MoD Personnel Quarterly Report – The Army Reserve Edition

In the news today will be lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth about the fall in Army reservists

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://news.sky.com/story/1168669/army-reserve-numbers-drop-in-blow-to-mod”]

The data itself though will be mostly ignored

Read it yourself at the link below

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://www.dasa.mod.uk/index.php/publications/personnel/military/quarterly-personnel-report/2013-10-01″]
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Brian Black
Brian Black
November 15, 2013 6:26 pm

Early days, but still not reassuring.

I reckon the wishful belief that the UK can have a 100k army without having to pay for a 100k army has clouded the minds of the government. It could be a couple of years of poor recruiting and retention before the rose-tinted glasses come off.

The big question is, if the reserves don’t hit their targets, will the posts be returned to the regular army or will they be cut?

Identified security priorities include cyber, terrorism and extremism, rogue states with the bomb (for which Trident is reasonably secure); the need for a big conventional army just doesn’t sit that high in the pile as far as the government is concerned. If they’re not identifying conventional threats today, then the 2020 structure doesn’t look so secure if they have too much difficulty expanding the reserves.

Topman
Topman
November 15, 2013 6:45 pm

This big increase in reserves is certainly going to tax the armies head sheds. I wonder how much of it is really something they want to see and how much is from the gov.
I can’t say I’ve followed the pongos moves on this one, however jungle drums say the powers that be are none to enthusiastic about this idea of big numbers of reservists and would love the whole thing to just go away. I wonder how much (if true) it has had on the below expected recruitment numbers?

Phil
November 16, 2013 11:20 am

I was chatting to some senior types the other day and they said the numbers were being scrutinised weekly and people were jumping up and down over them constantly.

Everyone I spoke to agreed, and I agree that the biggest problem is not getting people through the door, it is getting them through the initial selection, kit issue and phase 1 training pipeline before they think “sod this”.

It would be interesting to see what the average length of engagement is from a reservist who has been in for 12 months. And how many walk away during the first 12 months.

Topman
Topman
November 16, 2013 12:06 pm

@ Phil
Are any of those senior types sorting out the Phase 1, kitting etc bottleneck in the system? Has it been identified as an issue?

Brian Black
Brian Black
November 16, 2013 1:19 pm

It’s also worth remembering that the 35,000 ‘trained’ strength of the reserves refers to everyone phase 1 and above.

So it’s not just the headline number that they have to reach, they need to reach targets right from the start in order to achieve the right balance of skills and experience by 2020.

30,000 reserve troops that have not gone any further than phase 1 training won’t go far in trying to replace the established 20,000 strong regular force that was laid off.

wf
wf
November 16, 2013 2:03 pm

Seeing as the US manages just fine to run a rather large reserve system that doesn’t rely on personnel that can effectively drop out whenever they feel like it, perhaps we should do the same? I know we need to have meaningful training etc etc to get them in the door, but it’s time to treat the reserves as grownups. The more you ask, the greater the respect they get from the regulars and the better the people who will want to join….

Phil
November 16, 2013 2:38 pm

Seeing as the US manages just fine to run a rather large reserve system that doesn’t rely on personnel that can effectively drop out whenever they feel like it, perhaps we should do the same?

Senior chappie I was talking to says they have or will be dropping the “Volunteer” title in units. So perhaps this is on the cards?

The trouble is you have the balance the fact some blokes don’t always turn up with how it will go down with employers if they MUST attend events. We cannot divorce the US system from its context and we frankly have a different culture when it comes to the military here. This is the country of Tommy this and Tommy that. I was told the story of a rather specialised employee who was in the reserves, he was asked to leave the reserves since the considered that replacing him would have been nigh on impossible on short term repeated basis and it was likely to cost them a lot of money. So they decided when he refused, to simply sack him and bear the cost of the compensation from a lost employment tribunal and employ someone they considered more reliable. Push too far and you’ll get firms starting to crunch similar numbers and draw the same sort of conclusions.

I think a better approach is the starred or scale a event model where some small number of events are mandated.

x
x
November 16, 2013 2:38 pm

In the 1930s the RAF was suffering a fall in recruits, they raised the entry requirements, and recruit numbers rose.

HurstLlama
HurstLlama
November 16, 2013 5:12 pm


My thought has always been that nobody, military, MoD civil servant or politician, ever thought that the 30,000 reserves plan would work. It was only ever a fig-leaf to cover the reduction of the army to approx 80k.

Mind you, the decision to outsource recruiting was inspired. If you want something cocked-up outsource it.

wf
wf
November 16, 2013 9:10 pm

@HurstLama: they tried outsourcing recruitment before, it failed then too. I really cannot understand their thinking, but whatever they use for the regulars should be used to the Reserves too…

: there will always be corner cases. But 40k reservists are a very small proportion of the UK total working population, even if you assume you are selecting from men, 20-40 only. We can’t all have our cake and eat it, and if service is mandated, that makes the painful discussions easier. Companies deal with far more women in the same age bracket who arrive and then get pregnant for example. My parents as former small business owners always said it wasn’t so much the pregnancy that was the problem as was the variable cover that needed to be organized: they could choose on the fly to be off for 6 months or twelve, so you couldn’t do the obvious fixed contract for the cover. Provided the reservist returns in one piece, you have a fixed return date and can plan.

HurstLlama
HurstLlama
November 16, 2013 10:08 pm

Mr. wf makes a good point when he compares maternity leave with reserve commitments. Companies cope with the former so there should be reason why they cannot cope with the latter. All it needs is for HMG to legislate to give reservists the same level of protection as ladies get. They won’t, of course.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
November 16, 2013 10:16 pm

The difference is that maternity leave is planned well in advance (you normally have at a bare minimum 4 months to plan) and the period of leave will be relatively short. Compare to having an employee come in one day and tell you he/she is off in a month and won’t be back for a year.

HurstLlama
HurstLlama
November 16, 2013 10:31 pm

True, Mr. B., but whilst you might have more time to plan for the departure you have very little ability to plan for the return. With a reservist going off for a six month tour you at least have a good idea when he/she is going to be back, unlike someone going off on maternity. In my last “proper” job I had a reservist called up for service in Iraq and two ladies who went off on maternity leave, the former was much easier to deal with.

