One of the joys of having been a unit commander for so long (22 years) is that you see people coming along and repeating things.
Having a rummage through a box in the loft over the weekend I found a document from March 1997 titled -
PTC (Personnel and Training Command … remember that?) review of publicly funded core activities and how the RAF could support these over the next 10 years.
This was given to Sqn Cdrs for comments / thoughts at a COs Conference. We had breakout groups to brainstorm the points. As an exciting prospect then as they have remained.
The worrying aspect is that many of the questions asked seem all too familiar to subsequent reviews, surveys and the modern ‘vision/mission’ statements. Which has to beg questions of the actual validity of these ‘paper exercises’.
These are the questions asked
• What contribution does rifle shooting make towards the objectives of the Corps
• Is it important to retain rifle shooting as an activity
• Given recent events (Dunblane shooting) are there any changes that should be introduced … bearing in mind we had endured parental and political criticism, questions, doubts about cadets (young people) doing shooting after Hungerford in 1987 and just as we were getting back to normal Dunblane happened. Which put cadet shooting back in the limelight
• Are rifles other than target shooting rifles required in the next 10 years
• What contribution does AT make towards the objectives of the Corps
• In essence how effective are the ATC AT Centres
• Are publicly funded AT activities adequate for the next 10 years
VISITS TO RAF STATIONS
The heading was the importance of visits to RAF Stations and units
• Given the drawdown (remember this is only 1997) of the RAF estate, decreasing number of units, given the increasing contractorisation / civilianisation of many service posts are visits still good value
• What do they contribute to the aims of the Corps
• Are there enough visits
• Could the RAF do better, if so how
PARENTING / SUPPORT
• How effective is the support and parenting system
• How should any shortfalls in the parenting and support system be put right
• What scope is there for a more innovative approach to providing support
• Comment on the standard of maintenance of your buildings and the system for identifying, ordering and supervising work on your properties
• Comment on the adequacy of equipment and clothing
• Is the system of acquiring redundant equipment and clothing adequate. How could it be improved
There was a question about cadet contributions towards the cost of activities eg parachuting, sailing, skiing, hang-gliding, micro lighting. Should appropriate charges be applied to all activities?
• Should there be greater emphasis within the Corps on recruiting for the RAF
• Would it be beneficial to adjust the age qualification for the Corps. Should the joining age be lowered as they are in the ACF.
• If the minimum age was lowered should the maximum age be reviewed
• How prevalent is the problem of retention of adult staff and if necessary should retention be improved
• What are the pleasing aspects of the range of publicly funded core activities
• What are the most frustrating limitations of the range of publicly funded core activities
• Which publicly funded activities would you wish to see more of, with regard to their contribution to the objectives of the Corps.
• How serious are the limitations imposed by the lack of service transport for cadet involvement in publicly funded activities
• Notwithstanding problems associated with converting to Bulldogs and lack of parachutes for smaller cadets, why weren’t AEF allocations taken up
• Has the switch from Chipmunk to Bulldog been beneficial to the provision of AEF
• AEF is a relatively expensive activity but regarded as an essential and inherent part of what the Corps offers. Would you like to see more of it at the expense of other activities.
• Are there better ways of providing AEF such as organising it commercially through local flying clubs or flying several cadets in larger light aircraft organised commercially
GLDING (moot point currently)
• How many newly joined cadets have been gliding in their 1st 12 months (info on previous 3 financial years)
• Indicate beneficial aspects of the way gliding is organised
• Are there any shortcomings/limitations with cadet gliding
• Is motor-gliding preferable to winch launch
• What changes would you like to see to the current (1997) gliding system
• Is the present allocation of gliding resources appropriate.
• In a survey in the 90s camps had remained a very important activity for the Corps, We were asked for 5 key reasons
• How pleased have you been with RAF support to camps. Are there any key areas where additional help could bring very significant benefits
• Are camp programmes structured to gain maximum value. Are there significant shortfalls and how could they be remedied
• On average cadets can only go on camp once every 3 years. How important is it to seek to raise capacity so they could go once every 2 years. Should more effort / resources go towards supporting Wing (‘green’) camps that 8 Wings have developed.