Review of Established Volunteer Posts

Good to see that the review of established volunteer posts is due to start next month as detailed in the weekly brief.

Good to see as well that ACP 19 has been clearly marked that the current establishment is under review.

Interesting new section 7 in ACP 20, particularly in relation to appointment periods.

Volunteers are to be appointed into established volunteer positions at Wg, Region or National level for a 4-year period. Extensions beyond this initial 4-year period, may be exceptionally approved by the OF5 with the support of the position sponsor, up to a maximum of 8 years.

Just about to email my Sector Commander to be extended, hit 4 Years over the weekend :eyes:

Hard to believe that HQ currently has 217 Volunteer Posts (helpful they are numbered), plus 39 per region (234 Corps Wide) and a further 28 per Wing (952 Corps Wide).

This gives a total of 1,403 volunteers nationally not supporting Sqns or VGSs primarily!

I’m not really sure I agree with the 8 year cap. I agree with a review every 4 years, but if there is someone doing a fantastic job in the role, why kick them off? I agree you need to let others give it a go, etc. But if someone really is great at what they do, and there’s little other choice, then why are we forced to get rid?

I know in practise this doesn’t happen, and people just go over the 8 years. But policy says 8 years max.

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This is the bit I find most extraordinary. I can sort of understand that higher up ones. But do we really need 28 posts at wing level? I think not.

I wonder if the review will establish a Wing Leadership Officer (& Deputy) as we’ve just had appointed/advertised locally.

I think its good that establishments have been highlighted, every role and national, region and wing structure being reviewed over the upcoming months…as per the weekly brief.

Im hoping to see some rationalisation and more roles moving from primary to secondary roles. But thats my hoping what the organisation does is up to them.

We 100% need to prioritise resourcing Sqns, over wing, region or national structures, especially when there are roles that have been made up put of the historic establishments.

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Does this not simply increase the number of people being over-stretched?

I disagree with this.
I hear the gripe. I understand it.

But most opportunities beyond blue level are not deliverable by most squadrons - certainly not squadrons that are under-resourced. Adding one extra staff member to each under-resourced squadron by pushing them down from wing level isn’t going to fix that.

What pushing that primary post to a secondary post is going to do is reduce the number of wing-level activities. Every bronze-level course I’ve seen since the middle of last year has been oversubscribed. If we want to deliver bronze-level activity, we need more staff focussed at wing level.

Sure. If you’re the under-resourced squadron that gains the Wing Shooting Officer (for example) you’d probably see more shooting in your squadron. But 123, 234, and 345 squadrons next door would probably see less.

Yes, there are people in Wing/Region/HQ posts that probably don’t need to be there, or that aren’t effective in their roles (do we really need a Wing/Region Bader PoC, when Helpdesk exists?). Hopefully the review will identify these and remove them.

But the fundamental problem remains that, really, there just aren’t enough volunteers. There’s gapped posts all over the place.

Ultimately, the only solution is to do less. Whether the less is less parade nights or less wing-level activity is a debate for somewhere else. But moving staff around won’t solve one problem without affecting the other.

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Was there a thread before on one vs two nights? I can’t find it if so.

Some ACF units parade one night a week but do more weekend activities. I know the SCC do a lot at weekends (not sure how many evenings they parade though). Scouts is 1 night a week.

One of the barriers in the past was the classifications, which require a lot of time to deliver. So maybe that’s something else to look at. We seem to have dropped the idea of smarter working or at least smarter delivery of training that was discussed as we were coming out of the Covid restrictions.

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¯\(ツ)

Why work smarter when we could work the same way we have since 1941?

/sarcasm

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Even when we are stripping Sqn OCs off Sqns with no backfill to do a wing role?

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Ultimately that’s life, OC Squadron is a second full time job, you can’t expect people to be Wing SME’s as well.

Unless you think it’s possible to be a Squadron OC alongside your Wing role?

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Im not saying it is, im saying some could be. I wouldnt encourage a Sqn OC to double hat at all. Id go as far as not permitting it in policy. However such is life.

What i am saying is we need to be better at not stripping staff away from Sqns to fill a role for the sake of it.

