Same standards, Reg and TA: GOOD. Same processes: BAD. Get it?

#1
This has just reached me in my underground lair.

Army Briefing Note 108-12 said:
Source: Army Recruiting and Training Division
Date: 3 Dec 12

TA SELECTION

ISSUE

1. On 1 Apr 12 the Army adopted a common standard of selection for both Regular and TA soldiers (know as Common Selection – CS) in order to underpin the future operational effectiveness of an integrated Army. CS has been criticised for placing too many hurdles in the way of a TA recruit by lengthening the recruiting journey and making it more complex. This ABN explains the need for CS and details the immediate changes that will be made to streamline the process before the Recruiting Partnering Process (RPP) brings a major change in Mar 13.

TARGET AUDIENCE

2. All TA Commanders and Commanding Officers.

KEY POINTS

• A common Army selection standard underpins the effectiveness of an integrated Army.

• Effective selection will reduce training wastage and deliver a higher quality TA soldiers.

• RPP will introduce a streamlined, fully resourced recruiting process on 26 Mar 13.

• The CS review shows that it has imposed some delay and is perceived to be too bureaucratic. A series of immediate changes to make CS more efficient will be introduced in Dec 13.

• The success of CS requires buy-in from the TA chain of command. It is underpinned by effective nurturing in units, and management of the expectation of potential recruits.

EXTRACTION FOR UNIT ROUTINE ORDERS

3. On 1 Apr 12 the Army adopted a common standard of selection for both Regular and TA soldiers (known as Common Selection (CS)). A review of the CS process has been undertaken to make it quicker, simpler and more flexible. As a result some immediate changes will be made in Dec 12. On 26 Mar 13, the Recruiting Partnering Project (RPP) will introduce a fully resourced recruiting process (including selection) for the Integrated Army (Regular and Reserve).

BACKGROUND

4. Legacy Selection. Until the introduction of CS, TA selection took place in 8 regionally based selection centres and TA centres with little assurance of the correct output standard. As a result, significant numbers of soldiers began training who were then found to be below the required standard, particularly medically , leading to a wastage rate of around 60%. CS was one of the first measures taken as part of FR20 to move towards an integrated Army, and as a stepping stone to RPP; it has been delivered in 8 regional selection centres (reducing to 5 by Dec 12) and at the 4 Army Development and Selection Centres (ADSCs). It built on good practice established in Scotland, where all selection had been carried out at ADSC Glencorse since 2010.

5. CS Issues. A common standard of selection for both Regular and Reserve is essential as we move towards an integrated Army. CS brought the following changes to TA selection: the BARB test (a trainability and intelligence assessment), Literacy & Numeracy tests; the use of TRH(J) to record outcomes; 3 interviews; and GP medical verification using the RG8 form. It is delivered in a combination of TA Centres, careers offices, regional selection centres and ADSCs. However, a number of key concerns have been identified:

• CS places too many demands on a TA candidate who is trying to balance his work, home, TA activity. TA candidates have to conduct too many activities in too many places over an increased time period, leading to some leaving before enlistment.
• CS took longer than the legacy system in the first 6 months following implementation.
• There can be some flexibility with the timing of the BARB test and literacy and numeracy assessment due to the TSC(A) loading mechanism.
• The launch of CS was not well handled, leading to poor training and education of the key unit staff who handle potential recruits on a daily basis.

6. RPP – the Future Solution. At IOC on 26 Mar 13, RPP will introduce a new ‘solution’ for TA recruiting, including a fully resourced selection process. This will include:

• A streamlined medical assessment and single selection processes conducted at 4 Army Selection Centres during the week and at weekends.
• Heart screening at the Selection Centre to reduce the need for cardio medical referrals. Screening will enable the physically demanding selection process to be completed prior to seeking GP input, which will then only be sought for those who pass selection.
• The vast majority of the remaining eligibility checks will be conducting either online, via the National Recruiting Centre (NRC), or during selection which will significantly reduce the level of effort required by the candidate to reach selection.
• There will be a single interview prior to selection and the final psychometric test (the Army Cognitive Test replaces the BARB) will be conducted at the selection centre.

7. Interim Changes. Recognising the need for improvement now, while ensuring a smooth ‘glide path’ to RPP, DG ART has conducted a thorough review of CS and directed the following changes to improve its efficiency:

• Interviews. By combining interviews 2 and 3, TA candidates will be required to make fewer journeys to offices or TA Centres before attending selection.
• BARB. BARB is still required to assess trainability and to indicate trade suitability but recruits will be permitted to complete it after selection.
• Literacy and Numeracy. Similarly, recruits will be able to take the Literacy and Numeracy assessment after selection, and civilian qualifications will be admissible where appropriate.
• GP Verification. GP verification prior to selection remains essential until the introduction of new screening equipment with RPP, but Min DPWV is engaging with Dept of Health to see how GPs can be incentivised to process all Army RG8s more quickly.
• Communication and Education. A CS briefing pack is being produced for units to confirm the steps required to complete CS efficiently and successfully. This will be issued by the end of Nov 12.
• Timing of ADSC Selection. TA Units are being encouraged to send recruits to ADSC selection along side their Regular counterparts during the week where they can. ARTD is seeking to increase the availability of weekend selection at the ADSCs.

