Standards - Where do we stand?

#1
I appreciate that much of this may be viewed with scepticism, and the old attitude of 'You signed up, so suck the egg.' I for one do not denounce this. I am perfectly willing to do exactly as I'm told (and recent (should read CURRENT!) circumstances should vouch for the fact that I do get along with minimal grumbling) but when researching upcoming postings I've accidentally come across a large number of posts that have raised my eyebrows, in particular concerning the standards expected of young soldiers.

So, to reiterate the title, where do we stand?

I suppose the issue I contend is the 'double standards' expected of young soldiers. I don't know if that is the correct term for what I'm describing, but it does describe the correct theme. Essentially, the huge responsibility (especially in today's climate) placed on the shoulders on very junior personnel, versus the lack of faith placed in them.

I live in a very basic SLAM unit. It is comfortable, and was built before I arrived here. One of the issues arising from this accommodation is that it has one door in, and that very same door is the one exit out. This is a three storey building. Should any incident arise below the third floor then the occupants have one means of escape. That is via a window, to a concreted carpark. The occupants of this block have placed their faith in the CoC to provide them with safe and suitable accommodation, and this appears to me (admittedly speculatively) to be a fairly, ummm, iffy, safety measure.

Bare with me.

We today had an SQMS walk-around, which I accept. To a point. There was no warning issued beforehand. I would ALWAYS expect a warning before anybody entered my living quarters (uninvited and unescorted) for an inspection. The walk-around was timed perfectly, as the accommodation was designated for a sub-department which was guaranteed to be elsewhere at the time, except I happen to be on relocation leave and was in the shower.
As it turns out, the reason for the timing was that the SQMS was hoping to 'catch out' people for certain offences, described below. The fact that my 40kg English Bull Terrier (whose presence WAS noted on the door) was in residence did not deter him.
Archie did sound the warning for me, but as he's a moron he just tried to lick the SQMS to within an inch of his life. Idiot.
(The dog is not really relevant, just a part of this story).

The block comprises of 3 floors, each with 8 en-suite rooms. Each floor also has 1 x Drying Room and 1 x Utility Room. The Drying Room is a small cupboard with hangars and works perfectly (if not a little slowly!) for intended use. The Utility Room is a very large room with numerous cupboards, working surfaces, shelves and a stainless steel sink.

Inhabitants of the block have recently been told that no cooking apparatus is to be used within these utility rooms. None whatsoever. This encompasses toasters, grills, microwaves, kettles, slow cookers, hot plates etc.
A recent inspection meant that all owners of such equipment had to 'dispose of it.' The inspection today was to find any such equipment 'hidden' in rooms of personnel.

This has raised the question of whether the SQMS has the right to tell inhabitants what they, and are not, allowed to own. The blokes took their cooking equipment back to their rooms for safe storage (on the understanding that they are not to use it) and have now been told that ownership and storage of such equipment is forbidden.

Furthermore, the ground floor houses a 'storage room.' Now, knowing most squaddies to be pikies (let's be honest here!) I would never leave my rig lying around. However, we happen to have a large number of quality triathletes and cyclists in my building. Some of their bikes are worth amounts that make my eyes bleed. Even the 'lesser' models are very expensive. SQMS instructs today that such equipment cannot be held in the storage room, or anywhere else inside the block.
I do not claim to be an expert on bikes. However, I would be very loathe (as backed up by the professionals) to leave a piece of kit worth several thousands of pounds, exposed to the elements and padbrats.

I have many, many points, but wine befuddles my massive brain.

As it happens, a George Forman Grill (as a heating device without element exposure) comes under the same guidelines as an iron. I would be interested to see the response should soldiers start appearing on parade having not ironed their kit, as irons were banned from SLA.
 

CanteenCowboy

LE
Book Reviewer
#2
You're fucked if you do and you're fucked if you don't.........

Sounds like your SQMS is a ****.

Been in plenty of accomodation with NO proper fire escapes, come to think of it only been in one accomodation block with a fire escape (say what you want about Herr Fritz, but he knew how to build a barrack block), most civvy organisations blanch when they view MoD accomodation.