If HMG are serious about their reserves plan then they need to provide a bit of stick so as to protect people who sign up. I don’t think they are serious so I don’t expect them to do so.

wf
wf
November 16, 2013 10:43 pm

.B: from the point of view of an employer, maternity is actually often worse. Once someone declares they are pregnant, you may get someone who spends a lot of time off sick..and who is untouchable. Once a reservist declares they have been called up, the warning time is less but you are likely to get more work out of them because they will want to return. I know quite a few women who, after baby no2, decided it didn’t really make much sense to go back to work, but are officially still on maternity leave.

@HurstLama: the point has been made before by all of us, that asking for reserve status in a job interview should be illegal, just as it is asking if someone is pregnant or planning to be. We’re not asking for half the country to be given consideration as per females, just a very small proportion of the population.

Phil
November 16, 2013 11:12 pm

Companies deal with far more women in the same age bracket who arrive and then get pregnant for example.

Yes they do and for small businesses that is still a massive ball-ache and as Chris points out you do tend to get more warning and its all a bit more structured. And everybody screams blue murder if a woman gets shafted over her maternity leave. There is nowhere near the same level of hysteria when a reservist gets the boot. That’s just how it is – maternity leave is something that is embedded deep within our mainstream, normative societal values in a way that military service isn’t.

Yes 40K is a small number but actually it is a lot more than that as people come and people go. And horror stories about reservists will travel as they do now.

It’s about striking a balance and I see nothing to be gained from demanding all soldiers have a fixed commitment. I have argued in the past for key positions and units to have this but not for everyone. I daresay you gain very little by having your Toms turn up for every mandated weekend compared to how many employers you piss off and frankly as well the colleagues who have to cover them.

Phil
November 16, 2013 11:17 pm

the point has been made before by all of us, that asking for reserve status in a job interview should be illegal, just as it is asking if someone is pregnant or planning to be. We’re not asking for half the country to be given consideration as per females, just a very small proportion of the population.

That’s a very narrow view though. In order to do something like that you have to tread on the toes of business. Having a child is as natural as breathing and dying – joining the reserves simply isn’t. We need to get real and realise that nobody is going to piss off business for the sake of the perfect model Army Reserve. Compromise will always be the order of the day. Maternity sits in a place that reserve service never will.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 17, 2013 12:57 am

– Nail on head with fourteen-pound sledge – in “Smallville USA” Companies who did not bend over backwards to accommodate Reservists, and then welcome them home with Yellow Ribbons, a Reception and their job back would swiftly find themselves the subject of a Boycott organised by the Daughters of the Revolution and enforced by the Hells Angel’s “Semper Fi” Chapter…they would, in short, become economic and social pariahs…

The US enthusiasm for and support of the Reserve Tradition is deeply entrenched – from the time of the Minutemen and even before…ours is not, and for the brief period it was (from the Rifle Volunteer Movement of the 1860’s to the outbreak of WW2) it was firmly tied into a strong pro-Empire feeling that animated most classes of society.

The loss of Empire, the impact of National Service and the TAVR Structure of the Cold War pretty much finished it off…

Sad but true…

GNB

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
November 17, 2013 2:35 am

@ HurstLlama & wf,

I’m not sure how your companies operate, but you do realise that a) there is a fixed total term for maternity leave and a fixed minimum after they’ve had the baby, so the figures aren’t that up in the air and b) any changes to the length of the leave have to be given to you 8 weeks in advance, so you’re rarely caught on the hop.

I’ve never seen any real issue with maternity leave. The timescales are such that there should be very little trouble planning around it.

Observer
Observer
November 17, 2013 8:10 am

Well, to be fair to employers, they do need to know if you are in the reserves so that they can plan around any holes your absence may cause, so it is a “need to know” item. I would think a tax rebate of X amount per reserve personnel hired might make reservists more attractive to a company, especially a company with a large tax bill. They would be hiring large amounts of reservists to cut down their annual tax, making reservists a “preferred employee” instead of a liability.

dave haine
dave haine
November 17, 2013 9:21 am

Illuminating example for you all- from my local postie. The Postal and Courier Service has a high TA element, and perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot of posties serve. (Apparently, in one unit, just by changing uniforms).

Anyway, recently, a number of postie reservists were tapped for service, unfortunately all from one delivery unit, including the manager, his deputy, the admin bloke and about fifteen posties…out of an establishment of 60. The Royal Mail had to cover this by overtime payments, loaning posties, and managers(obviously paying overtime and travelling) from other units (which consequently had to pay overtime to cover duties lapsed by loaning posties). In all apparently, it was costing Royal Mail £5 grand a day, in direct costs alone. £15,000 a week…., £60,000 a month.

I wonder how long companies could or would withstand that on a regular basis. Bear in mind that was just one unit, it disregards all the other one’s and two’s that have been tapped for service, throughout Royal Mail.

My postie reckoned it was worth about £100 (roughly a day’s O/T) a week in overtime to him.

wf
wf
November 17, 2013 9:27 am

.B “you’ve never seen any real issue with maternity leave”? Really? Not once? Just about every SME might disagree with you :-)

Observer
Observer
November 17, 2013 9:44 am

dave haine, very very good point, that was obviously a case of seriously bad luck or bad co-ordination. Or that your army recruits by region, so if a specific unit got called up, the drawdown in manpower would all come from a single location. Possible call to diversify recruitment across multiple regions?

Pity there was so much privatisation that took place, otherwise, places in telecommunications, rail and bus services and utilities could be earmarked for army reservists, from one government service to another. That should help keep a good amount of reservists employed and in an environment that is used to people being called up once in a while.

Phil
November 17, 2013 9:55 am

Just to mess with your heads, on my first tour my employer solved the problem of what status I would have when mobilised by officially placing me on maternity leave – with all the benefits thereof such as accruing leave etc!

The Other Chris
November 17, 2013 10:03 am

Completely agree with Chris.B.

