LASER Review ...10 years on

2013 marks the tenth anniversary of the LASER Review… (tempus fugit :frowning: )

Not quite long enough to get our first post-LASER WO(ATC), which by my reckoning should be due in 2015 (which explains why there is no “WO course” yet, as mandated by ACP20B and AP1919), but long enough for the effects of one of the biggest changes the Corps has been through to settle down.

So - thoughts? …analysis? …positives? …negatives? …unintended consequences?



PS) Does anyone have a copy of the original report, or know where one can be found online?

Are you saying that nobody’s been promoted to WO(ATC) since 2003?

Because I’m certain I know at least one… :?

I know more than that, surely even if you don’t count the people appointed straight to FS (ex regs) people who started as Sgts were eligible at the 8 year mark.

We’ve had two or three down here…

Sgt - 2003

FS - 2007

WO - 2011

I still think the LASER review has been poorly implimented. The cadet element has been the bit to cause greatest confusion, although the Adult SNCO part hasn’t been that much better. We needed the Adult SNCO structure as it was long overdue, but we didn’t need the cadet part beyond mandatory CRB and BASIC. But only as HQAC can, did they turn this into an onerous admin task.

We are only just starting to hear local murmurings of the sort of courses that were envisaged for Adult SNCOs in 2003. At a national level however the courses are non existent or still too few and far between. I personally was expecting SNCO continuation courses post SSIC a bit like Junior Officers should have, but for SNCOs, but nothing. There was a “mandatory requirement” for promotion to FS to need qualifications, but I’ve had 2 who haven’t been able to do one and been promoted. Shambolic doesn’t come close.

We’ve seen people with previous regular SNCO service given “seniority”, but this is applied inconsistently, which then brasses off the individuals not given the same as others.

I am waiting for my WO to comeback from HQAC, I became a SGT (ATC) in March 2004, FS (ATC) March 2008, and had my interview for WO (ATC) in October last year. No mention of a WO Course.

I think you need to sort your life out, GHE2.

On one hand you bang about there not being enough hours in the day and on the other, lament about the lack of courses for adult staff, which of course will take up…oh lets see…TIME.

You’re happy to whine and whinge about what HQAC makes us do when it suits you to but then go off on a completely different tangent when something doesn’t apply to you. Double standards, eh?

I would suggest that from your frequent whining and militant attitude, that you really should consider leaving the Corps as clearly, you don’t have the time to do what is required of you as a volunteer.

Don’t let HQAC keep you here mate, if what they expect is too much for you - vote with your feet.

My only comment on the whole LASER review is that I don’t think 8 years is enough to warrant promotion to WO.
I’d reckon at least 12 years would be better.

Why do you think that it should be 12 years from Sgt to WO?

I’d like to see 6 years in each rank. Otherwise when you get to WO you have nothing else to strive for.

I think the WWO, RWO and CACWO positions should be rotated every so often too. Perhaps every 3-4 years.


P.S I too would like to see the original report

[quote=“wdimagineer2b” post=2436]My only comment on the whole LASER review is that I don’t think 8 years is enough to warrant promotion to WO.
I’d reckon at least 12 years would be better.[/quote]

I offer a compromise - 5 years in each rank (to coincide with renewals and CRB etc).

Henceforth, a project starteth. Who has a copy of the original LaSER report and appendices? 10 years goes back further than my old mail accounts remember. I would have had a copy at work (I remember reading it on my “lunch breaks”) but I don’t work there any more.

Not the original report as such… but we had it floating around in the old Commissioning Guide! I can’t remember it was an extract or a precis… but the detail seems to be there in the Annexes.


  1. The LASER Review was commissioned by HQ Air Cadets to consider how best to:

a. Meet the aspirations of the ATC’s non-commissioned uniformed staff.
b. Encourage cadets to become volunteer staff.
c. Address issues surrounding the status of cadets over the age of 18.
d. Set an environment which encourages and acknowledges the aspirations of older cadets to make a significant contribution to the running of their unit.

  1. After wide staffing of the Review’s recommendations followed by some adjustments to them, the ATC members of the Air Cadet Council endorsed the proposals on 30 Apr 03. Implementation began on 30 Sep 03. However, there will be a transition period the principles of which will ensure reserved rights for cadets over 17½ yrs and AWOs who were serving on 30 Sep 03. Following further consideration given to VGS FSC service, it was decided that those cadets who did not reach the rank of Cdt Sgt by their 18th birthday should “re-muster” as CGIs. On balance this is seen as the fairest solution and introduces no more of an anomaly than already exists. Further, it also allows ex-CCF (RAF) VGS FSC to remain engaged with the VGS which is important.

