Civ Com rules of engagement

So we know that staff cannot get involved with CivCom matters - and only the OC is an ex-officio member, so would attend meetings but would hold no voting rights etc…

But what about CivCom wading in with Sqn matters - such as staff attendance etc?

ACP011 is the guideline for CWC

taken from chapter 5


  1. Some of the specific ways in which a squadron committee can and indeed should help its own squadron are:

a. In giving support and help to the Squadron Commander and his staff by showing a keen interest in all the squadron’s activities particularly by occasional attendance at parade nights and other squadron activities. They should also take time to meet and talk to the cadets of their squadron.

b. Providing or arranging support in terms of finance facilities and negotiation with local authorities or other bodies or individuals as may be required to support these additional activities. When arranging fund raising activities, care is to be taken to avoid any form which may reflect adversely on the Corps or its members.

c. The Committee will act as trustees and account for the non-public funds. The squadron may be reimbursed for some of its expenditure from public funds and the Treasurer and other members of the committee will be required to present claims in accordance with ATC requirements. This is mandatory and because of its importance, chairmen and treasurers are to be fully conversant with the regulations and procedures contained within ACP 10.

d. The non-public monies entrusted to the committee, in their capacity as trustees, shall be regarded as in the joint charge of all the voting members of the committee. The treasurer shall be regarded as their facilitator for the receipt, custody and disbursement of such monies. The committee shall direct the treasurer regarding his/her duties as they think fit.

e. Under no circumstances should a member of the squadron staff, including the squadron commander or Civilian Instructor, have control of the non-public funds for the squadron. This includes being a signatory on an account.

f. When forming a squadron or a detached flight, finding suitable accommodation in consultation with the Wing Commanding Officer, Unit Commander and other adult staff.

g. Assisting the Squadron Commander with the administration of unit premises and their furnishings. Requests for assistance should in the first instance be referred to the Wing Executive Officer.

h. Considering what additional activities could be recommended to the unit commander so that the aims set out in Chapter 1, Paragraph 3 may be met in full.

i. When a replacement is required, assisting the Wing Commanding Officer in finding a suitable person to command the squadron.

j. Assisting the Squadron Commander in finding suitable adult staff to support all activities. This may cover quite a wide field because requests for specialist activities on behalf of the cadets will be dependent on the finding of a suitable adult to act as instructor.

k. Assisting the Squadron Commander by all means within their power to increase the effectiveness of the squadron.

l. Establishing and maintaining good relationships between the squadron and all elements of the local community with the object of obtaining maximum support.

m. Giving assistance to the Squadron Commander, or his/her nominated member of staff, to obtain the maximum of good press, radio and television publicity

n. Providing advice and practical assistance in dealing with any welfare problems that might arise among the cadets or adult staff. See Para 3, above.

o. Assisting the Squadron Commander in ensuring that provision is made, by the appointment of a Squadron Honorary Chaplain, for religious observance and opportunities for cadets to find a faith by which to live.[/quote]

my bold the relevance to the question posed

Agreed with the above, but the Chair should be talking to the OC regarding those rather than taking matters into their own hands!
That being said it does all depend on how well everyone gets on.
Are you all friends, or is it more train set building.

Acquaintances, got a lot of newbies so been tasked with helping them get to grips with the organisation and their requirements etc

I’d say it’s the opposite - the rules are about assisting and supporting the OC with regards to finding staff, not honking off to the OC because they don’t think CI Blogs or FS Jones isn’t pulling their weight…

If the OC isn’t happy he can chin people off and that’s his job and right, it’s not the job of the CivCom - they could, in extremis, write to the Wing Commander to express dissatisfaction with the Sqn OC (which I have seen happen, and it was richly deserved…), but it’s simply not the role of the CivCom to get involved in the daily grind of running the Sqn.


Agree with Angus. Some Civ Comm Chairs do try and push their limits but should remember what they are here for. If they feel so strongly about it, they should ditch Civ Comm and try things the other side of the fence, instead of sniping over the parapet.


Quite right.
“Assisting”. As in requested by the OC.

The evidence suggests that some CivComs (not all) do seem to forget that whilst they are responsible for Non-Public Money, when it comes to Sqn matters they work for the Sqn.

Staff attendance is none of their business. Nor is almost everything else about the running of the Sqn unless they are invited to assist.

