Writing of a CR


War Hero
A "pal of mine" was called into his Boss's office (SO1) and told that his CR was due and that he wanted him to write a page on what he has done over the last year, achievements, courses etc and also any bad points.

This, to me sounds like a person who has absolutely no interest in this soldiers career and basically has no idea what he has done for the last year.

Personally, I would never ask a person who I was writing on to send this because I do believe in the old cliché of knowing your men better than their mothers.  Thing is, how does this person object to this with possibly pissing of the Col and therefore possibly damaging his CR Grade?

Has anybody else heard of this practice?  Is it a new thing (self analysis)??
Yes, I have heard it happen occasionally, even known some people be told to write their own CR completely.  It is quite common with civilian appraisals.

At least it means the idle git of the SO1 won't miss anything out and it gives "your pal" to give himself semi covert self publicity.

Some senior officers are so appalling at writing reports maybe it is a good thing.  I know of one division of infantry who had a Brigadier write their 1st SRO bit and he was crap consequetly there was a large group of people whose careers were blighted by this muppet, not through malice just good old fashioned incompetance.

Become a civi, if you don't like it you can be out in 6 weeks rather than 1 year!!!! and no 6 months all expenses paid holidays to the much sought after destinations of Kosovo, Bosnia, Sierra Leone or Afghanistan
Who the F**k wants to be a civvy? Instant homosexuality and drug addiction! Pah!
However...cobweb encrusted old fool the SO1 may appear, he is in fact ensuring that 1 - he knows what he's commenting on 2 - You get to put in your own perspective, before he begins ploughing away and writing total rubbish.
Good practice (as occurred in my own beloved, but top secret, county infantry battalion) entails a subject officer being aware of what's expected of him at the start of the year...followed by the mandatory MPAR, so you know how you're doing, followed by your CR. Often before the CR one would be required to write a self appraisal of strengths and weaknesses.
Bear in mind, if you're working in a staff or office environment it will be much harder for the boss to gain a balanced view of your abilities, than in a normal field army combat unit. I would be more worried if your superior presented you with the finished document, which could be well wide of the mark.

It sounds like this chap would not even  begin to understand if you attempted to do things differently.

However disappointing or frustrating this is, I'd accentuate the positive and take this an an opportunity to paint a big halo round yourself.  With a bit of thought, even your bad points can be worded to read like constructive 'development points'.  Get a good thesaurus and he will be so impressed with your prose that he will not hesitate to claim it all as his own and sign it off without change.

PS  Don't become a civvy - I'm not sure about Grown up's reasons but in short, the grass is not greener.  Personally, I love being a civvy because I am allowed to go all gooey over men in DPM.  I don't think that would work for you!


War Hero

The thing that gets me (or rather my mate) is that you just should not have to do it.  So what happened to the ethos of knowing your soldiers better than their mothers?  Is it such an outdated prose that it is not accepatable now and demands self analysis of the person before assesment can be made?

Maybe I should have concentrated more on marching up and down squares, that way he would have been clear on what I had done!  
At one time my CR was due the officer of my troop tried to get some full screws to write them for her!!!! i mean what a load of bo*locks,i mean i know this officer is bloomin useless,i just wish they had done it,i would have got that officer into a world of sh*t believe me!!! :mad:


Why do people worry about CR's, all it is, is a useless piece of yellow paper.  Anyway at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what you have done and acheived over the year, its whether you won the lucky dip and your face fits.

8) 8)


War Hero
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Really f_c, how can you say such things when she still only works just across the hall from you... :-X
Funny things, aren't they?  No, not CRs but the 1st and 2nd (G*d help you if you have a 3rd) Reporting Officers.  The rules are simple, and filling in the forms easier than a works ticket, yet so often they are rushed, ill-informed and poorly written.

Don't forget to start para one with 'Cpl Snooks is my <insert position here> eg best / worst coroporal in the platoon.  This immediately positions him amongst his peers.

Be under no illusions, if you always over or under grade, the sec of the board or the MS rep will adjust the weighting

The trouble is, so few bother themselves to go to Glasgow and observe a board or two - then they wil find out how it's done (it is not hard, does not take weeks - just do a bit each month in your tp ldr's / sqn comd notebook.