  2. The endorsed principles of the changes are at Annexes A and B. These supersede all other previously published terms of service changes. Additional changes since the last CROs are sidelined for ease of reference.

  3. Any queries on these changes should be addressed to Rgnl HQs through the appropriate Wg HQs



  1. With effect 30 Sep 03 the following changes to the Terms of Service for Cadets of 18 yrs and over were introduced, however, Cadet service before 18th birthday remains unchanged.


  1. Cadet service beyond the 18th birthday is only available to those who have achieved Cadet Sgt by their 18th birthday. This ruling includes VGS FSCs who will be required to “re-muster” to CGI if Cdt Sgt is not attained by the age of 18 years.

  2. ‘Cadet’ service will cease on reaching the 20th birthday, after which an individual may leave the movement or volunteer to become a staff member.

  3. Cadets over 18 yrs will:
    a. Be called ‘Instructor’ eg ‘Instructor FS’.
    b. Wear a white shoulder band above the rank slide. There will be no
    similar identifying band when No 1 Uniform is worn.
    c. Continue to wear the ‘cadet’ hat badge.
    d. Be considered to be probationary adult staff.

  4. A person may join the Air Cadets up to his or her 17th birthday.

  5. The role of Instructor cadets is encapsulated in the definition of ‘The Role of the Cadet NCO’: “It is a fundamental principle of the ATC that Cadet NCOs should use the knowledge, responsibility and experience they have acquired to train and lead younger cadets and thereby contribute to the discipline and ethos of the squadron. They should also contribute to the organisation and infrastructure of their unit. This contribution should increase with age, experience and ability. Suitable cadets are to be encouraged to attend NCO training and cadet leadership courses to develop their skills to undertake these functions to ensure effective personal development. Cadet NCOs are role models for younger cadets and, as such, they must be of good character and be able to set and maintain the high standards which the Corps demands”.

  6. A training course for Instructor Cadets will be introduced for delivery at wing level under the standardisation of the Rgnl Trg Off. This will be designed in the main to teach responsibilities as an adult and as a supervisor.

  7. Cadets up to the age of 20 yrs will be eligible to participate in all extant cadet activities subject, as now, to any age limits imposed by national governing bodies and ACTIs.

  8. ‘Instructor Cadets’, except when undertaking supervisory duties, should, where possible, be accommodated in alternative accommodation to younger cadets. Where available, this may be in airmen/airwoman accommodation, including transit accommodation.

  9. The current ‘cadet’ establishments will be reviewed.


  1. The transition period will take 2½ years.

  2. All cadets who held CWO rank on 30 Sep 03 may remain as such until their 22nd birthday. All CWOs aged 20 yrs and over on 30 Sep 03 may, now, if they wish, elect to apply for staff status in accordance with Annex B.

  3. Cadets 17 yrs 6 months and over, regardless of rank, on 30 Sep 03 may, now, continue in cadet service as follows:
    a. To their 20th birthday when their cadet service will cease; they may then apply for staff status in accordance with Annex B.
    b. Wear the white shoulder bands and use the prefix ‘Instructor’ to their extant rank on reaching their 18th birthday.
    c. Remain eligible for further promotion.

  4. All cadets who were under 17 yrs 6 months on 30 Sep 03 will be subject to the new Terms laid out above.



  1. With effect 30 Sep 03 the following changes were introduced to the Terms of Service of non-commissioned staff by way of the introduction of an NCO rank structure.


  1. RAFVR(T) officers and CIs will continue to be appointed under current arrangements.

  2. Volunteers aged 20 yrs and over may elect to join the Corps as NCO staff under the following terms:
    a. Direct from ATC ‘Instructor cadet’ service or service as a CI, in the initial appointment of Adult Sgt - on probation for the first year – with the opportunity to progress to Adult FS and Adult WO as follows:
    (1) After 4 years satisfactory service, on the recommendation of the Sqn CO, and the authority of the Wing CO, to Adult FS.
    (2) After a further 4 years service, an Adult FS may, on selection by the Rgnl Comdt, be promoted to Adult WO, provided he or she has passed the AWO course.
    (3) On appointment Adult Sgts will be required to pass a SNCO Staff Initial Training Course (SNCO Staff ITC) at ACTC similar to the current AWO course within one year of appointment.
    (4) Senior Adult FSs will be required to attend a new course designed to prepare them for advancement to AWO.
    (5) All Adult SNCO ranks will be eligible for the Drill Instructors Course on a voluntary basis.
    (6) Ex-Regular Servicemen will be assimilated into the rank structure at a point determined, case by case, by the Rgnl Comdt based on length of service and rank achieved in the Regular Service; guidelines will be issued by HQ AC. They may be required to pass the Initial Adults SNCO Course within one year of appointment.