Does your SLAM not have the gucci little bike shelters which have seemed to sprung up everywhere?

Most of your points should be raised with firstly your 'platoon baloon' not the Pl Sgt, if no joy with him ask for interview with Oc, are all these 'regulations' on paper somewhere?
 
#3
Military digs... was easier when your rules were written down... you followed the rules or found your way around them and you accepted your punishment when you were caught breaking them... you didn't have any rights unless the RSM gave them to you.
 
#4
Nope, nothing. Anybody found sheltering their bikes (regardless of worth) in their rooms is up for AGAI. Same for any cooking equipment (boxed up or not) or those found hoarding MFO boxes for mates on tour.
 

CanteenCowboy

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
Kill the SQMS in a 'drive-by' your block becomes the camp 'ghetto' and no one comes near until new RSM, your posted by that time and don't care.........................................
 
#6
Military digs... was easier when your rules were written down... you followed the rules or found your way around them and you accepted your punishment when you were caught breaking them... you didn't have any rights unless the RSM gave them to you.
I do understand your post, and yes, it was an easier time. But then, do we want to go back to it? Times change, so do soldiers. So does the environment. My father, who fought in the Falklands, GW1 and did numerous tours of NI was very keen to impress to me in 2005 that it was a very, very silly time for anybody to entertain joining the Army. He might have been right, but he still signed my (underage, as it was required) paperwork.

To say that things are not the same IS NOT TO SAY that things have gone soft. The whole 'IN MY DAY' argument is bereft due to the fact that blokes joining today sign a dotted line KNOWING that they will deploy on tour to one of a few theatres. They should be commended and rewarded, in my opinion. Every soldier signing up today deserves to be treated fairly and well, and almost to a man they will have earned it months down the line.
 
#7
I apologise, this might be in the wrong forum. It is not an attack on a singular SQ, it was intended to promote questions regarding the standards expected and the respect accorded of young soldiers. I will ask it to be moved if it isn't given due regard.
 
#8
"All soldiers have the right to live and work in an environment free from harassment, unlawful discrimination and intimidation. Any unjustifiable behaviour that results in soldiers being unfairly treated is fundamentally incompatible with the ethos of the Army, and is not to be tolerated."

Quoted from paragraph 19, Values and Standards of the British Army, that being said i haven't cooked on an iron or radiator for some time, can you not get a hexi-stove going in the utility room?
 
#9
Assuming you've already spoken to the SQMS and he's fucked you off, then he is being a twat. Get the bikers to go through the QMSI at the gym to make the SQMS look like a **** to the RSM. "Sir, I've got blokes coming to me asking if they can shelter their 2 grand bikes in my gym because SQMS 2Sqn won't let them put their bikes in their block storage room".

Get the Block NCO to request an OC's interview. "Sir, the lads pay for a utility room in the block, which is set up like a basic kitchen. Except we aren't allowed small cooking appliances, not even a kettle. We can't use the storage room to err... store our bulky kit, such as bikes and MFO boxes. Is there anything we can do, because this is already causing a morale issue in the block, and has the potential to get worse".

Snap inspections and who you've been shaking hands with recently are by the by, to be honest though.
Agreed, having re-read my post. More of a comparative theme than 'owt else.
 
#10
Assuming you've already spoken to the SQMS and he's fucked you off, then he is being a twat. Get the bikers to go through the QMSI at the gym to make the SQMS look like a **** to the RSM. "Sir, I've got blokes coming to me asking if they can shelter their 2 grand bikes in my gym because SQMS 2Sqn won't let them put their bikes in their block storage room".

Get the Block NCO to request an OC's interview. "Sir, the lads pay for a utility room in the block, which is set up like a basic kitchen. Except we aren't allowed small cooking appliances, not even a kettle. We can't use the storage room to err... store our bulky kit, such as bikes and MFO boxes. Is there anything we can do, because this is already causing a morale issue in the block, and has the potential to get worse".