Please consider his comments as a reality check (from a well meaning “critical friend”). You will secure your company’s future far more effectively in the long term (staff retention, motivation, benefits in knowledge management, reduction in hiring costs, etc) if you embrace maternity/paternity leave (and by extension serious illness, reservists, etc), especially the reasons for it, and plan accordingly.

Chris
Chris
November 17, 2013 10:27 am

Obs – ref geography – our little island is bigger than yours… To get people together to train the TA units (I imagine no difference with army reserves) naturally formed their own geographic pool of volunteers. It would be unreasonable to expect an Army Reserve applicant to be assigned to a unit 150 miles distant, to which he/she would be expected to travel after work on a very regular basis. That being said, I did know a long term TA man, risen to the rank of Col I believe, whose home was on the south coast, work was over 100 miles away to the north of London (company relocation) for which he rented a flat to use through the week, and whose TA Unit was on the southern fringes of London. That was significantly unusual I am sure.

But I also suspect DH’s posties are an unusual case, in that so many TA/Reserves work in the same business in the same site and belong to the same Unit – reminiscent of the Pals’ Battalions – where the norm would be that the TA Unit would have small numbers from each business but all from the same town/area.

I read the Gov’t plan for Army Reserves – if I remember right a payment of £500 a month it said for the period a Reservist is on military duties. I am not a current employer, but I’d guess the average employee is expected to be worth more than £500 per month to the company – if you assume 150 hours work per month, even the national minimum wage comes to £950 – on top of that is NI costs, admin costs, overheads – surely the ordinary modestly paid individual directly costs over £2000 per month to the company, so their earning contribution needs to exceed this by a reasonable margin. While away on Reserve service, the Gov’t might pay the wages, but I don’t know what happens to NI or the normal admin tasks related to the absent worker. In any case if the company has no significant spare capacity then temporary cover in the form of part-time, agency or contract staff would have to be hired in, costing as much or more than the Reservist. All in all the £500 seems inadequate to the point of insult.

x
x
November 17, 2013 11:38 am

Should the MoD pay maternity benefits to a female AR soldier who finds herself pregnant in the deployment window?

Phil
November 17, 2013 12:40 pm

I’m sure that’s already come up in case law.

Observer
Observer
November 17, 2013 1:11 pm

x, easiest solution would be to annul her call up for that year. And depending on what you want her to do, asking a pregnant woman to deploy may not be the safe nor the safest PR solution. All you need is a miscarriage to end up with egg on face.

Phil
November 17, 2013 1:16 pm

There’s zero chance they’d knowingly deploy a pregnant woman. Fact is there’s always been more reservist volunteers than spaces made available to deploy, even once you’ve cut out the biffs and the mongs.

IXION
November 17, 2013 1:41 pm

Speaking as very small employer i would not employ a reservist / TA member.

There is a reason small employers were excluded from maternity leave legislation. Small business men/ women do not employ one more person than they have to. The idea that a key worker would announce that ‘they were off for 6 months’ with inadequate compensation makes the unemployable

The govt must pay the company for the cost of obtaining a temporary replacement, the cost of not ‘ a contribution to’ the full cost of arranging a fully qualified temp with an agency.

Sorry but there it is

Phil
November 17, 2013 1:55 pm

But again there must be balances. A bloke who is a well paid solicitor or banker who decides to go and play silly buggers as a reserve private is virtually useless to the military if the MoD has to bear the full cost of replacing him (he’s virtually useless anyway because of the need to pay his normal wage). It doesn’t help when reservists are not honest with their employers too.

Some people just are not suitable for the modern reservist role. The fact is you have to be upfront about what you want to do be able to do and listen to your employer. If it is a big company and your role isn’t particularly specialised then you’re in a good position. If you’re in an SME and you’re a “hard to replace on a short term basis” professional and your reservist role is bog standard “bloke” (as opposed to reservist IT technician, or solicitor or structural engineer or something) then you can’t expect to be able to do both. Your employer will chin you off and the Army won’t pay for you.

There really should be some “you might not be suitable for the reserves if…” literature to go along with the “JOIN UP NOW YOU BASTARDS” literature.

dave haine
dave haine
November 17, 2013 2:19 pm

@ observer

It’s more a function of a specialist role recruiting reservists from a specialist. The Royal Mail is a national employer with 150,000 employees, somewhat bigger than the regular army, and about 10% are reservists of various hue.

The point that struck me was the cost of covering the jobs, and that was just the direct cost. Whilst it was an exceptional situation that so many were ‘tapped’ from one delivery unit (apparently, Royal Mail have ‘units’, divisions and groups…throwback to governmently-organised). You only have to look at that cost across the whole organisation.

I’m assuming, from what my postie says that they do have a certain amount of spare personnel to cope with sickness, but then say take out even 1% of your workforce, in RM case that would be 1,500. That would be £15 grand a day.

£500 a month from the government whilst on military service, really doesn’t work. What if they’re injured on military service and have an extended period before they can be considered fit for work? What if they’re disabled by military service? Who becomes responsible for the cost of implementing the provisions within the Disability Discrimination Act?

Phil
November 17, 2013 2:33 pm

£500 a month from the government whilst on military service, really doesn’t work.

The MoD takes over the wages and benefits of the employee so the £500 a month is no small sum to help replace a Postie considering they no longer are paying the bloke a penny and the RM regularly employs agency staff or seasonal short notice staff.

Not buying the RM sob story sorry. They’re a big organisation whose employees are easily replaced at short notice (low skill, easily trained, organisation set up for process management etc) and they are routinely augmented at short notice and at regular times of the year anyway. Same goes the NHS, doctors although skilled are relatively easy to replace at short notice via the locum system and nurses via the bank and agency system.

You run into problems with people like firefighters and Police and the professional classes.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
November 17, 2013 2:36 pm

@ Observer,
If they exempted reservists from employers national insurance contributions that might make them a bit more attractive. That’s worth a few bob per year and it’s not gonna break the treasury to offer the sort of discount.