8. Summary. CS was initially unpopular with the TA and anecdotally has contributed to greater wastage before selection. However, research shows that the majority of wastage is due to the failure of candidates to meet either the general eligibility or medical standards for the Army entry. A more efficient selection process will be introduced by RPP in Mar 13 and, in the interim, incremental improvements to CS will be made in Dec 12.
A pretty perfect example of non-evidence-based pish.

1. The Bluff. First, it makes it seem as if it is only since 1 Apr 12 that the TA has been subject to the BARB test; Literacy & Numeracy tests; the use of TRH(J) to record outcomes; interviews; and medical verification. That is total nonsense. The TA has been using BARB for years, literacy and numeracy tests for even longer, TRHJ and its predecessor TRHA for over 4 years (and a similar system for tracking recruits before that), and medicals since time immemorial.

2. The Ass-Cover. What has actually happened is that by (a) farming out the job of medical verification to the potential recruit and his GP and (b) stopping doing the BARB tests on selection weekends and instead farming them out to ACIOs and units, a functioning system providing recruits of the right standard was shagged up. The new RG8 system introduced months of delay and bureaucracy in order to generate marginally improved sift. Delay and breaking-points were introduced where they did not exist before. This ABN seems to be trying to gloss over that cock-up.

3. The Blame-Swerve. "The launch of CS was not well handled, leading to poor training and education of the key unit staff who handle potential recruits on a daily basis." Right, so it's the STABs' fault, not the ineptitude of those who decided to implement the Common Standard (a good idea) by means of an identical process (moronic). The funny thing is, those same poorly-trained and ill-educated key TA unit staff predicted that this system was bonk, but were ignored.

4. The Made Up Factoid 1. "Until the introduction of CS, TA selection took place in 8 regionally based selection centres and TA centres with little assurance of the correct output standard. As a result, significant numbers of soldiers began training who were then found to be below the required standard, particularly medically , leading to a wastage rate of around 60%." REALLY? So the wastage during TA Phase 1 was entirely due to an allegedly defective selection process? Nothing to do with the rigidity of the Phase 1 training programme, or the recruits' discovery that the training was not as good as they expected, or merely life changes (of job, of home, of mind)?

5. The Made Up Factoid 2. "Research shows that the majority of wastage is due to the failure of candidates to meet either the general eligibility or medical standards for the Army entry." REALLY? I would love to see that research. More than 50% of those entering the start of the recruiting process fail to reach the selection weekend due to their failure (because they are ineligible or not medically fit)? PROVE IT. I find it counter-intuitive that stretching an application process (ie, the bit before the selection weekend, and well before actual training starts) from a month to over four months would have so negligible an impact on people's willingness to wait for the system to respond to them.

6. The Beige Nuance "The CS review shows that it has imposed some delay and is perceived to be too bureaucratic." It is more than just "perceived" to be too bureaucratic. It is too bureaucratic.

7. The Blame-Swerve 2. "CS was initially unpopular with the TA." This ABN is seeking to make it appear that it is TA resistance to the Common Standard which has been the problem. That is insulting nonsense - although it suits some people to say this. The process was unpopular with the TA because it was not designed to suit the needs of an applicant who has a job and is not necessarily willing to take 3 or 4 days' holiday simply in order to apply to join the TA - but that system was implemented despite warnings.

You see, Common Standard is good - but application of the same process to both regular and TA applicants is just plain stupid.

The changes being announced will be an improvement if they really are "adequately resourced" and if they do not cut the link between the potential recruit and the TA unit they are seeking to join: it is that personal mentoring link which keeps them going as the system grinds through their application and Phase 1 training.

Dr E



P.S.: Reshow for someone on the BARB and literacy tests:

Paragraph 1 "CS has been criticised for placing too many hurdles in the way of a TA recruit" I take it they mean "in the way of TA recruits".

Paragraph 2 "Effective selection will reduce training wastage and deliver a higher quality TA soldiers." I take it they mean "deliver higher quality TA soldiers".

Paragraph 7: "Min DPWV is engaging with Dept of Health to see how GPS can be incentivised." I am looking forward to seeing all those happy little satellites zoom giggling past my Death Star.

Paragraph 8: "However, research shows that the majority of wastage is due to the failure of candidates to meet either the general eligibility or medical standards for the Army entry." I take it they mean "for Army entry."
 
#4
Could it be that the twat who wrote this over-complicated missive was also the twat who came up with this over-complicated process?

The whole doc could have been halved in length, without losing any useful information.

Which would have given the author fewer opportunities to make glaring errors of grammar/logic.

Quite apart from the real point, which is that while good potential recruits don't mind a demanding selection process (and may well be motivated by it -- think SAS) they most definitely do mind excessive bureaucracy. How many will have thought "If this is what the Army's like, they can ram it"?
 
