiers and families moving with the battalions.
Can you expand on this please? MM was hinting at this in his post. Does this mean that soldiers are moved around the country quite frequently even though their roles haven't changed? Why does this happen and is this practice prevalent in the other services?
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
The high rate of people leaving would tend to suggest they disagree with that assessment.
If you speak to Service leavers, and I do, the majority (that I've interviewed) aren't dissatisfied with "the package". In fact most recognise they will need to earn more to match pensions, healthcare accommodation etc. The bulk in the last two years seem to want new challenges, more stability and less churn, which is understandable.
 
...I guess there are some unique aspects of military life...
Ya reckon?!

...(primarily the long training period and security aspects)...
I wouldn't say those are the primary aspects (certainly not the first one) although PERSEC is definitely a factor.

...I'm not sure the answe to that question has to be MoD-provided accomodation.
It isn't and it's not.

However, paying people more to choose where they live would be unaffordable and untenable.

Can you expand on this please? MM was hinting at this in his post. Does this mean that soldiers are moved around the country quite frequently even though their roles haven't changed? Why does this happen and is this practice prevalent in the other services?
It's an Army thing. Although the Pongoes do post individuals dependent upon cap badge, they uniquely post entire units complete with equipment, Mess silver, saddles, stirrups and assorted farmyard mammal mascots. The other 2 services almost exclusively post only individuals.

If you speak to Service leavers, and I do, the majority (that I've interviewed) aren't dissatisfied with "the package". In fact most recognise they will need to earn more to match pensions, healthcare accommodation etc. The bulk in the last two years seem to want new challenges, more stability and less churn, which is understandable.
For the RAF, I'd echo the desire for greater stability (as long as it's in a place they want!) from the middle management. However infra is an increasing push factor for those already in.

Regards,
MM
 
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If you speak to Service leavers, and I do, the majority (that I've interviewed) aren't dissatisfied with "the package". In fact most recognise they will need to earn more to match pensions, healthcare accommodation etc. The bulk in the last two years seem to want new challenges, more stability and less churn, which is understandable.
I would counter that with, if the package was more competitive and rewarding, then the reasons to leave of wanting new challenges, stability and less churn would have less influence. Double my wages (as an extreme example for emphasis) and I'll put up with a lot more inconvenience/grief. The same for decent accommodation, or the promise of a worthwhile pension. It's wouldn't be the panacea for everyone, or all circumstances. But it's definitely a big factor for most, in my opinion.
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
Can you expand on this please? MM was hinting at this in his post. Does this mean that soldiers are moved around the country quite frequently even though their roles haven't changed?
Others are way more qualified to comment and will no doubt amend any inaccuracies: Battalions can move according to task i.e. the Bn's that are currently in Cyprus are based elsewhere in the UK, but when tasked move en-masse including their families. There are a number of accommodation/pay policies that we tried to harmonise, and where possible expand, a number of years ago that the Army felt if too generous (Advances of pay/Loans for mortgages for example) would encourage too many soldiers to buy properties and not reside in Service accommodation ( and thus being nearby be able to partake in all of the Regimental life.). The 2* argument was interesting (and it was some time ago) but he felt the value to the Army of the families residing and being able to play a part in regimental life was paramount. A very different approach to the other 2 services.
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
I would counter that with, if the package was more competitive and rewarding, then the reasons to leave of wanting new challenges, stability and less churn would have less influence. Double my wages (as an extreme example for emphasis) and I'll put up with a lot more inconvenience/grief. The same for decent accommodation, or the promise of a worthwhile pension. It's wouldn't be the panacea for everyone, or all circumstances. But it's definitely a big factor for most, in my opinion.
Have you seen how much of our budget is devoted to pay/pensions already? 27.3% of the Defence Budget goes on people as it is.
 
Have you seen how much of our budget is devoted to pay/pensions already? 27.3% of the Defence Budget goes on people as it is.
and?
 
Others are way more qualified to comment and will no doubt amend any inaccuracies: Battalions can move according to task i.e. the Bn's that are currently in Cyprus are based elsewhere in the UK, but when tasked move en-masse including their families. There are a number of accommodation/pay policies that we tried to harmonise, and where possible expand, a number of years ago that the Army felt if too generous (Advances of pay/Loans for mortgages for example) would encourage too many soldiers to buy properties and not reside in Service accommodation ( and thus being nearby be able to partake in all of the Regimental life.). The 2* argument was interesting (and it was some time ago) but he felt the value to the Army of the families residing and being able to play a part in regimental life was paramount. A very different approach to the other 2 services.
But those families can’t put down routes
 

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