Support for CFAV

I’m really hoping this isn’t a daft question, although I do feel daft for asking.

Out of interest, what support is there for CFAV when a complaint is made about them?

I’ve previously heard there is little/no support for the member of staff and in turn whether the complaint is upheld or not, the subsequently leave the organisation because of it.

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From what I’ve seen it’s 3/8ths of naff all.

Family and friends help but if you’re suspended then there aren’t many places to turn.


You should be assigned an assisting officer, who is to advise you of the process and be your main point of contact for information and arrangements. I think you’re supposed to get a minimum of monthly updates of progress. You should get a formal, recorded interview with an opportunity to review and agree to the notes taken. I’m not sure of much beyond this.

If you’re lucky, that will happen and whoever is investigating will do their jobs properly. Experience, however, suggests that you may end up with a dismissal letter featuring inaccuracies having had no opportunity to defend yourself.


Fortunately I haven’t been suspended. Just aware of examples and those involved never actually seeing the complaint made about them to defend themselves.

From there it made me wonder about what support is available to staff as a bit of research shows not a lot including not a lot of information in PI’s neither about the processes, wonder if that’s purposeful.

If Cadets complain about staff, which may not be true, they can continue to parade but staff are unable to. Surely it would get resolved quicker if both parties asked not to parade until sorted? (I understand that some cases are a lot worse than others and may require immediate suspension from Staff etc!)

Almost seems like guilty until proven innocent.


I would say it depends on the situation. But I see your point.

Unfortunately, yes. In CP situations, the primacy is placed with the alleged victim.

This means that because their welfare and rights are protected, it falls on the CFAV to be placed in a kind of “guilty until proved innocent” scenario.

However, while this is designed primarily to ensure the protection of the accuser and other cadets, this should also have the effect of protecting the accused from further allegations, tampering, and other issues that may arise.

In practice, though, we’re really bad as an organisation at dealing with these scenarios. Remember the MP who committed suicide following suspension without knowing why? Well from what I’ve seen we haven’t learnt from that.

It also puts other CFAV in an awkward position - you’re not necessarily banned from contact as long as you don’t discuss the case. But what if you know that procedure isn’t being followed? What if you know the rights that person has? What if that person isn’t getting the support and advice that they should from their nominated assisting officer or WHQ?

Advise your friend and if they are dismissed you open yourself to allegations if you get caught. Question WHQ and you get a blasé copy/paste of what is essentially a brick wall - and possibly open yourself to allegations of defending a suspected whatever.

When what should happen doesn’t happen, or when what is happening seems wrong, it’s incredibly difficult to get it put right whichever position you yourself are in.

It’s bloody difficult to watch unfold.

Not that any of that should be taken as I don’t agree with much of the policy and procedure, but in this (and other aspects of CFAV life) the organisation doesn’t live up to its obligations - self imposed or otherwise - and apply its procedures correctly.


Is it time to start a CFAV union? Tri-service so your support comes from another force, thus not creating chain of command problems?


I’m afraid that I’ve not yet seen a complaint handled/resolved to the satisfaction on the member of staff involved - of the ones I’ve seen, either close up or from a distance, and regardless of whether I thought they’d done it or not, I’d say about 50% binned it between the start of the process and it’s eventual end (18 months in at least one case…), 25% binned it or got binned when the result came through, and the rest continued on - however the overwhelming majority of those who continued after the inquiry binned it within 2 years.


Hard to stay in an organisation that doesn’t love you and treat you well. It’s like that at the best of times.

Seeing these things does keep me cautious, though - so there is that.


Makes abit of a mockery of the “valuing the volunteer” imitative really!


Have a number of reps within each wing… I can immediately see the benefit.


Valuing the volunteer was always going to largely be a paper exercise to keep 4 ringers busy and make look like they give a damn.
If it was going to mean anything it was going to have to focus and recognise that we do this in our spare time and when we are at work, it’s not a time for any ATC business.


I suspect in the situation you envisage the only support would a choice between the mess Webley and a bottle of Brandy and a stout hempen rope. The ACO will, if it reflects on anybody above Squadron level hang anybody out to dry. I have a friend this has happened too.

When people realise the ACO uses you until they have wrung the last out off you and they don’t care. Those on FTRS well say no more.


When this happened to a friend of mine, the only support he got from above was the beam to attach said hempen rope to…

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I’ve read the TORs / mission statement / whatever it was meant to be for VoV - there’s nothing since its inception that I can say I have personally experienced or felt that was in line with the targets set in that document. There’s a few things that I can look at and say they’ve outright failed on so far.

Problem about support to Volunteers is that we are Volunteers.
The latest change in CFAV organisation was done to stop VR(T) access to the RAF grievance procedure.
As we are Volunteers, and not employees we do not have the right to have a Trade Union, which would support anyone under investigation.
The investigative procedure does not cover Malicious allegations, which it should!
As mentioned above, most people leave as they are treated Guilty from the start!!


But there is nothing to stop CFAVs forming a staff (volunteers) association to support people when this sort of thing happens. That would really worry HQAC that they may come against people who actually know the regulations and know how to present a case and defend themselves. Now with the changes in particular with the commission there is little HQAC can do to a ‘commissioned’ CFAV except dismiss them.

I would argue the '‘employee’s’ against ‘volunteer’ case.An employee is paid a renumeration for their service and pay tax and NI hence even on a daily basis are employed whereas a volunteer only claims out of pocket expenses, therefore in my mind uniform CFAVs are employed albeit 28 days a year. With the change of TaCs from ‘commisiioned’ CFAVs they should ask a union to represent them as they no longer I believe come under the Air Force Actand are not bound by its terms.


I would too, but HQAC are terrified about staff being defined as an employees This means minimum wage and pension implications, as well as the issue raised here, workers representation!
Article 11 of the Human Rights Act 1998 states “Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests”
There is an exemption to this for members of the Armed Forces and Police. But as we keep being told that we are no longer and never have been members of the Armed Forces, surely that does not apply?:thinking:
Imagine what fun it would cause if a trade union was mooted?!?!


One of my best friends has recently had this discussion with his accountant and the tax man…
She is preparing his personal tax return as she is self employed. The question is what income have you received through other employment (after her main job) and the accountant and the tax say if you are paid and in return pay NI and PAYE you are employed!
Interesting to see where this will finally take us in the years to come…

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But then the Police have the Police Federation, which I think they describe as an association…

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