Talk to the sappers - they know - and so do a few cav types.  
Was asked by my OC to write my own OJAR last week, which would then be "amended" where he deemed neccessary.  This was while I was in the middle of writing my own platoons MYR's.  To cut a long story short, I may as well have wrote something along the lines of, "this man is f***ing brilliant, he should be doing my job!"  End result was the same write up I would have expected, except the wee man had to write it himself anyway.  Overworked OC with too little time to write half a page on the performance of his platoon comds, or simply a lazy wee bollocks with too little interest?  Not happy with it at all.


A while ago I laughingly suggested to by Sqn Comd that I should write my own part 1.  Imagine my surprise when he said "OK do it".

I thought great here comes an 'O' grade.  But when I actually sat down to write it, it dawned on me how hard a task it was.  It would be too easy to say that the sun shines out of your own arse and another load of gratuitous self-congratulatory back slapping.  But hold on.......what if you write all this and the old fella really does know what you are like and it is just a test....ooops!!

So after a few hours of head scratching I submitted what I thought was a fair and acurate reflection of my performance..leaning to the slightly more critical than I should have been.  As it turns out, he agreed with the majority and actually stated that I had been too critical.

In the end, he used all of the good bits and left out the 'bad'.

Happy or what....!!!!
Soldier's CR's are the only information that the promotion boards have on which to select individuals for promotion, which, uncannily, is quite important to the vast majority of said soldiers.  Why is it then, that there are far too many lazy individuals who do not take the writing of CR&#8217;s at all seriously?  This is part and parcel of leadership and those individuals who cannot be bothered to look after the long-term interests of their men (and women - of course), should be removed from that position.  Before I get a million replies about being busy, overstretched etc. I would ask one question:  What is the most important item in your unit?
I've heard umpteen reasons why CRs are left to the last minute.  None of them hold any water,

Some people really do not understand/care that an individual will only progress in their chosen career (yes, it's a career, not a job), if they are reported upon fairly, accurately and in a timely manner.

How many out there have burnt the midnight oil, turning out CRs which, if they had managed their time properly, would have been completed some time before.  To rush a CR, increases the probability of inaccurate reporting and any 'offender' should stand by for and indeed expect the redress!

Personally I find the ACR system outdated and open to abuse.  In more than one unit where I have been emloyed, who you socialise with does your career more good than what you actually know and/or do for a living.  

As for anyone considering redressing an ACR............expect in some cases to wait for 2 years before it is even seen by the Army Board.  Nevertheless, do not be put off with some of the tosh that you'll be fed, about one CR not making a difference, etc.  They do matter, each and every one of them do.  A poor CR, will cost you at least 2 yrs of promotion prosects if you let it go.  For OR's, if you've had several 'Y's in the recommended for promotion box and you are suddenly faced with a 'P' or less, it will cost you 2 yrs.  That is stated clearly in the book, which your OC should have used when compiling your ACR.

Do not accept any ACR on face value.  If something written in it doesn't make sense to you, ask to have it changed until it's written in a language which YOU understand.  A simple verbal explanation by the reporting officer is not enough! Why didn't they write that in the first place?  Be aware that the Promotions Board doesn't get to hear that explanation! Get it changed! If you are met with refusal, inform the reporting officer that it is your intention to redress the matter and do so.

Remember that not only should an ACR be written in a language which you understand, but that it should also adhere to the principles of the 4x 'P's (Present employment, Personality, Personal development & Potential) only. Nothing else should appear in that document other than information covered under those headings. If it does, ask to have it removed.

Get a copy of your ACR (you are entitled to it) and remember you have three months in which to submit your redress, should you feel it necessary.  If you leave it any longer.....tough, you've missed your chance.  

If you are in doubt about any of the gradings, have a look the format used by the reporting officer when compiling your CR (Unit Chief Clerk will have a copy).  Check your recent CR against your previous if there are any major discrepencies (be honest though, if you've f*cked up and you know it....accept it!)

The Board can only promote on the ACRs presented before it. In the main, those sitting on the board  don't know you personally and if you've let one go, which you had niggling doubts about, more fool you.   Remember it's your career.