  3. There will be no change to the AWO cap badge. However, Adult Sgts and Adult FS will wear the RAF enlisted personnel cap badge, and the anodised ATC badge on the rank badge fitted to the shoulder strap in a similar manner as on the AWOs rank badge.

  4. Entitlements to pay and allowances will follow the present regulations. Rates of pay will reflect the rank held (but see paras 8 and 9 below). With effect from 30 Sep 03 non-commissioned pay rates will be:

RANK DAILY RATE wef 30 Sep 03
Adult Sergeant £46.32
Adult Flight Sergeant £49.73
Adult Warrant Officer £54.69

  1. Certificates of Appointment will be awarded to all on appointment as an Adult NCO or CI.

  2. The ratio of officer to NCO establishment will be reviewed.


  1. All those who held the rank of AWO on 30 Sep 03, regardless of seniority, may retain their rank and current rate of pay.

  2. Those with less than 4 years seniority, and those with less than 8 years but more than 4 years seniority, as an AWO under the old scheme may revert to Adult Sgt or FS respectively if they choose and on the authority of the OC Wing. Those who do will retain their current rates of pay.

be intresting to know if anybody did part 9 and reverted?

[quote=“duty_pongo” post=2468]be intresting to know if anybody did part 9 and reverted?[/quote]I can think of a few that did.

Really? Any reason why the would want to revert? Did the Pay stay exactly the same till they regained the rank or did they also get any annual increases?

i know of one, and depending on who you listen to it was voluntarily or forced!

I just don’t feel that 8 years is credible for promotion to WO.

With so many muppets in the organisation the decent instructors amongst us have enough trouble as it is convincing regular personnel that we’re not a bunch of walting morons with rank we don’t deserve. Now, I know that we’re a different organisation with different purpose, but I feel that promoting to WO with so little time served and only a couple of pointless box ticking exercises does us no favours.
I know a few recently promoted WOs who I really don’t feel are in any way credible in their new rank.

It’s why I’ve held off. I was eligable last February but I don’t really want it. I’ve been FS for 5 years, I’m 30 years old - that to me just doesn’t seem fitting for WO. Besides, I quite like being a FS. As Merlin says, once I’ve got WO - what the hell else have I got to aim for?

Despite the supposed intentions, WO is bascially just as much an ‘automatic’ promotion now as it ever was. I don’t feel that should be the case. I think that FS should be the standard top rank with promotion to WO limited to those who actually deserve it and can carry it off.

All that said though, I accept that sooner or later I’m going to have to apply because they are going to continue promoting useless idiots above me; and as much as I’d prefer to stay FS for a few more years, I don’t intend to be patronised by any more wannabee WOs who think they know better because they’ve got a big crown. :stuck_out_tongue:

As per the order, they retained their current level of pay upon reverting.

Fair enough wdimagineer2b,if that is your opinion, but I disagree somewhat on your point that promotion depends on a couple of pointless box ticking exercises. As far as I know, to be eligible for consideration for promotion to Warrant Officer (ATC) you have to comply with the following;

a. Has the SNCO fulfilled the terms and conditions of their appointment ie. Have they completed the SSIC?
Do they attend regularly and provide the required guidance and tuition to the cadets on the sqn?
Are their clearances and extension of service dates up to date?

b. Has the SNCO been the subject of any administrative or disciplinary action that may warrant a deferment for promotion in order for them to prove themselves further or are they under suspension currently waiting resolution (for what ever reason)?

c. Has the SNCO participated in extra-curricular activities such as camps or expeditions. For promotion to WO (ATC), a SNCO should have completed a further 2 Camps in FS (ATC) rank and ideally have assisted in the Wg with organising a camp or other main wg activity.

d. For promotion to WO (ATC), has the SNCO upgraded his/her qualifications or obtained another qualification in another discipline?

e. Has the SNCO participated in any personal development courses?
e.g. Technical course; Amport House; Methods of Instruction Course; other.

If the SNCO has failed to meet one or more of the requirements outlined at sub-paras a – e then Recommending Officers should conclude that the individual is not yet ready for promotion or alternatively outline why exceptionally authority for promotion should be granted.

(The above is taken from my wings Procedure for the promotion of SNCO’s document)

I also think that we all know that not all adult staff with in the ACO don’t quite cut the mustard, but referring to some of your fellow SNCO’s as ‘a bunch of walting morons with rank we don’t deserve,’ is not going to win you any favors in the SGT’s mess bar.