We are all on the same side and people make observations and air opinions all the time about things. Once the opinion is out in the open that’s it. When I was confronted with anything like this which I was, the stock answer is something like we are all volunteers and under no contractual obligation to attend or do things. However as a volunteer you might like to feel people are doing it for altruistic reasons so attend, but it’s not always possible as we all know, all too well.

Frankly there is no point fighting with the CWC, as I say we are all on the same side and in many ways CWCs hold the whip hand … no CWC effectively no squadron, they’ll always draft in or coerce someone to run a squadron, but a CWC can take years to build as people just drop in and out. From my experience of several different volunteering groups, you only have a finite number of people willing to ‘volunteer’ and annoying one or more of these can cause problems.

I know too many OCs who like to think they run the CWC, so it’s horses for courses.

Also with CWC it could be from a position of concern that the cadets are not getting the best because people are absent. It’s just a matter of how it is said and then taken that seems to be problem area.

Well this is fun… the role of the Committee is to support the Squadron but this has to be by consent and the people helping need to feel valued. There are a bunch of things the Civ Comm also do that the Squadron Commander is not allowed to do especially around finance. The organisation has a bit of growing up to do. The divide between Civ Comm and Uniform is a problem. When you get Civ Comm and Squadron Staff working together for a common goal only good things can happen. Where the Civ Comm get protective about the money and won’t allow the Squadron to spend it we have problems. At the same time, where the Squadron has an attitude about the Civ Comm you also get problems. Really everyone should be treated like coworkers, there is no reason for infighting and if you have it then those individuals need talking to and get with the programme or leave. As a point of clarity, no member of the Civilian Committee should ever write to the Wing Commander to complain, everyone has to use the chain of command. Committee members discuss with their Chairman who then raises the matter with their Wing Chairman. Likewise the Squadron should use their chain of command and never write to their Wing Chairman.

I think one of the issues around this is the way in which the RAFAC has legislated that we operate.

Uniformed staff operate in a fairly strictly defined chain of command, and OCs are continually reminded that we are in charge. We’re expected to be responsible for everything and anything (except non-public funds!), and our reputation is based on how we control our unit.

But then there are Civ Comms, who are not in our chain of command, but who have control over unit funds, and who are being given an increasingly bigger role in the unit’s operation. The reputation of the chair depends on how well they run their committee.

It’s easy to see why the OC and the committee come into conflict occasionally.

In theory the relationship is set in ‘tablets of stone’. One thing omitted from those tablets is the role of the Chairman in monitoring Cadet welfare, and it become quite apparent over the past few years that VRT do not like Civilians raising concerns staff behaviour toward Cadets. Being detached from the Chain of Command, there is scope to provide an independent and impartial watch, except that it is likely that many Civcom members or Trustees are allowed the ability to do this locally.

The experience is that when a concern is raised, the rules are seemingly abandoned in favour of an all out attempt at containment which frequently equates to cover up (strange coincidence of terminology with the BBC programme)

The basic reason for the separation of cadet and civilian in this context (and an Armed Forces Minister was adamant that they are separate ) is to enable compliance with Charity Law, and keep the management of funds away from the beneficiaries. Whilst the Civcom is there to support the Squadron (ie Cadets and provision of Cadet activities not funded by the MOD) it is, or rather the Trustees are, accountable to the Charity Commission; consequently they have statutory responsibilities. ACP10/11 simply attempts to prescribe the relationship which should exist, in order to deliver the Cadet experience under uniform organisation .

Admitted there have been issues and a lack of understanding of the actual mechanics in both sides, but the one thing which ACP11 does not say, is that Civcoms are accountable to the ACO, because that would jeopardise charitable status, hence why Sqn OCs are ex-officio members with no voting rights.

In practice things are not quite as it appears in ACP11. There appears to be some examples where VRT staff are acting as Charity Trustees; one new Squadron was formed apparently oblivious to ACP11 with three VRT acting as Trustees. There are other instances where VRT act as Trustees.

There is a puzzle why a Wing Chair should need to consult OC Wing and his Regional Commandant, prior to a response entirely concerned with the Wing Charity. This follows an apparent instance of the Wing Chair following the orders of OC Wing and subsequently acted outside of the provisions within ACP11.

