MoD funding 'black hole'


I used to do that, but now it’s parade nights and a couple of hours during the week and I feel much better within myself for it. The fact I can’t access bader at work helps massively. I would spend 1-2 hours a night at home, which got in the way of family life. I find it amazing how cathartic a parade night email clear out, like I do first thing at work each day is.


As i understand it (from a contact at HQAC) it is being looked at and the reason we see the “participant” and “director” (or whatever the wording is) seen in SMS.

those who are participating in a event, making up the Staff numbers to meet a ratio for instance all get a “flat rate” say £50, the directors being the ones who actually made it happen, be that organising the day, coordinating the admin, lead instructors whatever get the “enhanced rate” say £80 or £100.

if i were the lead on a day walk completing NNAS training i would get the enhanced rate, the “director” having organised the day, completed the RA, the SMS application, written the admin order etc, while the other staff member, their to make up the ratio gets the flat rate “participant”

the following weekend, that same staff member is the RCO where I am the Safety Supervisor. Our roles and responsibilities have changed in terms of what was put in to make the day happen, as the RCO they completed the SMS application, wrote the RAM, spoke to the Armoury about sticks and bangs and booking the range, advertised the event to the Cadets etc and so they get the enhanced rate as a “director” and in this case i get the flat rate as a “participant”

I heard this at least a year ago when i first heard that HQAC were looking at paying VA based on SMS applications - ie no more paper forms claiming for VA, the activity lead when closing the application ticks against those Staff who wish to claim VA

to me it seems a very sensible and practical solution.
it is arguably open to abuse as an event could see all 7 staff listed as directors meaning all get the enhanced rate which clearly won’t be reflective of the truth but is a “fairer” system linked to effort than what we currently see.
it certainly allows for those enthusiastic and available Sgts and Plt Offs who have the time being commitment free who make things happen to get the VA proportional to the effort they put in.


Trouble is as a key part of the Safe System of Training, the Safety Supervisor would need to be listed as Directing Staff (and rightly so they aren’t just turning up for a jolly, but vital to the delivery of the activity) this is so they can’t be changed without returning the application to draft, as may require re-approval.


so be it.

the example offered was to offer a picture of the different lead/not lead options on an activity.

it is right to say that the RCO, SS and coaches, first aider and ammo orderly are all vital and thus “director” rather than participant…

perhaps the point of the post was missed in this case instead concentrating on the accuracy of the hypothetical situation.


So why do you think being employed on a FTRS contract isn’t a ‘proper job’…?


I like your logic…

How about 3 bandings;

Activity IC
Directing Staff
Participating Staff

All of which is data already held within SMS



Worth a try :joy:


Plenty of CIs put in way more effort than that but get nothing - why is that fair?


its not my logic, it is how it was described to me while i was at Cranwell by a HQAC member.

i agree a three tier scheme is more realistic less likely to be abused.


And there are plenty of uniformed staff out there who don’t claim their rightful VA or mileage, which actually masks the true cost of RAFAC.

The bigger issue here, forgetting pay, sorry VA, is the view from HQ RAFAC that the average number of claimed VA days is well below the 28 days allowed. So if people don’t claim, HQ RAFAC could rightfully reduce the allowance of 28 down to say 20, followed by a reduction in payment value. Their argument would be borne out by the figures claiming.

If the whole of the CFAVs were to get a form of VA, the overall cost of VA would most likely rise. That would never happen.


Here’s an idea… all eligible should claim, those that don’t want it could donate to their Sqn welfare fund… with gift aid


That is far too simplistic, but hey ho it’s HQAC a bastion of simple folk.
Does it apply to CIs?
Without the supporting staff who now have invariably got be qualified and without whom qualified or not, the activity won’t happen. The supporting staff are invariably doing the same if not more than the organiser. If this new scheme gets the nod, there will be some people saying look at me and crawling over others for a few extra quid.

As my dabbling in other volunteering increases, I meet people who are organising things with as many facets as any cadet event that all need to come together to make it work and all they get is a warm glow as well as crap from disgruntled members of the public. In organising these they invariably have to have meetings with council officials and emergency services as well as dealing things on the day. All this for no pay or allowances and these will be things that many of us go to for a pleasant time out.

We should consider ourselves extremely fortunate that we get a few quid for doing a few hours at the weekend, as there are far too many outside our little bubble, who don’t but it doesn’t stop the things happening. The only thing that stops things happening is costs, like insurance and people willing to volunteer to do it. The question to ask ourselves is, is the money we get in VA reparation for the activity or do we see as what we are due to what we have to do and the expectations placed upon us.