@ wf,
If you gave me a magic wand to make maternity leave go away, I’d consider wielding it. They could perhaps cap the limit down a little, but honestly, most people taking maternity leave never use the full allowance. I forget what the exact number is, but it’s something stupid like only 8% of women use the full allowance available. Given the time scales you have available to plan, it shouldn’t be too big of a deal.

One of the other reasons this has become less of an issue lately is the changes to paternity leave. Men are increasingly shouldering some of the childcare burdens, which means women are coming back to work quicker. It also means that men have that element of liability in them that has to be weighed against a female candidate.

@ Dave Haine,
Did the Post Office not lodge a protest? Surely if ever there was a case to have a mobilisation decision reviewed, that was it? I’d be interested to know how many companies that don’t employ reserves are aware of the reserve legislation and some of the defences they have against being left high and dry?

dave haine
dave haine
November 17, 2013 3:35 pm

@ phil

Sorry, I don’t know much about the RM directly as it is now, I was using it as an example of the cost of replacing reservists, temporarily. As you can see, even for semi-skilled jobs there is still a cost- and the £500 doesn’t replace the loss of productivity. As an aside RM only takes on seasonal and agency staff in mail centres, which is largely a mechanised production line requiring little acquired skill, not delivery units, which need staff that have acquired a high level of local knowledge. Takes three weeks to train a person on one delivery route at a time and about three months to be proficient enough to meet the required sorting/prep rates. Added to that the security rules applying to delivery units, but not funnily enough mail centres. They don’t employ temporary staff in delivery units.

And I was under the impression that the MOD would only guarantee NI and pension contributions to the level of the employees reservist role, not what the employer actually pays. they certainly haven’t contributed to the RM staff pension…or paid RM to do it for them, yet.

@ Chris. B
The Post Office and Royal Mail are different entities. I don’t think so, but I don’t know- it may be that they felt the aggro that would come out of a protest was not worth it, or they feel that it is part of their social contract- they certainly are very good at supporting other volunteering.

Topman
Topman
November 17, 2013 3:48 pm

@DH

Might be regional but they do take on temp staff to do the deliveries.

Phil
November 17, 2013 3:49 pm

And I was under the impression that the MOD would only guarantee NI and pension contributions to the level of the employees reservist role, not what the employer actually pays. they certainly haven’t contributed to the RM staff pension…or paid RM to do it for them, yet.

Negative. You get a choice of pension options. They will pay your employee and employer contributions that are normally paid in your civilian role. Obviously if you don’t have a pension or opt into the AFPS then you get whatever you’d have in regular service.

The MoD do stump up a lot of money to replace the mobilised reservist. And all figures have to bear in mind that the organisation is no longer paying a penny toward that employee, no pension or anything. I can’t remember all the figures but they’ll pay re-advertising and agency fees and pay toward the difference between the employees normal pay and the pay needed to replace them.

This works a lot of the time but it can never take into account those employers who are small and have a star player and don’t feel like they’d be able to replace them in reality, whatever the real costs are of just putting a warm body in that persons chair. The same goes for some professional people.

This is why both parties should be open and honest and why reservist units would do well visiting the employers of recruits who are of a certain demographic.

Monty
November 17, 2013 4:44 pm

When I first heard that Army manpower was to be reduced to only 80,000, I was appalled.

Then the penny dropped.

Bringing BAOR home was all very well, but we didn’t have anywhere to put all these units. Given that we were / are stone broke, it made sense to reduce the Army in size, until such time as we could (a) afford to have 100,000 regular soldiers and (b) build new bases to house them. But, if 80,000 represented a sustainable peacetime army size, perhaps it might mean that we would give our troops a higher standard of training and better equipment?

An army of 80,000 is enough manpower to field 3 full divisions, or 9 brigades (each with 2 x cavalry regiments, 3 x infantry battalions and an artillery regiment, plus signals, engineer, and other supporting units). That’s 27 infantry battalions, plus a few left over for miscellaneous tasks.

It was always utter foolishness to think that the Reserve Army would be a true substitute for the Regular Army units we had lost. I don’t think anyone, anywhere within the corridors of power ever seriously thought that 30,000 part-time soldiers was anything more than a sop to discourage retired old majors living in Cheam from writing indignant letters to The Daily Telegraph.

Nevertheless, the reality of having a reduced Army in the longterm is that we need to be realistic about the level of defence commitments 80,000 personnel can effectively perform. This has nothing to do with having bases in Cyprus, Kenya, Belize, Gibraltar, the Falklands and Brunei – it’s about providing a constant stream of manpower available to prosecute a major overseas combat deployment like Iraq or Afghanistan over a long period of time.

Let’s be clear: a six month deployment takes a huge toll on any regiment. Afterwards, inevitably more soldiers leave than might have ordinarily left and it takes time to rebuild units. If a battalion is redeployed too soon after having returned from an operational tour, this can increase manpower attrition. Fulfilling a commitment to a long term deployment with a smaller army is bound to result in reduced timescales between unit deployments. This could make it difficult to recruit replacements for troops. So, I think the future size of our Army should be dictated by a very clear understanding of what is sensible rotation between peacetime and operational roles.

We still need a Reserve Army. Ultimately, this should be what it has always been: a virtual structure with minimal manpower configured around training needs with an ability to expand rapidly in a time of need.

Phil
November 17, 2013 5:05 pm

Army numbers are a product of its mission though.

For a long time our manpower was skewed by two things: Northern Ireland and BAOR. Both those roles have now been removed. BAOR was 52,000 plus a few more thousand in Berlin. We had the equivalent to a division in the UK (19 Bde, 24 Bde, 1 Bde and 5 Bde) during the late Cold War. Remove the BAOR commitment of a Corps and Support Command and you remove the need for 52,000 men. 80,000 plus 55,000 is 135,000. Which was the trained strength of the Army in 1990. Add the fact that we no longer have to police NI and our standing overseas committments have dropped (Belize, Hong Kong, Gib) and we probably have more deployable manpower available for contingency than we have had since 1949.

dave haine
dave haine
November 17, 2013 5:15 pm

@Topman

It’s possible, the regions do seem to be run like little fiefdoms…. But certainly not in the southwest and central- the only two areas I’ve had anything to do with.