It may not be readily apparent, but there is a growing number of retired VRT taking up positions as Regional and Wing Chairs, because ACP11 allows appointment of such, in the absence of any suitable volunteer candidate from within the democratic process. There has so far been no effort to clarify how it is ensured that such VRT represent Civilian interest as independent trustees working with, but not for, the organisation…

To continue this reference, it says clearly that the structure is designed to ensure that the civilian voice is represented on the Air Cadet Council - if you look at the members of the ACC, (ACP11 Ch2-1) there is one Regional Commandant and TWO Regional Chairmen - strangely both these Chairs are retired VRT. Additionally one of these purports to be the MOD representative on charity matters. Such conflicts of interest can only lead to trouble and suspicion as to whether any civilian voice would ever be heard or stifled - and by people who actually no legal authority to control or interfere with the obligations of squadron trustees for whom Charity Law is King.

Whilst followers of this forum, might be clear in heir own mind about how things should work, elsewhere there is considerable distortion of the reality. A statement given by one senior VRT sees his responsibility towards monies which he claims are raised on behalf of the MOD, and which therefore gives him the authority to spend it without reference to any Trustees.

It would be nice to believe that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet, but the facts quoted are very real, and sadly may well link into some of the other discussions about decline in numbers.



A very comprehensive response there, thank you. I have one observation, what’s being a retired VRT officer got to do with taking up position at any level of the civilian committee? The suggestion is they shouldn’t and that places a stain on their character and ability to discharge their duties in the new role.

I think the implication is that old friends might be in a position to lean on them to get what they want.

You can’t say it wouldn’t happen!

You can’t say anything will or will not happen, but just because it’s a remote possibility doesn’t mean you have the justification to exclude them. There has to be evidence based quantification and risk analysis to decide whether the chance of if happening is likely and the consequences of it.

When I resigned my commission I was asked if I’d go on the committee, I declined as I felt I be more use as a CI, but I reckon I could still do things like instruction if needed as a DBSd committee member.

But I can see being on the committee as a logical step in many ways for former staff. Having been a sqn cdr or wing staff can only benefit people who join the committee and don’t understand the ‘blue’ side. I spent ages telling people at CWC meetings what it was like and some I never got through to. Mind you there was one ex-CI who had a few run ins with me when he was a CI, who was a royal pain in the backside.

One of the things not explained at any course I’ve been on is that the relationship between sqn staff and committee is symbiotic and very much one where conflict can occur destabilise a sqn. Seeing the various ACPs as a black and white document is a dangerous route to take. I often felt as an OC that having more control over the financial situation would have been helpful, but I rarely had problems when it came to getting things as I understood the problems the committee faced and never went in with a “I want this and you’re going to get the money for it” which I know some do and have done, with interesting results.

[quote=“Aries, post:11, topic:3213, full:true”]
In theory the relationship is set in ‘tablets of stone’. One thing omitted from those tablets is the role of the Chairman in monitoring Cadet welfare, and it become quite apparent over the past few years that VRT do not like Civilians raising concerns staff behaviour toward Cadets. Being detached from the Chain of Command, there is scope to provide an independent and impartial watch, except that it is likely that many Civcom members or Trustees are allowed the ability to do this locally.

The experience is that when a concern is raised, the rules are seemingly abandoned in favour of an all out attempt at containment which frequently equates to cover up (strange coincidence of terminology with the BBC programme)[/quote]
This is probably close to the truth, as from being an occasional visitor CWC members may well pick up on things that staff being around all the time miss. It’s a bit like friends and relatives commenting on how your children have grown or developed in some way, when you as a parent don’t particularly see it (even though you know it) as you are around them all the time. I was never bothered by a CWC member pointing out that a cadet seemed out of sorts, if you did or do, then as a member of staff are you really doing part of what you are meant to?

If you take the former staff off of the committees a lot of Squadrons wouldn’t have one!

Not saying I agree with what have been said, just offering a potential explanation for Aries’ thoughts that it could lead to a potential conflict of interest.

In any case, the point was about regional chairman, of which there are a dozen in the corps, not squadron committee members.

Daws is right, quite a few CWCs have former staff on them, as much as COs don’t like it there is nothing they can do about it, even if they are disruptive. I know I couldn’t, but the chairman told the one on the CWC who just caused problems, to play along or leave and eventually he did. There were ones before and after who were real diamonds and did things like basic maintenance, sorted out grant applications and helped transporting cadets which was a massive help. They understand better than most the other things that need to be done on squadrons.

The regional chairman should have gone ‘through the ranks’ ie Sqn CWC, Wing CWC exec and Region “CWC”

And the people most likely to rise through the ranks as chairman are those with the best understanding of the organisation which is likely to be the former staff.