It is a symptom of not enough volunteers but there needs to be a complete over haul of thinking when it comes to wing staff appointments, an example might be why does WTO need to be a blue suited Sqn Ldr when there could be a candidate who is a well established professional in that area in their day job whom simply doesnt want to be uniformed. Really need to adopt the right person over rank culture.

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Yes.

(Caveat of as long as the wing role is necessary and delivers value).

If the squadron now isn’t sustainable, that’s better than the wing not being sustainable.

This is, unfortunately, the reality of reducing staff numbers.

This I agree with.

and so much this.

But WTO (done right) is a perfect example of where it would definitely be preferable to have one squadron suffer so the wing can gain.

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If a job is worth doing it’s worth doing properly and going down the route of “your an OC you can’t do X” would cost you as many OC’s as letting them apply for Wing roles.

It never use to be like this pre-PTS.

Sqns use to be able to deliver what is now bronze silver & gold without additional support from wing.

I think since PTS is has place limits on Sqn & stifled the innovation. The move to PTS forced the creation of established roles for each stage of the PTS & put the strain on the volunteers at Sqn level.

Where before an area would be developed on a first amongst equals basis post PTS funneled the control into single points & “teams” up & down the chain.

The role review is a good thing & those roles that need a dedicated person to coordinate can remain, & the roles that aren’t needing it can revert back to specialist.

There are a number of roles at wing level that are a nice to have rather than need to have & then can hopefully return expertise back to Sqn level.

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and this is part of the problem…
Pre PTS each Sqn taught what it could based on the interests/skills of the staff on site and could teach through several levels keeping the cadets interested for several years.
Yes, this meant that some Sqns specialised in certain areas and you got your Drill Sqns, Radio Sqns, 1st Aid or shooting etc but a level of progression was maintained throughout a cadets career. Wgs did not deliver many courses but some were available for those that wanted to cover other areas or cross Sqn pollination happened

With PTS we teach a lot of ‘introductory’ Blue set courses (that require staff to be taught and assessed 1st) but due to the nature of delivery anything higher requires off unit weekend courses/activities.
This then reduces the amount that can be delivered on Sqn throughout a cadets career and reduces what is available to those whose situations allow them to travel/be available for additional weekend activities on a regular basis (social mobility effects).

This is why I see a lot of Blue badges but as a percentage very few higher levels

I want to be able to deliver more at a ‘higher’ level locally - despite ASTRA etc what the kids want is to have fun with their mates doing something together and maybe get some nice badges as an extra - very few are just chasing shiny badges

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As someone who fills a national role - if it became secondary and I was told to attend a unit, do you know what would happen in reality? I wouldn’t attend the unit and would continue to do the national role. Someone complains? I’m off. Net result - lose another value adding volunteer.

Why? Attending a unit simply isn’t feasible for me at the moment for family reasons; it’s only through luck / circumstances of the national role becoming available that I’m still in the organisation.

We need to remember that people do add value in some of these roles to the organisation and resourcing units isn’t the be all and end all. For example, in April I’m training 6 Paddlesport Leaders and assessing 4; all of which is capability returning to units to deliver activity, which wasn’t there before.

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I do have the fear with this review that, at all levels, we’re going to see culls.

Then someone will remember that the number of volunteer staff on a squadron doesn’t actually affect the bottom line.

Well. Unless units close. But we’ve already paid the RFCA contract, so even that doesn’t save.

Fully understand from someone filling a primary Wing role.

I DO do some evening work/attending units on an ad hoc basis, but the greatest benefit to me (in personal terms) has been being able to have an early night.

If I was told to attend twice per week again, I would walk too. My own mental wellbeing comes first.

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Possibly quite right though. How is it that currently a Wing can have 9 Sqn Ldrs in primary roles just to cover 3x WSO and 6x Sector Commanders. Plus an additional 10 primary roles at Sqn Ldr/Flt Lt. That’s a lot. Is that really needed in every wing? Or could some of the regional roles be better suited to do some of the work these roles are doing?

If a wing really used it’s total allocation of 28 Wing roles, there would be very few staff at Sqn level.

With all that said though, the caveat is if you have someone who can’t really commit to many evenings, but is happy doing some weekend stuff, and being on the end of a phone during the day, and approving SMS bits, then they shouldn’t necessarily be stopped from doing a Wing role.

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