@ Phil

That may be your understanding, and it was mine until, the RM pension trustee’s issued a notice to advise that reservists who were mobilised would have to make their own arrangements for paying the employers part of their pension contributions, as the neither RM nor the MOD were contributing to either of the pension funds…That was 6 months ago.

But it is conceivable that were are dealing with a clusterf**k here, As both RM and MOD are extremely capable, ….of creating one.

But my point is still valid- there is a cost to companies if reservists are mobilised, and whilst a large organisation may be able to swallow it, as you say a smaller organisation can’t.

Phil
November 17, 2013 5:17 pm

I feel a post coming on about post 1990 Army structure and how actually, sometimes more by luck than judgement it has been gotten right – by the Army, not always by higher policy.

Phil
November 17, 2013 5:22 pm

That may be your understanding, and it was mine until, the RM pension trustee’s issued a notice to advise that reservists who were mobilised would have to make their own arrangements for paying the employers part of their pension contributions, as the neither RM nor the MOD were contributing to either of the pension funds…That was 6 months ago.

When I was mobilised we were given a number of options. No pension, keep current pension or go AFPS. I kept mine which was an LGPS at the time. They payed the employees and employers contributions. Now there was some fuss getting the employers contributions sorted out but that was how things stood in 2011.

SaBRE seems to confirm this is still the case:

What happens to a Reservist’s pension when mobilised?

If your Reservist chooses to continue with their company pension scheme (a Reservist has a few other options available to them at the point of mobilisation, such as paying into a military scheme) then the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will pay your employer contributions and will deduct the Reservist’s contribution from their military wage.

Perhaps the RM pension scheme are playing silly twats.

These are the additional payments the MoD will pay – as you can see its actually considerably more than £500 a month so perhaps that is the figure the RM came to themselves and it was perfectly adequate or they were incompetent or negligent in calculating their additional costs.

You can claim for financial assistance from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) while your Reservist employees are away. This includes claims for:

Advertising or agency fees for recruiting a replacement. These are uncapped.
The extra cost over and above their salary for paying a temporary replacement while they are mobilised. This can be up to £110 per day or around £40,000 per annum.
Retraining for the Reservists on their return, if appropriate.
During mobilisation, you will not have to pay the Reservist’s normal salary or any company benefits that they would usually receive, such as a company car or contributions to a pension scheme.

John Hartley
John Hartley
November 17, 2013 5:26 pm

As a know nothing raving civilian, I doubt there was nowhere to put returning Rhine Army units. What about all those mothballed USAF/RAF/RN bases? I still think it risky to drop the Army below 100,000, but a face saving compromise for the pols, would boost the regulars from 82,000 to 89,000 & cut the planned reserves by the same amount.

Chris
Chris
November 17, 2013 5:39 pm

Phil – section 4.9 page 44 of http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm86/8655/8655.pdf states £500 per month employer compensation. I only sprinted through the document; other sums may also be offered but that was the one that stuck in mind.

dave haine
dave haine
November 17, 2013 5:58 pm

@ Phil

“Perhaps the RM pension scheme are playing silly twats.”

“….RM came to themselves and it was perfectly adequate or they were incompetent or negligent in calculating their additional costs.”

I refer the honourable gentleman to paragraph three of the previous answer I gave in my post 17/5:15

However, I shall pass your comments on to to the trustees, i suspect the fault is more with RM but as the one of pension managers is a leading financial company, it is entirely possible that they have arsed it up too.

Is there a publication I can quote at them?

BtW ref yr 17/5:17 the post ought to be titled “Dunno how- but we’ve got away with it again”

Phil
November 17, 2013 6:46 pm

That is an “additional” £500 rate for SME’s.

The word additional and the fact they don’t mention they are re-structuring existing rules tells me this is a level of provision to add on to what I have posted above.

It is interesting to see the cap on the reservist award which ties in with what I was saying above about bankers playing around as infantry privates and expecting their normal wage when they go off to the sand-pit.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 17, 2013 7:50 pm

“Bankers playing around as infantry privates” – presumably once deployed they have at least as good a chance of being killed or injured as anyone else? In those circumstances, is “playing around” really quite fair to bankers. or indeed anyone else?

Just asking…

GNB

wf
wf
November 17, 2013 8:27 pm

: I suspect a few bankers being shot at will do them (provided they are not hit!) a great deal of good. The same would go for the country as a whole :-)

@GNB: since WW2, the unifying effect of widespread military service has largely gone. I don’t care who steps ups, so long as they do

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 17, 2013 8:47 pm

– with you on that one….

Phil
November 17, 2013 8:58 pm

In those circumstances, is “playing around” really quite fair to bankers. or indeed anyone else?

Just asking…

To be honest, for people who haven’t done anything like it before, then yes it is playing around at the start of the tour. Most people want to go to somewhere like that for the excitement and the adventure and the action and to get shot at.

Anyway I just bankers because I was trying to think of someone who might be paid a lot.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 17, 2013 10:59 pm

– Do I take it that the same applies to Regulars?

Again, just asking…

GNB

Dunservin
Dunservin
November 17, 2013 11:29 pm

Hartley

“As a know nothing raving civilian, I doubt there was nowhere to put returning Rhine Army units. What about all those mothballed USAF/RAF/RN bases?…”

– It is rather more complicated than you might think, particularly when taking into account the need to accommodate a soldier’s dependents in close proximity to his/her base, the Annington factor (see http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/guy-hands-terra-firma-takes-over-armed-forces-homes-for-32bn-8329596.html), the rundown, disposal or decrepitude of much Service Families’ Accommodation (married quarters) owing to inadequate funding and the decision to relocate and concentrate the basing of many units as part of Army 2020.

– Read chapter and verse in the section titled ‘Army Basing Plan’ from 1.47pm in Hansard of 5 March 2013: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm130305/debtext/130305-0002.htm).

a
a
November 18, 2013 10:26 am

“The difference is that maternity leave is planned well in advance (you normally have at a bare minimum 4 months to plan) and the period of leave will be relatively short. Compare to having an employee come in one day and tell you he/she is off in a month and won’t be back for a year.”