Snap inspections and who you've been shaking hands with recently are by the by, to be honest though.
Very quickly, the 'storage room' is not supposed to cover people on tour, their kit is expected to be stored in the MFO store. This is because, due to shortages in accommodation, (which we're all used to), deployed staff relinquish their rooms during tour. But the MFO store have made it clear (this is a heavily-deployed unit only scaled for short-term courses) that they do not have the capacity. I don't want to put in to words here what their instructions have been, but it sounds incredibly similar to 'wrack on' and 'weal with it.'

QMSI has his hands tied. The kit is personal and not Army or Tri-Service owned. Anything under his protection needs to be insured. No dice.

As for hexi stoves, no, got charged for that during Basic. I do throw up a Lancashire Hotpot in a kettle every now and then.
 
#11
Sounds ******* ridiculous to me. Does the CO know that his QM's dept have their heads up their arses?

Got anyone in your block that's ready to sign off? If so, get one of them to raise the issues on their OC's interview. "Sir, we're treated like children in the SLA. Smudge has got a 2 grand bike and the SQ says he can't keep it indoors. QMSI says it has to be MoD owned for him to look after it. Nobby's on tour; not only has he lost his room, but the MFO store won't take his kit while he's away. The SQ won't let us keep his kit for him in the storage room either. We've got a utility room that is **** all utility to anybody. I'm threaders and I want out Sir."
Losing your room is SOP everywhere I've been so far. If you deploy, you evacuate your pitspace. At my last unit we had such piss-poor comms with the battery deployed on tour that they arrived back at unit and were kipping on mattresses before POTL.

We aren't allowed to designate a block NCO (a role that I gladly took on at my last unit (despite being a junior Lance Jack because it came with a bigger room) because nobody wanted the hassle it incurred) because all accommodation for several departments is managed centrally.

I walked the pooch out and through the 'storage room' today. It was packed. Now it's empty. There is a large amount of fridges, microwaves and cooking equipment next to the skips. Ruthless.

The rule is - you live in your room. Everything you own lives in your room. You may wash up in the 'utility room,' but don't leave anything there. If it is not locked away, if will be disposed of. If we come into your room (with no notice) and find anything (including going into your lockers) that is 'contraband,' STAND BY.

Today I was questioned by the SQMS as to my TV. It seemed he was adamant to catch people out. As luck would have it I do have a TV License, which he has taken to 'verify.' No civilian would ever be questioned upon producing proof, so I'm at a loss to explain why I have to.
 
#12
Losing your room is SOP everywhere I've been so far. If you deploy, you evacuate your pitspace. At my last unit we had such piss-poor comms with the battery deployed on tour that they arrived back at unit and were kipping on mattresses before POTL.

We aren't allowed to designate a block NCO (a role that I gladly took on at my last unit (despite being a junior Lance Jack because it came with a bigger room) because nobody wanted the hassle it incurred) because all accommodation for several departments is managed centrally.

I walked the pooch out and through the 'storage room' today. It was packed. Now it's empty. There is a large amount of fridges, microwaves and cooking equipment next to the skips. Ruthless.

The rule is - you live in your room. Everything you own lives in your room. You may wash up in the 'utility room,' but don't leave anything there. If it is not locked away, if will be disposed of. If we come into your room (with no notice) and find anything (including going into your lockers) that is 'contraband,' STAND BY.

Today I was questioned by the SQMS as to my TV. It seemed he was adamant to catch people out. As luck would have it I do have a TV License, which he has taken to 'verify.' No civilian would ever be questioned upon producing proof, so I'm at a loss to explain why I have to.
This policy was pathetic 20 years ago and remains pathetic. The only reason rooms need to be packed up for tours is that it makes the QMs life easier if somebody is killed on tour. Nobody is about to move into the vacated rooms, it would cause uproar on a units return from Ops. The policy on irons, microwaves, etc is also stupid. The QM should get the LAD / Workshop involved to get kit electrically safety tested, if kit is found that is out of date or untested (or TVs without license - the CO has to comply with UK law whether you like it or not) the miscreant has a week to get it sorted or kit gets skipped. But then that would be too much like common sense...
 