I feel that if the full time uniformed HQAC staff were part-time with a job outside the Air Cadets and with a reservist responsibility, similar to that many demobbed servicemen/women were (are they still?), there would potentially be a greater connect with volunteers at squadrons. AFAIC FTRS is a drain on the public purse, either keep them in the jobs they were doing or they retire/get made redundant, as happens in the real world. Many of the FTRS jobs seem to be walk out the door Friday and back in the same door Monday, but with potentially a nice payment and pension to fall back on.

I don’t see the need for FTRS in the Air Cadets at all, regardless of it being a proper job or not. As I say employ them as regular personnel or don’t bother.


respectfully i disagree.

in the shooting world the RCO typically runs the day, certainly does more paperwork (RAM) than the nominated first aider for the day to go ahead.
in the AT world the lead instructor, be that trekking, camping, water or cycling sports the lead will be completing routes, and RAs, writing admin orders while other staff may just be along for the ride.

Cadet development courses, be that First Aid, NCO and Leadership, these do not need additional qualifications to be staff on these.
likely to be a lead, maybe the Wing first aid officer or WWO but they’ll have a staff team forming the instructors.

Consider an Annual Camp, no additional qualifications are required to attend but the effort and time put in to make the week happen is not equal or shared out, the Adj and CC working the hardest/longest days.
in the same vein a day trip to a museum or air show is the same. other than a driver for the SOV/Phoenix vehicle there is no need for a qualification but someone will be taking the lead to write the RA, coordinate and collect the names and sort out the SMS while other staff attend to make up the numbers so there are at least two staff attending.

absolutely, and i am one of those with another volunteers hat on


How would this work for instance then…
Our wing has a skills camp

@400 cadets go on one weekend and go on a dedicated course with about 80 staff
The Person in charge does very little except sign off the sms application and be in attendance.
Each course leader with the exception of shooting has to upload the RA and arrange all equipment required and upload to the sms application, There is an admin team who do all the booking and TG forms and transport. The shooting courses need to have their own sms application.

It doesn’t seem fair that the course director is paid more than everyone who is doing all the actual work


Should be using the CAMP activity type to cover the week, with sub activities to cover the individual elements


well it is a case by case basis and determined by whoever completes the SMS - hopefully with agreement of the team.

the shooting team with their own SMS will have their own breakdown so that one is sorted.

it in this case it would be difficult to justify 80x directors as that would not be realistic.
however on the basis there are for sake of argument and this example 8 activities, each with a leader and two deputies that justifies 8x 3 = 24 directors

my examples are basic, you can’t use a basic model for something as complex as a 400x Cadet sized event but use the system to best suit.

take RIAT for example with 200x Staff - how does the breakdown work there?
One Wg Cdr at the top, but 25 Staff in the management team, and 150+ working on the flights with the Cadets.

I am sorry the examples i gave were too simplistic and too generic but with some sensible thought if the system goes ahead I am sure a solution could be found in these larger examples.

either way even as a “participant” the “basic rate” VA would be received which is welcome pocket money in my hand


Interesting idea,
I’m not trying to trip people up I am trying to comprehend how it would work


well to offer an example

last year i was teaching on a Blue Radio Course.

it was Wing course which our Wing Radio Officer understandably organised.

he listed me and the other instructor as “director” on SMS.
on this occasion he was teaching the Bronze Course in the room nextdoor (it was a mass Radio/cyber training weekend)

I did no paperwork prep for the course (the WRO did that for me), but was the lead instructor assisted by the other CFAV

if the proposed VA payment (that I have heard about) was in place both myself and the other CFAV as “directors” would get “full rate” while the WRO could not tick their own box (tick here to claim VA) on the Bronze course, but as a director for the Bronze course and lead instructor would choose to tick that box

in this example i did nothing on the SMS other than tick the box to say I was the lead Staff that was it. I did no event prep, i didn’t write the trawl to advertise the event, i didn’t promote the event Wing wide, nor did i collect in the names nor allocate places.

but on the day i was the course leader and so ran the course with the assistance of the other Staff tag teaming the teaching and sharing the assessments - in this case there was no “participant” Staff as all (both) were very much involved

the system (as it stands in SMS current) can offer a title against the effort each CFAV puts in - if that is used to reflect the VA received then it would seem flexible enough (perhaps with one other layer as suggested by @themajor) to offer VA which matches effort and not simply rank.