The MOD has been amazingly bad at this. I know reservists who were given the bare minimum notice – 28 days – of mobilisation for a late Herrick tour. Really? The MOD couldn’t plan a bit further ahead? We’ve been sending troops to Afghanistan since 2002! Surely this didn’t come as a total surprise? Even some cases where they put their names forward months in advance, and heard nothing at all until they were told “right, you’re off in three weeks”. They were joining units that had been working up for months. Some of this is bad admin at unit level, and some of it is up to the MOD still treating the reserves as an afterthought.

And their treatment when they get home has been pitiful. No wonder their PTSD rates are so much higher than the regulars’; the regulars stay with their mates when they get home and have the whole Army support structure in place, the reservists get chinned off almost as soon as they land at Brize. The plan to start sending formed reserve units instead of individual augmentees will do a huge amount to improve this.

bankers playing around as infantry privates and expecting their normal wage when they go off to the sand-pit.

Worth considering that the cost of paying a soldier’s wage is a small part of the overall cost of sending him on tour, feeding him, transporting him, equipping him, supporting him and supplying him. If I remember correctly, a soldier in Afghanistan costs about £1.2 million a year. His salary’s maybe 2% of that. If you sent an investment banker, matching his civi salary, maybe he’d cost £1.35 million a year instead – really it’s a miniscule difference.

Phil
November 18, 2013 5:44 pm

– Do I take it that the same applies to Regulars?

Again, just asking…

I don’t know what you’re getting at.

Phil
November 18, 2013 5:49 pm

@a

I think that is overwhelmingly down to poor unit admin or blokes putting themselves down on a reserve list (a reserve reserve list!) and then replacing a mong or someone who was biffed or had to pull out of the tour. Both tours I did we got 12 months notice pretty much but people do come and go throughout PDT. It is my experience and you can read it on ARRSE to that reservist slots are constantly over-subscribed and blokes will put themselves down as 4th or 5th reserve and accept they’ll get no notice.

Where the MoD does dick people around though is where they mobilise people and then discharge them for medical grounds the next day at Chilwell. Saw it happen a few times and almost happened to me. All that build up and they just send you home the next day.

As for the bankers salary – it makes a big enough difference for the MoD to now clamp down on it. And then it’s frankly dodgy ground if the blokes find out you’re out there on 150-200K a year as a private stagging on.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 18, 2013 10:27 pm

– trying to understand the dynamic between Regulars and Reservists…if the difficulties for Reservists in civilian life are compounded by them being treated as a waste of space by the Regular Army, the chances of recruiting the numbers required and then being able to integrate them with the Regulars on Deployment in the numbers likely to be required seem to me to drop markedly…

GNB

a
a
November 19, 2013 2:01 pm

As for the bankers salary – it makes a big enough difference for the MoD to now clamp down on it.

More than they were before? I mean, there’s always been a cap; it was never the case that they’d match your salary without question. But the point is that they aren’t asking “is this job valuable enough to get a £20k regular to do it, but not so valuable that we’re prepared to get a £150k reservist”; that isn’t the proper comparison. They’re asking, or they should be asking, whether it’s valuable enough to get a £1.2 million regular to do it, but not valuable enough to get a £1.35 million reservist.
If they’re clamping down further than they were before, it’s pathetic – how much is that actually going to save? How many investment bankers are there in Herrick – maybe two or three? Exactly the sort of high-profile but utterly ineffectual cost control one would expect from the coalition, though (see: £26k benefit cap).

a
a
November 19, 2013 2:05 pm

And don’t forget the full-cycle-cost tradeoff, too; you’re paying those regulars four or five years’ salary for every year they spend on active service, at the current tempo of operations. When the reservists are finished their PDT and their tours, they go back to earning a relative pittance for weekend training.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
November 19, 2013 3:17 pm

“And don’t forget the full-cycle-cost tradeoff, too; you’re paying those regulars four or five years’ salary for every year they spend on active service”

Where are you getting the 1:5 ratio from? harmony guidelines are 1:3 (1 deployment within every 3)

Agreed the money is saved by the MOD by not having to house, feed, pay NI contributions and pension for the individual soldier plus medical and dental expenses, not to mention their dependents if married.

a
a
November 19, 2013 4:11 pm

Where are you getting the 1:5 ratio from? harmony guidelines are 1:3 (1 deployment within every 3)

Yeah, sorry, that was a bit unclear. Regular units do 1/4 or 1/5 of their time in Afghanistan, is what I meant to say. You’re in Afghan for six months, then you spend two years or more not in Afghan before you go back. So a soldier who has done a year in Afghan (two tours) will have also done four or five years not in Afghan. Yes, the guideline is one deployment every three years, but that still doesn’t work out as one year out of three on active service. Half of that year is PDT and POTL and so on.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
November 19, 2013 4:37 pm

I see what you mean, probably me being a bit thick.

Personally I think everything is a trip hazard to the reservist, from the poor training (as in scope compared to the regulars) and high expectations of time, to the regulars thinking that they are not up to the task, coupled with members within their own ranks looking down on members who have not done a tour.

Phil
November 19, 2013 6:44 pm

@a

The Cap was £200K a year (+benefits) and 300K a year for consultants.

I don’t understand the argument that just because it represents a small part of the overall cost it is effective spending of public money? A years mobilisation would cost £175K more for this sort of chap than your average private. That’s £175K more for someone to do the same job as a private. That’s a lot of Osprey plates or boots or welfare kit or fresh rations. And you can bet there’s a couple of high salaried people on each HERRICK at least. I understand the current recession was caused when on HERRICK 6 they mobilised the HAC and they put in their Reservist Award claims.

As for paying for soldiers when not on tour or PTD there are plenty of other taskings to keep them earning their keep.

wf
wf
November 19, 2013 7:31 pm

: I must admit, 200K sounds a bit much. 100K would cover the basics even if you had kids at private school and a largeish mortgage. If you are on 200K, making a sacrifice for a year doesn’t sound too much of a problem…

x
x
November 19, 2013 7:56 pm

Surely a person with the capacity to serve should be allowed to serve whatever their background?