#13
I walked the pooch out and through the 'storage room' today. It was packed. Now it's empty. There is a large amount of fridges, microwaves and cooking equipment next to the skips. Ruthless.
Was this property that belongs to people actually living in the block or had it been left by people who have moved on?

Did the SQMS give any warning that the property was going to be binned before he did it?

Because in some lights what he did could look like theft and a call to the RMP from someone who's left something in the storage room which is no longer there could be an amusing little experiment...
 
#14
I don't know how old your accomodation is, but it sounds as though there might be problems with the wiring. It's the only reason I can think of for not even allowing kettles. It's a first for me to hear kettles being banned in the block.

However the SQMS has no legal authority to dump soldiers' private kit in a skip. He has gone well beyond his legal authority and is open to criminal charges if guys were to raise this with civpol or RMP. Unless there has been a huge change in Mat Regs, MML etc. or even Regimental Standings Orders I am of the opinion you have an SQMS out of control.

Has there been anything on routine orders (squadron and regimental - must filter down from Part One Orders) relating to private electrical kit? If not the SQMS has no defence for his initial embargo. Has anything been said on first parade? If you've not yet done the route up the CoC it needs doing sooner that later. Coming on here so late in the day isn't going to help your cause - especially if there are those senior to you in your unit also lurking here.
 
#15
No they can't just walk-in unaccompanied; if they do, accuse them of theft. They cannot forbid you from owning a kettle or any other piece of equip, only from using it. Not allowing bikes in the storeroom is very harsh. Sounds like a real chod. But if you want to talk standards it is 'comprises single rooms, one entrance/exit etc', not 'comprises of...!'😜


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#16
I've been out too long, but am wondering what the grown-ups are doing with regards to to the welfare of the soldiers under their command.
 
#17
No they can't just walk-in unaccompanied; if they do, accuse them of theft. They cannot forbid you from owning a kettle or any other piece of equip, only from using it. Not allowing bikes in the storeroom is very harsh. Sounds like a real chod. But if you want to talk standards it is 'comprises single rooms, one entrance/exit etc', not 'comprises of...!'
Hear this a lot but am unconvinced that it is true, you are not a tenant nor less an owner of the accomodation and have AFIAK very few "rights" when it comes to who can/can't enter the place.

I may of course be well out of the loop but I thought that the Q bloke can enter for any safety/security checking he felt was required and at any time he felt like it?
 
#18
I appreciate that much of this may be viewed with scepticism, and the old attitude of 'You signed up, so suck the egg.' I for one do not denounce this. I am perfectly willing to do exactly as I'm told (and recent (should read CURRENT!) circumstances should vouch for the fact that I do get along with minimal grumbling) but when researching upcoming postings I've accidentally come across a large number of posts that have raised my eyebrows, in particular concerning the standards expected of young soldiers.

So, to reiterate the title, where do we stand?

I suppose the issue I contend is the 'double standards' expected of young soldiers. I don't know if that is the correct term for what I'm describing, but it does describe the correct theme. Essentially, the huge responsibility (especially in today's climate) placed on the shoulders on very junior personnel, versus the lack of faith placed in them.

I live in a very basic SLAM unit. It is comfortable, and was built before I arrived here. One of the issues arising from this accommodation is that it has one door in, and that very same door is the one exit out. This is a three storey building. Should any incident arise below the third floor then the occupants have one means of escape. That is via a window, to a concreted carpark. The occupants of this block have placed their faith in the CoC to provide them with safe and suitable accommodation, and this appears to me (admittedly speculatively) to be a fairly, ummm, iffy, safety measure.

Bare with me.

