Review of Established Volunteer Posts

The assumption being you can find someone or squeeze someone so hard to move, who turns round and says ‘no way’ and leaves. Back to square one.

Well from month 6 you will be saying to the CI/SNCO covering as OC “well if you don’t get that paperwork in we will close the Squadron”, that’s what’s been happening and I’m sure will continue.

Given that everything HQAC does these days seems to be about saving money, I have to ask just how much money would be saved by allowing a squadron to close…?

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This review is long overdue.

I’m generally in favour of using volunteers in national posts – it’s a cheap and effective way to fill the myriad capability gaps in the permanent staff establishment with specialists who are not only more expert in their field than a (affordable) non-volunteer would be, but also understand what it means to be a CFAV. I’m also very much in favour volunteers working in a much more integrated way with HQ RAFAC perm staff – something we have historically been poor at.

That said, for national volunteer posts to be effective they need to be filled by the right people, have clearly defined work outputs and be well-led & coordinated by the relevant desk officers/leads. I’ve seen enough of the digital team, influence team and TDT to cite them great examples of this working really well.

I guess what I’m really saying is that I’ve seen a lot of national volunteer roles which add capacity to the HQ and allow more work to get done better. And crucially they don’t create more work for those delivering at unit level. Basically, they are not “manager” roles, they are “doing things” roles.

I’m sure we could trim some fat both at national and at regional levels though.

The wing establishment is interesting. Of the 28 established posts (~1 per unit in many wings), 11 of them (possibly 14) are mostly concerned with “managing” not “doing things”. This obviously depends on the people filling them, but I’ve seen plenty of examples where non-specialist WSOs and Sector Commanders end up adding little real value and creating more work for the people they are supposed to be supporting… even if this is the opposite of what they intend. (Edit: I’ve also seen Sector Commanders basically acting as OC for like 3 different Sqns, which is very much “doing things”)

This can obviously happen with specialist wing appointments too – a Wg Fieldcraft Officer who spends more time on policy and plans than they do organising and delivering fieldcraft courses will have the same effect.

(Don’t get me wrong here… good “middle managers” are worth their weight in gold if they have a significant positive impact on the teams/sub-units they manage.)

I’d be very interested to see data per wing on what posts are filled, whether they’re “double hatting” with other roles, and whether the incumbents hold secondary appointments on units.

Also, I agree wholeheartedly with this (one of the most effective Sqn Adjt’s I worked with was rarely there on parade nights).

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I accidentally did this for myself about 15 years ago. I spent a month recording exactly where I spent all my time – mainly as a nerdy exercise in data analysis but partly in an effort to become more efficient at life.

Ended up having some strong words with myself about how much time I was spending on RAFAC stuff :joy:. Not that I really needed the data to tell me that!

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Staff Development I’d pegged as part of WWO and DepOC roles, admittedly with more of a focus on uniform development.

For those of us who don’t work conventionally I have no time for a secondary duty. I would love to help at wing level but if I’m expected to do my primary and secondary role I may have to consider a tertiary approach.

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It’s easy to forget that being a staff member isn’t just about “knowing how to wear a uniform and walk in straight lines”.

True staff development should include role training: adj, TO.
It would provide CPD on safeguarding, policies and procedures such as RA and SMS.

It would facilitate PTS train the trainer, providing sqns with confident staff, more effective at delivering what we do, and providing more SQEP in-sectors,

And an oc forum style support where personnel can reach out for support and provide it in turn.

In truth the above doesn’t happen as we are time poor as individuals as we prioritise the cadet at all times. We don’t value the time we take to upskill as we should. It’s a valuable investment but one we struggle to get folks to commit to.

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I know some wings have instigated a teams chat or WhatsApp groups for their OC Sqns just so peep can ping out a quick question & can reach out for support.

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We’ve have that for OCs and also the Wing Training team

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