Yes you could argue I suppose that they would be doing a greater service by choosing not to soldier.

But by denying the rich a chance to put their life on the line in a way is disenfranchisement.

Or are we saying only the poor are cheap enough to expend?

As somebody involved with the cadet movement in the inner city I have seen kids I have known go to war. And I have sat in uni’ tutorials with middle class nonces decrying war. If somebody from the latter class wants to go to war let them. The more that go the less inclined their class may become to sending kids from council estates to war, death, and disfigurement.

Phil
November 19, 2013 8:30 pm

Or are we saying only the poor are cheap enough to expend?

Christ. Hoist the flag comrades! Onwards!

Nobody is saying that x. But what I am saying is that you shouldn’t expect to get paid 10 times the average wage of a Tom to do the same job as him under the same conditions. By all means come and join the party but you cannot reasonably expect such a high level of pay to do a basic soldiering job. It’s a ridiculous expenditure by the MoD. I get a reservist often needing to have their pay topped up, and I fully support a reasonable level of remuneration but 200K takes the piss. In my anecdotal experience most of the blokes mobilised qualify for no or very small reservist award. I am sure the figures are somewhere.

So, do calm your revolutionary fervour and take down the barricades.

x
x
November 19, 2013 8:47 pm

@ Phil

Before now on YouTube I have looked for that sequence from Enemy at the Gates where the commissars are machine-gunning the retreating Soviet troops. On a few occasions I have thought it would have made a good comment or reply here.

Further you have sat in the “same” tutorials I have and heard “them” spout the same garbage. I will never forgive one Dr Barrett for lumping me in with the middle class….

Your wages are your wages whether you are on NMW or £300k plus bonuses. Your outgoings tend to match your income. You are basically arguing that a rich person loses out at least once, he loses income, and perhaps twice if he is killed in action or is seriously injured. They aren’t just a Tom, they are reservists, and that is the crux of the problem.

Phil
November 19, 2013 9:03 pm

They aren’t just a Tom, they are reservists, and that is the crux of the problem.

Wars are won with money and lives and both are finite. If someone steps forward to put their life at risk then I have nothing but praise for them. But they must accept, and others must accept that they are just one resource of war and their presence then will have an effect on the other resource of war: money.

A reservist is as much a part of the cogs as anyone else and it means that whilst he indeed may wish to serve and do his duty, it can also mean he can’t do so entirely on his terms or at all. If that excludes certain types of people from the reservists then so it must be. The Army doesn’t exist to indulge people’s burning desires to go and serve no matter how honourable they are or how painful the rejection is for them.

They are indeed reservists and so they must be efficient tools of war. £200K a year Toms are just not efficient tools of war.

x
x
November 19, 2013 9:18 pm

@ Phil

I get your point about costs. If the Army doesn’t exist to allow some to service how can you speak of duty? To whom or what is that duty due? Indeed what exactly is the Army defending? You are basically asserting that government is an end itself? You are speaking of high ideals then cancelling it out by rendering it all down to pounds, shillings. and pence. Make your mind up.

Phil
November 19, 2013 9:37 pm

If the Army doesn’t exist to allow some to service how can you speak of duty?

In the same way I can speak of wealth. Private companies don’t exist to make me wealthy. But I can still try and get wealthy. I can still want to be in a position to get wealthy. There’s no right to be wealthy though – because the main purpose of the organisations is not to make Phil wealthy.

To whom or what is that duty due?

Depends on the person doesn’t it.

You are basically asserting that government is an end itself?

Have you swallowed a PPE textbook tonight?

You are speaking of high ideals then cancelling it out by rendering it all down to pounds, shillings. and pence. Make your mind up.

I don’t see what the difficult concept is. People’s ambitions, aspirations and indulgences (sometimes it is an indulgence) must be subservient to the means of waging war or employing the forces on operations. The Army doesn’t exist exclusively to give me an opportunity to fulfil any sense of duty that I may have. It is no different from someone being in a reserved occupation in the war and who wanted to go and fight but was not selected to because of their reserved occupation.

x
x
November 19, 2013 10:02 pm

How can you compare the functions of a private company with an arm of state? Duty depends on the person? That’s a bit nebulous isn’t it? I would say there are many facets to service but aren’t they all tied to basically one central tenet which is defence of our society? And our society is made up of a diverse collection of individuals some of whom earn little and some who earn a lot, some who contribute a lot and some who contribute not so much, isn’t it? Again I ask for what purpose does the Army exists? If members of society it supposedly defends are treated differently when the choose to offer service, feel a sense of duty, why should they join? What do they get from it? Especially if we reduce it to pounds, shilling, and pence and they who contribute more are actually penalised above and beyond their already large tax bill. A tax bill that goes to pay for things, like um, defence. No the Army doesn’t exist to satisfy Waltish fantasies, but it does exist to defend a society that these days is supposedly founded on principles of equality. You are saying we are equal, just some are less equal than others. Stop looking at the micro and consider the macro. The real world can’t be defined in 5 paragraph essay and that is how you argument comes across.

PS: What sauce do you recommend for a PPE text book? The one I can see from my desk has a red cover. Can I eat it with ketchup or do I have to have something white like mayo?

Phil
November 19, 2013 10:18 pm

That’s a bit nebulous isn’t it?

As I’m of the interpretativist school I am quite comfortable with the subjectivity of the matter.

I would say there are many facets to service but they all tied to basically one central tenet which is defence of our society?

Then you say

and our society is made up of a diverse collection of individuals

Those diverse individuals will see or consider duty differently. Some indeed go the other opposite extreme and consider it a duty not to serve.

Again I ask for what purpose does the Army exists?

That’s a very deep question x but I think we can safely say it is not a vehicle solely to serve everyone’s agency and to satisfy their varying interpretations of what their relationship with it should be.

You are saying we are equal, just some are less equal than others.

No I am saying our biographies have to be subservient to the reality that operations cost money and spending lots of it providing very little individual value is not worth it and harms overall combat effectiveness because personnel numbers and money supply are a zero sum game in reality.