We today had an SQMS walk-around, which I accept. To a point. There was no warning issued beforehand. I would ALWAYS expect a warning before anybody entered my living quarters (uninvited and unescorted) for an inspection. The walk-around was timed perfectly, as the accommodation was designated for a sub-department which was guaranteed to be elsewhere at the time, except I happen to be on relocation leave and was in the shower.
As it turns out, the reason for the timing was that the SQMS was hoping to 'catch out' people for certain offences, described below. The fact that my 40kg English Bull Terrier (whose presence WAS noted on the door) was in residence did not deter him.
Archie did sound the warning for me, but as he's a moron he just tried to lick the SQMS to within an inch of his life. Idiot.
(The dog is not really relevant, just a part of this story).

The block comprises of 3 floors, each with 8 en-suite rooms. Each floor also has 1 x Drying Room and 1 x Utility Room. The Drying Room is a small cupboard with hangars and works perfectly (if not a little slowly!) for intended use. The Utility Room is a very large room with numerous cupboards, working surfaces, shelves and a stainless steel sink.

Inhabitants of the block have recently been told that no cooking apparatus is to be used within these utility rooms. None whatsoever. This encompasses toasters, grills, microwaves, kettles, slow cookers, hot plates etc.
A recent inspection meant that all owners of such equipment had to 'dispose of it.' The inspection today was to find any such equipment 'hidden' in rooms of personnel.

This has raised the question of whether the SQMS has the right to tell inhabitants what they, and are not, allowed to own. The blokes took their cooking equipment back to their rooms for safe storage (on the understanding that they are not to use it) and have now been told that ownership and storage of such equipment is forbidden.

Furthermore, the ground floor houses a 'storage room.' Now, knowing most squaddies to be pikies (let's be honest here!) I would never leave my rig lying around. However, we happen to have a large number of quality triathletes and cyclists in my building. Some of their bikes are worth amounts that make my eyes bleed. Even the 'lesser' models are very expensive. SQMS instructs today that such equipment cannot be held in the storage room, or anywhere else inside the block.
I do not claim to be an expert on bikes. However, I would be very loathe (as backed up by the professionals) to leave a piece of kit worth several thousands of pounds, exposed to the elements and padbrats.

I have many, many points, but wine befuddles my massive brain.

As it happens, a George Forman Grill (as a heating device without element exposure) comes under the same guidelines as an iron. I would be interested to see the response should soldiers start appearing on parade having not ironed their kit, as irons were banned from SLA.
Bloody Luxury, you should have lived in the grots in Netheravon in the 80s, apart from the rat infestations the holes in the asbestos wall sheets were amazing.........but sadly theres is no one alive to complain about living in the trenches in the 1st world war.

However you do have a point!
 
E

EScotia

Guest
#19
Advise them to **** right off or you may have to ask the Health & Safety Executive to have a look at accommodation that doesn't have a fire escape!

Seriously, I'd ask for an interview with your OC and should this not sort matters immediately ask for an interview with the CO. As a last resort you have the right to raise a Service complaint. Also I'd raise a complaint to the RMP over theft of personal items from the block if any of my personal items had been taken from the block & dumped without adequate warning to remove them.
 

CanteenCowboy

LE
Book Reviewer
#20
Hear this a lot but am unconvinced that it is true, you are not a tenant nor less an owner of the accomodation and have AFIAK very few "rights" when it comes to who can/can't enter the place.

I may of course be well out of the loop but I thought that the Q bloke can enter for any safety/security checking he felt was required and at any time he felt like it?
The CQMS/SQMS/Mess Manager, who holds the responsibility for the block can do 'accompanied' inspections of personal rooms but to allay accusations of theft should be accompanied by the block NCO/senior! The rules about 'cooking' equipment are varied and gon on at length and include H&S regs, your SQMS should only be getting 'a hard on' about the fit for use stat of it. And TV licences is a first only if it is a communal room where the licence should be supplied by unit/mess, should he be poking his nose in, and as others have said dumping your kit is tantamount to theft. Going by your post you should be able to keep your fancy bike in your room, it's not the 1980's any more and the SSM shouldn't be able to beast you around the square any more if, when you open your locker a bicycle wheel falls out..........
 

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