#8
I'm just crossing my fingers, sloping my shoulders, saying "above my pay grade" and doing what we can with what we get...
Correct, worrying about senior officer incompetence just causes stress and possibly heart attacks. Just accept that the donkeys are not going to get any smarter, or more willing to accept responsibility, and be the best lion you can be.
 
M

Mr_Logic

Guest
#9
6. The Beige Nuance "The CS review shows that it has imposed some delay and is perceived to be too bureaucratic." It is more than just "perceived" to be too bureaucratic. It is too bureaucratic.

You see, Common Standard is good - but application of the same process to both regular and TA applicants is just plain stupid.
I agree completely with your points. This whole farce is similar to the impending CLM (V) catastrophe, where the same standard, not comparable standard, is to be implemented and achieved. I agree with the principle, but if the TA can achieve it in a 15 day course (or 30 to 40 plus training days), what the **** are Regulars who fail doing for 365 days a year?

In my recent experience, the people writing this sort of policy have no idea about the TA or TA Regs. Decisions are made without consultation, and without an understanding of what the TA are expected and resourced to do. The 30,000 effective TA will remain a pipe-dream, unless it is resourced correctly. But then again, I have no condidence that our leaders actually care.
 
#10
In my recent experience, the people writing this sort of policy have no idea about the TA or TA Regs. Decisions are made without consultation, and without an understanding of what the TA are expected and resourced to do. The 30,000 effective TA will remain a pipe-dream, unless it is resourced correctly. But then again, I have no condidence that our leaders actually care.
I am rather hoping that the intellectual horsepower which we now appear to have at the top of the TA will be in a position to influence this sort of thing via their long handled screwdriver.

m-s-r
 
#11
My current experience is that the assorted Higher Formantion HQs are badly under-manned and quite low grade Staff Officers are having far too many parcels of work handed to them.Add in the lack of basic understanding and knowledge are hey-presto, a re-run of Quintinshill

Quintinshill rail disaster -
 
#13
My current experience is that the assorted Higher Formantion HQs are badly under-manned and quite low grade Staff Officers are having far too many parcels of work handed to them.Add in the lack of basic understanding and knowledge are hey-presto, a re-run of Quintinshill

Quintinshill rail disaster -
Not sure that Quintinshill equates with poor staff work..

This incident was entirely due to a couple of individuals breaking the rules, neither of whom were ignorant of their duties and who were pulling a fast one to save themselves a walk.

I am entirely in agreement with Dr E's analysis, although I do think that there has been a bit of a perfect storm between Imperial Staff Dicktat, Local Monggery and the Medical Mafia of late.

The real danger is if you put together an idiotic selection process, staffed by idiots, all you will produce are idiot recruits. Anyone worthwhile will walk away shaking their heads...
 
#14
My contact with / knowledge of the TA is extremely limited - I’ll leave that area to others.

The bit that caught my eye was:

The Recruiting Partnering Process (RPP) will introduce a streamlined, fully resourced recruiting process on 26 Mar 13.

Really?

“The launch of CS was not well handled” - anyone think that RPP will be handled better?
 
#15
HE 177 - I was using Quintinshill as an example of a TA Traincrash..... point stands about undermanned Staff posts tho. Several SO2 and SO3 boards this last year where less than half the vacancies were filled. The result is staff work is either not done or is rushed.
 
#16
HE 177 - I was using Quintinshill as an example of a TA Traincrash..... point stands about undermanned Staff posts tho. Several SO2 and SO3 boards this last year where less than half the vacancies were filled. The result is staff work is either not done or is rushed.
..on that we agree!
 
#17
HE 177 - I was using Quintinshill as an example of a TA Traincrash..... point stands about undermanned Staff posts tho. Several SO2 and SO3 boards this last year where less than half the vacancies were filled. The result is staff work is either not done or is rushed.
Perfect analysis, sally, except that the preferred term for 'not done' is 'parked'!

...I was amused by the fact that some SO3 seems to think that he/she can dictate what COs should place on their routine orders.
Aksherly, since this is an official letter, the convention is that the SO[Whatever] is deemed to 'speak with their commander's voice'. I think that this is an ARTD matter, so I should imagine it carries the authority of a 2*.

...and don't forget that COs are only treated like little tin gods by their own ORBAT. Away from RD, a Lt Col isn't that big a fish.
 
#20
My contact with / knowledge of the TA is extremely limited - I’ll leave that area to others.

The bit that caught my eye was:

The Recruiting Partnering Process (RPP) will introduce a streamlined, fully resourced recruiting process on 26 Mar 13.

Really?

“The launch of CS was not well handled” - anyone think that RPP will be handled better?
It will be fantastic oh ye of little faith! They went into this process with their eyes wide open knowing that they have to also recruit for the TA as they make up a significant proportion of the army and have all the processes in place for reservists.

Hang on a minute......oh bugger.
 

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