Your entire argument seems to be predicated on the fact that serving should be a personally satisfying endeavour no matter the cost to the collective effort and it is a commodity to be enjoyed on an egalitarian basis. If we were Greek hoplites I’d agree, but we are not.

Our operations cost money, the individual private (the individual anyone, almost) adds almost no value on their own to operations so why should extra money be spent furnishing a minute capability when it could instead provide a whole company’s worth of black bag kit for example?

We are subsumed by the machine. Notions of duty and equal opportunity to serve and any sense of being penalised and having been treated unjustly because the MoD won’t pay for you to go overseas have no place on operations. You are an individual, and as an individual, you are effectively worthless on operations.

On the ground, where the meat meets the metal as some might say, the normative must give way to the instrumental.

x
x
November 19, 2013 11:08 pm

You cannot argue that diversity is totally exclusive of share values or else the would be no society from which structures such as an army could emerge. Fred may be an accountant who likes rugby. Jim may be LGBT outreach who like soccer. But they may both like chips. There has to be shared values or there is nothing. It isn’t about personal satisfaction but equality. I support the idea that the armed services should be separate from civilian society. That civil practices shouldn’t invade the military sphere. But what we are talking about here is who is allowed to move between those spheres. You appear to place no value on service, something which you struggle to define, beyond pounds, shilling, and pence for a cause you appear to struggle to define. This isn’t quantum physics. I agree there are no absolutes but pragmatic relativism on such matters is best if you are to make progress.

the normative must give way to the instrumental.

Depends on the argument. In this case there has to be a base line. For me it is simply should everybody in society who is physically able be allowed to serve to defend their society. If they aren’t physically able, let say rather like that discussion currently going on across the Pond on women in the USMC infantry, then no they shouldn’t serve. For somebody who can’t pin anything down (and I am guilty of that too) you seem to put a lot of currency into currency which if you know anything about finance and fiscal matters isn’t very intangible. Actually I would say common descent values, those which bind societies and lead some to want to defend, are probably more real than the money you put so much store. Cost of everything and value of nothing ring a bell with you?

PS: I finally ate a security studies book with ketchup as it had a white cover………

Phil
November 20, 2013 8:57 am

Like I said, you see going on tour as some sort of societal right. It isn’t. At any point in the mobilisation process I could have been denied the ability to serve on tour for a huge number of reasons. All the disruption and build up of apprehension could have been stopped at any day due to the requirements of the deploying unit.

If people want to serve I fully support that but there’s other ways of doing your country a service than getting paid £200k to stag on and carry ECM.

Do the words, requirements of the service mean a anything to you? A nice county militia would be a wonderful billet for such a person but we don’t have one.

a
a
November 20, 2013 1:22 pm

Our operations cost money, the individual private (the individual anyone, almost) adds almost no value on their own to operations so why should extra money be spent furnishing a minute capability when it could instead provide a whole company’s worth of black bag kit for example?

An argument which not only implies that high-paid reservists shouldn’t go to Afghanistan, but that no one else should either. Do you realise it costs £1.2 million a year to send Rifleman Jones to Helmand? And he adds almost no value of his own to operations. Why should we send Jones when we could spend the money on kit instead?

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
November 20, 2013 3:56 pm

@ a,

I think the point Phil is making is that the sum of the parts has valuable, but one soldier more or less does not. Rejecting one soldier here or there will not break the campaign.

Phil
November 20, 2013 6:10 pm

Chris is right that is exactly what I mean. War and operations are conducted by groups of soldiers, not individuals. A riflemans worth lies in him being part of a section or platoon, not in himself. We’re an individualistic society, we write our own biographies as they say now. Operations reverses that cultural trend and it jars and sounds repulsive. But a forces strength lies in its organisation not in how well each individual performs in himself or how precious they are to somebody. As Chris says, sum of their parts.

x
x
November 20, 2013 6:44 pm

That really is straying into tales of the blatantly obvious. It still does not address that society is a little more complex than you appear to think it is. And that basically rendering it down to basic accounting as a reason to as I said disenfranchise a certain section of society based purely on their wage. As I said above you really have to reconcile your rather lopsided view of society where complex structures and relationships come into being but for you only go so far with the limiter being that being not the higher human spirit but rather that base abstract called money. I am never sure whether you get yourself overly wrapped up in academic musing, yourself, or both. At least what you put out is thought provoking and not another fantasy fleet. :)

Phil
November 20, 2013 7:07 pm

It still does not address that society is a little more complex than you appear to think it is. And that basically rendering it down to basic accounting as a reason to as I said disenfranchise a certain section of society based purely on their wage.

I said clear as day that I was an interpretavist. If that doesn’t acknowledge that the world is one very, very complex place then I don’t know what does. In one breath you say the world can’t be summarised in 5 paragraphs and the next you’re accusing me of oversimplifying society. I’ve said the complete opposite of what you claim I have.

As for disenfranchising. Going to war is not a right. Simple as that. Going on operations is no right at all. What about those people in Reserved Occupations? Where they “disenfranchised”? No, of course they weren’t. It’s complete nonsense to think anyone has a right to serve in the forces or has a right to go and fight. Military necessity dictates who goes and who stays at home. Were all the Royal Marines and Para’s who rocked up in April 1982 begging to go to war disenfranchised when they were told no?

I am never sure whether you get yourself overly wrapped up in academic musing, yourself, or both.

There’s no academic musing about it. Lots of people want to go away,a good number are turned away or get out there and end up in shit jobs in stores in BSN. When I was on PDT I was almost sent home during the medical at Chilwell. I was hanging. They re-tested me and realised they’d messed up and I got through. Others didn’t. A great pity for them but there’s no place for pity. When I was through PDT they posted a lay-down of where we were all going – I saw SHQ next to my name – I was going to go AWOL, I went off my nut with disappointment. Luckily I never had to do it and got sent somewhere more interesting but some people did and I know people that have mental difficulties because they feel they didn’t do enough. But again, we are cogs and we are sent where we are sent, and if that is home then it is home.

Phil
November 20, 2013 9:09 pm

Good! Jesus Christ if there’s one thing worse than a dodgy order it’s a no-notice, unrequited counter-order!