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Telegraph: "Royal Navy To Halve Number Of Staff At Headquarters, As Sailors Are Redeployed To Front Line Roles"

"First Sea Lord Admiral Anthony Radakin wants to move 1,000 from their Portsmouth hub onto ships and bases worldwide.

The Royal Navy is to halve the number of staff working behind desks at its headquarters and redeploy them to front line roles, the First Sea Lord has announced.

The radical reshaping of the Navy’s management structure will see around 1,000 people move from their Portsmouth hub onto ships and bases worldwide, said Admiral Anthony Radakin.

It is understood that around five of the 13 Admirals based at their Whale Island site will lose their roles, to be replaced by more junior officers, in a cost saving drive ahead of a review of Defence spending by the government.

“We are going to challenge ourselves and see whether we can decrease our headquarters by around 1,000 people,” Adm Radakin told Defence IQ’s Surface Warships conference.

“That’s as much as 50 per cent, which will give us more people and more money to reinvest at sea.

“We are redesigning our headquarters so that we have a flatter structure and we empower high quality people to take decisions and quite simply to get on with stuff.”

Citing the Danish navy’s Huitfeldt class of frigates, he said: “They have only three different grades of engineer on board. We have nine different grades. So can we get flatter, leaner and more efficient?

“Can we slow down or even stop the constant churn that we have in our personnel structures?

“And can we make the front line, for the sailor or marine, the best place to serve in the Royal Navy with the most stability, the best leave patterns and the best chance of doing adventurous training?

“I believe that we have the appetite for these conversations. If we admit that yes we can be better then we can drive a 20% increase in productivity over the next two to three years.”

In practice, this means taking specialists from shore and putting them back at sea.

“For example we have divers working in service capability management,” said a Navy source close to the plans.

“We would send them back to work on a ship, while their jobs would be done by either reducing the rank that it’s done at or we would potentially civilianise them.”

The Navy says their current personnel deficit against the workforce requirement is 5.2 per cent, or 1,500 people. They have only increased the number of regular forces by 100 since October 2016.

In 2000, Britain had 39,000 sailors. It now has just over 30,000.

In 1990, the government spent about four per cent on defence, while that is now closer to two per cent.

Today, the Navy has 77 commissioned vessels, including six destroyers, 13 frigates and 10 submarines.

30 years ago, it had 138 ships and 33 submarines.

Despite this, last month, the First Sea Lord was told by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace “to get what you’ve got, working.”

The Defence Secretary said he would be “laughed out of the building” by the Treasury if he sought extra money for more ships without fixing the existing problems in the fleet.

Another shot was fired across the bows by Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s chief special advisor, who described the procurement of Britain’s new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth II and HMS Prince of Wales as “a farce” and said “they have built platforms that already cannot be sent to a serious war against a serious enemy."

A government Strategic Defence and Security review is set to commence next month, covering all defence spending.

Adm Radakin also announced plans to test “large drones” on aircraft carriers for the first time next year.

In the future, the Navy wants to be able to launch and land devices that could undertake reconnaissance missions and also deploy missiles."


shirley not the same HQ that binned 300 CS posts which were Promptly filled at twice the capitation rate by regulars and FTRS?
 
Yup! Outrageous behaviour. I even had a D grade ask me why the guys and girls weren't calling him "Sir"? After all, he is the equivalent of a Captain.
Did you tell him to **** off?
 
Yup! Outrageous behaviour. I even had a D grade ask me why the guys and girls weren't calling him "Sir"? After all, he is the equivalent of a Captain.

Haven't witnessed it myself but I've had the good fortune to avoid being in Depts with utter choppers like them. Besides, most of us know that the only useful reason for equivalency being in place is accomodation (while on courses etc) and line management reporting.

I did once try and persuade one of our graduates to tell guys in the RN Ops section that he was their superior. He had an attack of doubt as he walked into the office and chickened out. Rats.
 
D

Deleted 3147

Guest
genuine thought - either we need to triple the size of it or do what 1SL has done and make it much smaller.
Why would smaller be better? Why is flatter better? Why would flatter work in a HQ but we can't/won't replicate that afloat?

If we're challenging ranks/responsibilities and forcing that down, will we recompense people for taking on wider responsibilities, or is this really less people doing the same or more without actually removing superfluous work?

Will we challenge why you have to be an OF4 to drive a DD/FF?
 
Besides, most of us know that the only useful reason for equivalency being in place is accomodation (while on courses etc) and line management reporting.
I dont know why they bother, if the Army need to send the bog cleaner away on a course they don't put them in a 4 man room in a shitty rundown barracks based on his equivalent rank.
Just call a civvie a civvie.
Having said that, I've met a couple of officers (not in my CoC) who think I (now a civvie) should address them by their rank or call them Sir. Yeah good luck with that mate.
 
Given I've Warfare OF2s filling every job from YO to Ops Officer, I'm comfortable being relatively flat. Likewise I've got LHs doing the jobs that CPOs used to do.

Don't have to be an OF4 to drive either - experience and qualifications far more important.

The problem is we have entirely linked pay/pension to rank.
 
genuine thought - either we need to triple the size of it or do what 1SL has done and make it much smaller.

It's an interesting approach. As per SoS instruction, get the ships to sea before asking him to go to HMT for more bunce and given that manpower is probably one of the two biggest drivers in unavailable ships, a good place to start.

