Staff Relationships

Hi all,
What’s the level of professionalism / discretion required for two members of staff in one squadron to be in a relationship?

We’ve recently had a CI join our squadron who is the father of one of our NCOs, and who is quite obviously in a relationship with our sqn Trg Off ( Commissioned Officer ). This has led to a lax attitude with discipline: they don’t refer to one another by rank / title, the CI interrupts the Officer during final parade, and both are fairly blind where it comes to issues concerning the CI’s son.
The CI has also been running a LOT of nights recently, and some NCOs are starting to wonder if it’s by the influence of the Trg Off.

Is there any code of conduct to cite, or diplomatic way of bringing this up to the rest of staff?

Speak to your OC and say you have concerns.

There is no problem policy wise of having staff members in a relationship at the same squadron. From the examples I’ve seen in the past it has always very much been to the benefit of the cadets.

But from what you describe, it is a problem. Once at the unit the only way the cadets should know they’re in a relationship is if they are married/family and share a surname. Otherwise, CFAVs should be staying professional whilst on cadet activities.

This is out of order.

This is also out of order.

This can be trickier. When I was a cadet, one of my fellow cadets was my OCs son. If anything, he was help to a higher standard than the res of us. And pulled up a lot more. To be fair to though it helped him and he was an awesome cadet, and a great guy. The OC also didn’t get involved when it came to promotions that his son was also applying for. The SWO and other staff dealt with it, and got someone from another unit to do all the interviews with the SWO.

If your OC isn’t interested, I’d maybe raise this to wing.

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And if you want a sort of policy way of putting it, look at ACP 1.


Rule of thumb…

If you know they’re in a relationship you know if not you shouldn’t be able to tell based on their behaviour… Simples


Same thing I’d tell cadets - you leave the relationship outside the gate when you arrive and play the game.

The same as would apply if they worked together in an office.

If they managed themselves well enough, more relaxed moments not in front of cadets wouldn’t pose an issue to me, but it sounds like the OC needs to have a conversation about appropriate standards, starting here:


I have been on six Squadrons where there have been husband and wife relationships, in one case both were CIs, I know two examples where one CI the other a WO, one was OC the other WO, one who was an Officer and another SNCO, and two units where they held OC and Adj roles

I can’t say I have ever seen there to be a problem in all my experience

it would depend how this is done. within the office, not really an issue. Most Squadrons are happy dropping the compliments out of earshot to the Cadets…this can slip if a Cadet happens to be in the office.
In front of the Cadets, the odd one can slip, which I can forgive…however using petnames would not be suitable.

As others have said, if it is blindingly obvious something has gone wrong and they should be asking themselves questions on their behaviour…but as they are not mentioning to the OC should set them straight


Does this motivate your complaint about the staff?

If a bit of rivalry with their son is going to motivate complaints about them as staff then I’d imagine you’re in danger of picking a fight that you’re not going to win.

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Not in the slightest - moreso an observation than the primary motivation for complaint. I don’t have a problem with the CI’s son, but I know others have in the past, and problems have arisen as a result of lack of intervention.
My key concern is the influx of new cadets we have on squadron, and the examples being set by the CI - if he’s not addressing officers by the correct terms of address or interrupting, our NCOs can’t effectively correct new cadets mimicking that behaviour ( double standards ).

I don’t expect CI’s to call me Sir and never have.


It’s never been an expectation on my sqn, but when I was a CI I always called officers/WOs sir/ma’am and NCOs by their rank within earshot of cadets, and most of the current CIs still do to set an example. The only time I’ve actively discouraged it since going back into uniform was with one CI who insisted on calling me sir when there were no cadets around.

When it becomes an issue depends on the context. To take @Huxley 's situation, for example, if the CI responded to the officer on final parade with “yes” rather than “yes, ma’am”, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. On the other hand, if they responded with “yes, babe”, then I’d have an issue.

As others have said, I’d suggest a private chat with your OC in the first instance, setting out your concerns honestly. How diplomatically you want to put it depends on your relationship with your OC. If I had any issues with any of the other members of staff, I’d be having a very blunt conversation with my OC, but then I’m the Adj and one of the longest-serving members of the squadron; if I were a newer member of staff or a cadet NCO, I might be more tactful.

I wouldn’t raise it with any of the other members of staff, unless you don’t feel able to raise it with your OC directly and would be more comfortable asking someone else to raise it with them. The diplomatic way of bringing it up with the rest of the staff is not at all and letting your OC deal with it. On occasions where I’ve seen the opposite happen, it’s never ended well.

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On this note, I’d recommend framing it (at least as one aspect of the complaint) within the context of a perception of double standards making it difficult for cadet NCOs to enforce discipline and correct use of rank among the cadets. Also, not being able to enforce the habit on unit is going to impact cadets when they go off unit where they are guaranteed to be picked up on it.

Personally, I’d be far more receptive to complaints about staff actions negatively affecting cadets (and particularly NCOs who we have put in that position) than I would be to staff actions that someone just doesn’t like.

I’ve more commonly seen “rank surname” or at least maintaining some formality with “pronoun surname”.

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Surely you dont let them call you Dave, Bob or Daisy in front of cadets though?

With all my staff not just CIs its first names when no cadets are around.

With cadets around, it’s either Sir, maam etc or rank and surname.


My own personal view is that it is correct for CIs to use rank, but not to necessarily use gendered honorifics (partly to differentiate those that are in the true CoC, and those who aren’t); edit: just noticed this the same as @Giminion uses too!

Conversely, I know plenty of uniformed CFAVs (particularly one who is active on here, :wave: ) who call CIs Sir / Ma’am, because of the wording in an A(C)P about the respect that should be afforded to civilians. Is there any difference between calling a Civilian on the street when in uniform Sir, and calling a Civilian who happens to be at the unit once a week Sir?


On this flip side, cadets are as above or “CI X”, while uniformed CFAV would use just the latter.

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but CI is an appointment, not a title or rank :wink: (but I know that’s been debated ad infinitum before)

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Well, there is a little…
Within the ‘military’ structure which we operate, “Sir / Ma’am” is (should be) used by a junior addressing a senior; whereas calling a random civvie on the street “Sir” doesn’t carry that same implication of seniority; it’s just a courtesy.

I vaguely recall this conversation many months ago; we (as in ‘the collective’) got into a debate about where do CIs fit in terms of seniority in the CoC… At the time I think we (or maybe just I) hashed it out as being a misinterpretation somewhere along the line; and that in fact there wasn’t any regulation which states that Civvies in the military structure should be addressed as Sir / Ma’am /&c by all.

Though, I’d rather not rehash that here because it’ll go waaaaaaaaaay off topic.

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