I am coming to the end of my military career but still believe that I have more to give my country and would like to do so serving alongside the Servicemen and women who I have worked with for the last 39 years. As I can no longer do it in uniform, I decided to look at employment within the MoD as a civil servant to help me achieve a number of personal goals, namely further employment (I too have a family to support) and to use the skills and training I have learnt during my career to support the Services. I have since been informed that the MoD has taken the decision not to allow any external applications for current vacant, or soon to become vacant, Military Support Function (MSF) Civil Service posts. These roles are usually filled by those who have an affiliation to the unit they are supporting (such as regimental secretary) or have particular experience and skill sets that make them ideally suited to the responsibilities of the posts. I personally know that a number of these positions have been advertised again and again internally within the Civil Service but have not been filled because those who apply lack sufficient knowledge or are not seen as suitable. When told this, the powers that be inform the unit to look again internally, offering training, until such time as they do find a worthy candidate. The organisation and the people it serves is therefore penalised twice once while the post is vacant and again by filling it with someone who lacks the level of skill and knowledge required. I can understand why certain members of the Civil Service would believe this practice is acceptable and fully support it, but it does smack of protectionism. If any civil servant wished to join the military they just have to visit the nearest Armed Forces Careers Office and apply. The same, however, is no longer true for a serving member, or ex-member, who wishes to join the Civil Service and work for the MoD. Where is the best person for the job ethos or is it always to be the best person for the job (as long as its a civil servant)? This decision has effectively removed the opportunity for a serving or ex-member of the Armed Forces, or indeed the general public, to compete in an open contest for any appointment. I am not sure if this practice is legal and compliant with employment law but I personally believe that this is a further degradation of the Military Covenant between the MoD and the Armed Forces. How can the department and its ministers look us in the face and tell us that they greatly value our service and experience (as they often do) if they will not allow us to openly compete for positions within the Civil Service where they know that the same service and experience can be used to best effect? The posts are still there, are still needed and are still being advertised. Come on MoD, if you honestly believe what you tell us at least give us a fighting chance and allow us to apply.