BUT - and this is where it gets interesting - will the proposed "predictability" compensate for the reduced number of shore drafts wrt retention? Even more importantly - is a smaller HQ able to do the essential staff work (both operational and budgetary/political) to the required level of quality (by which I mean effectiveness)? Will the reduction in star posts reduce career paths for the talent and lead to earlier exit?

In no doubt it has to be tried - no one is going to fund an uplift to RN manpower because we ask nicely - there has to have been a determined effort to make the existing structure as efficient and fit for purpose as possible. But it will be interesting to see whether this strengthens or weakens the RN political base - by which I mean the ability to fight the political battles in MB. It's now nearly 20 years since we had a dark blue CDS and given the decision-making structures in town, that does matter.
 
I dont know why they bother, if the Army need to send the bog cleaner away on a course they don't put them in a 4 man room in a shitty rundown barracks based on his equivalent rank.
Just call a civvie a civvie.
Having said that, I've met a couple of officers (not in my CoC) who think I (now a civvie) should address them by their rank or call them Sir. Yeah good luck with that mate.

Agreed. Just billet Civil Servants on courses/projects wherever is most appropriate and get on with things.

I've found that it's only courses at Shrivenham and Sultan as well as project work in Guzz that have had me require to stay in a Mess or owt.
 
D

Deleted 3147

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Given I've Warfare OF2s filling every job from YO to Ops Officer, I'm comfortable being relatively flat.

When your team is 20-30 strong with pretty narrow outputs that's fine, when your team is 300-450 with mixed fiscal and programmatic delegations that's a very different proposition, particularly when empowerment makes everyone believe they have a voice and the bounds of empowerment are not well defined.

Likewise I've got LHs doing the jobs that CPOs used to do.
Wherein the the CPO had experience as well as SQEP and right now, especially with technical rates we're pushing the responsibility lower to fill gaps. It's not always a positive. We're accelerating people through rates at breakneck speed, sometimes good, sometimes not. Maturity and experience have their own value.

The problem is we have entirely linked pay/pension to rank.
Our problems are far wider than just that.
 
I look forward to Army HQ's response...
Army will shortly announce the creation of a new 1 star led department to examine the issues arising from the Navies plan. Staff for the department will be drawn from some of those over manned front line units. Its going to come up with some super innovative ideas for stuff, paid for from the excess funding in the basing plan.
 
It's an interesting approach. As per SoS instruction, get the ships to sea before asking him to go to HMT for more bunce and given that manpower is probably one of the two biggest drivers in unavailable ships, a good place to start.

BUT - and this is where it gets interesting - will the proposed "predictability" compensate for the reduced number of shore drafts wrt retention? Even more importantly - is a smaller HQ able to do the essential staff work (both operational and budgetary/political) to the required level of quality (by which I mean effectiveness)? Will the reduction in star posts reduce career paths for the talent and lead to earlier exit?

In no doubt it has to be tried - no one is going to fund an uplift to RN manpower because we ask nicely - there has to have been a determined effort to make the existing structure as efficient and fit for purpose as possible. But it will be interesting to see whether this strengthens or weakens the RN political base - by which I mean the ability to fight the political battles in MB. It's now nearly 20 years since we had a dark blue CDS and given the decision-making structures in town, that does matter.

Given the sheer numbers of Engineers who went offshore for the very predictability we're trying to offer is probably one factor. Interestingly, I've two re-joiners from civvy street who recognise that life in engineering support is pretty full on, and the RN still has a good overall "offer" when you're at sea.

We also have some massively self-inflicted wounds that are akin to taking a shotgun to both feet and repeatedly blasting away.

The rest of the stuff are very good questions, and I'm not sure: I could offer a personal view. But... NCHQ =/= Navy, nor does it necessarily impact on the ability to place Dark Blue in MoD MB or PJHQ. Indeed, by removing uniformed support in NCHQ, there should be more people available to go to such places. As for talent - it's no worse than current career structures.

My overall view is that we've tried incremental change, we've tried "steadying the ship" and it's made the square root of f*ck all difference. Blow it up, lets see what happens. It can't be any worse than being told that manning balance is just "7 years away, we're nearly bottoming out" for at least four years in a row...
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Having said that, I've met a couple of officers (not in my CoC) who think I (now a civvie) should address them by their rank or call them Sir. Yeah good luck with that mate.
I have now relaxed to the point where walking down the Mall in Blazer and Beret towards Horseguards on Remembrance Sunday seeing junior officers I no longer twitch with doubt for not saluting and just nod a greeting. I haven't saluted in 30 years and am getting used to it!
 
Army will shortly announce the creation of a new 1 star led department to examine the issues arising from the Navies plan. Staff for the department will be drawn from some of those over manned front line units. Its going to come up with some super innovative ideas for stuff, paid for from the excess funding in the basing plan.
I trust this will also include another 'innovative' look at the reserves which will be completely free of reservist input and totally unworkable?
 

Daxx

MIA
Book Reviewer
This is going to aid retention for those with families seeking a work life balance. Shore time vs Sea time....
 
I dont know why they bother, if the Army need to send the bog cleaner away on a course they don't put them in a 4 man room in a shitty rundown barracks based on his equivalent rank.
Just call a civvie a civvie.
Having said that, I've met a couple of officers (not in my CoC) who think I (now a civvie) should address them by their rank or call them Sir. Yeah good luck with that mate.

please call them fella
 

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