As for individuals being asked to write their own Pt 1........seen it numerous times, only on those occasions, those individuals took full advantage of the situation and wrote themselves up.  Scandelous conduct on behalf of both the reporting officer and the subject of the ACR and lends nothing to the credibility or fairness of the system.  Sadly, this phenomena will not leave us, due to the idleness of some officers charged with the responsibility of reporting upon their Officers/Men.


War Hero
To rush a CR, increases the probability of inaccurate reporting and any 'offender' should stand by for and indeed expect the redress!
The CR must be a true reflection of someone's performance and potential. Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself !

Personally I find the ACR system outdated and open to abuse.  In more than one unit where I have been emloyed, who you socialise with does your career more good than what you actually know and/or do for a living.  
That is why it is being replaced by the OJAR. If anyone can think of a better reporting system - then please say. I think that there is general agreement that here has to be some form of reporting system and with the checks and balances that our system has - you would be hard pressed to find a better one - within the bounds of any reporting medium.

Not sure what you mean by the socialise comment ? Any reporting officer worth his salt would quickly see though that one. Furthermore, remember that there is a second RO who should balance the report.

War is different but in a primarily peacetime Army, the present reporting system is about as good as you will get. Unless of course - someone can come up with something better ? If so, then the floor is yours.  ;)
The 2nd RO, will usually concur with the findings of the 1st, with additional input as to recommendations for promotion.  I have never seen a 2nd RO disagree with the comments of the 1st, but then again, both will have completed their relevant sections prior to the' subject' being allowed to see the ACR.  

As for the 'socialise' comment, well that should speak for itself.  RO's being 'worth their salt' are not always the case I'm afraid.   There are many in my org who are, however there are a few who are not.  Nothing we can do about it and yes, it does hack me off and I'm not alone.  

Under the current system, you are only as good as you were on the day before your ACR was written (well, maybe that's only true in my org).  



War Hero
I agree that differences should be rare between 1RO and 2RO as they should have their act together about what they are going to say well before you see the report. You are right that differences are rare. However there should be nothing in the report that is a surprise to the recipient as the mid term appraisal should have aired any adverse points.

If you feel that your RO's comments are unfair, then you either say nothing and suffer, or say something formally or informally. There is a space on the OJAR to write your comments or you can discuss the points direct with him there and then. And of course - there is the redress.

An open reporting system is considerably better than the closed system that thankfully is now behind us.


War Hero
Can someone answer me a question? Under "open reporting", if a fellow SNCO writes a penpicture on me, am i entitled to see the penpicture?
What I think you will find is that the SNCO is writing notes for whoever is writing your report ie. the 1st Reporting Officer (RO). The 1st RO can take no notice of the notes or some notice, it is up to him.

The important point is what is in your report. You are free to question the 1st RO about points in your report, and he has to justify what has been said - not your WO. The RO is writing the report on you based on his knowledge not anyone elses. He may have asked for notes just to confirm or otherwise his views on you.

Influence can work both ways. The 1st RO may disagree with what the WO advises, in which case, if this is a repeated occurence, the RO could say something in his report, that he does not know his subordinates.  :D

My advice would be to concentrate on what the 1st and 2nd RO say in the report, and do not worry about notes.



as someone who has been a victim of dodgy CR writing in the past, can I demand to see the notes that RO1 recives from WO's etc? I'm fairly sure that the answer will be no as it is up to the RO as to what exactly he/she writes.

In my opinion, notes are source material for the RO and if he/she is new in post or easily pressured by their WO's/SNCO's then this will be an influential factor in what part 1 actually says.


War Hero

I am afraid that notes are confidential between the writer and the recipient, and as I far as I am aware there is no legal requirement to show them to anyone.

If he/she is new in post or easily pressured by their WO's/SNCO's then this will be an influential factor in what part 1 actually says.
1st ROs should have at least 6 months knowledge on whoever they report. If not, then the report should be deferred.

With regards to the easily pressured part ... a human failing which in an ideal world should not happen. Again, better to say at the time of receiving your report rather than to let things go unsaid.

New Posts

Latest Threads