Volunteer Software Development Team - New Cadet Portal


An interesting email today from the Bader account, asking for software developers to give up time outside of what one already gives when volunteering for the organisation. Perhaps I am being a bit sensitive considering this is what I do for a day job.

But would HQAC ask for any RAFAC volunteers who are electricians, if they wouldn’t mind fitting in some new electrical sockets at HQAC for free, or perhaps seeing if there are any RAFAC solicitors who wouldn’t mind going in for a few days to give some free and binding legal advice? Perhaps there are architects who are RAFAC staff who wouldn’t mind drafting up new extension plans for HQAC and getting them approved, all for free of course in their own time. They have even specified that you won’t be able to claim VA for any work.

Surely this is taking liberties on the generosity of the volunteers in the organisation. I’m sure someone will apply, and no doubt it will look good on the CV, but asking for professional contribution doesn’t sit right with me. They would probably get better results going down the open software route if they are wanting something doing for free.


This is a team of volunteers, led by a volunteer, asking for help from volunteers. HQAC probably could say no and try and find the money from somewhere to pay people at the expense of other things in the organisation. And then you’d get what they decide and not what will be wanted or useful.

I think you’re being overly negative and gloomy. It’s a positive, and anyway a lot of the work has already been done.


I know the individual who sent the email and as mentioned, he is an unpaid volunteer. He is after help to help the cadets in the long run and in case you’ve forgotten, that’s why we are here… for the cadets!


Surely that’s like saying “I’m a health and safety practitioner professionally but I am not doing risk assessments for the ATC because they are not going to pay me to do it”? Or a bus driver refusing to drive a minibus…or an IT professional refusing to build a flight simulator at the Sqn or help out with maintaining a computer…or an outward bound instructor refusing to do adventure training…I could go on.

Also, if you read the attachment, it says that you are able to claim VA for authorised activities related to the project - which I assume means things like meetings or away from home activities.


If you’re uninterested, delete the email and move on.

This looks like a chance to be part of a team who are going to move the RAFAC into the 21st century - this opportunity won’t come around very often and I’m sure it will appeal to plenty of people. Stop being so negative.


Morning All,

I am said volunteer and the team and I were wondering when news of this announcement would reach ACC.

ACC can be a highly positive resource and I am hoping that it will be in this case. I understand, to an extent, peoples scepticism towards what I have asked - we fully appreciate that we are asking already busy volunteers to give more time outside of their normal duties and responsibilities to contribute. However, if you can get beyond that it is my hope that you will come to appreciate that this is a genuine, really exciting opportunity.

I am very happy to try to answer any questions that you may have about the advertisement and feel free to drop me a PM if you are not comfortable asking on the open threads or via the official Bader email channels.




Just be wary.
IIRC the person who initially developed bader was a volunteer. He was allowed to do all the work and then got royally dumped on by HQAC and RC(N) at the time. Might have been that simple but it was how it was put across.


Thank you and I appreciate the advice. I have known the gentleman in question for a long time and I am fully briefed up on how the Bader project went and his personal experience :slight_smile:


Well he did get that flight in the back of a Tornado our of it. :joy:


Fixed that for you.


What’s Will doing these days, James?


I to am weary about volunteers developing such a critical piece of infrastructure for the RAFAC. I to remember the beginnings of BADER and how it was done on the cheap and to the detriment of the volunteer concerned who when all said and done was treated very poorly.

Anything to do with the infrastructure of the organisation should not be the job of the volunteer it should be done by salaried staff or contractors with experience with deadlines and deliverables and penalty clauses.

The volunteers in the RAFAC are to look after the cadets and look after the staff. If a properly trained and certified electrician cannot put a new socket in a sqn how can the volunteer build software for the corps?


The volunteers can decide themselves how to focus their skills and expertise and whether they can fit that round their other schedules. We all know that HQAC has neither the resources nor the insight to move projects like this forward.

As a volunteer not involved with coding, I am grateful that there are people out there working to improve the way we work to the benefit of all.


Hi Gunner - see PMs :slight_smile:


HQAC will let people run with ideas and do things because they are clueless, unless it involves inventing a form to fill or tick box list to complete.
However once it is in place they will take it over, get rid of the volunteers who have done all the work by side lining them and then it will become a total mess.

Because it suits them to allow it and they can bend / adjust the rules to suit their purpose. It will be interesting if the software needs to get into some of the precious MOD systems and then we’ll see how much they let them do.


The same people who complain about volunteers being leant on, would you also complain that the talent pool isn’t being tapped?

I’ve done things for HQAC before and was happy to, at the end of the day it may mean my effort has the maximum impact.


If it means we get something that works first time and is easy to use, I’m all for it!
I would volunteer, but the only code I know contains dots and dashes!!


Hi Guys and Gals,

I am reading the comments coming through with interest but I am not intending to get into a debate about the rights and wrongs of the past.

All I will say is:

Most of the people commenting (i.e. staff l) will not have a need, and indeed the ability, to access the Cadet Portal - because it’s not for you lot, it’s for the organisations primary customers, the cadets.

HQAC and our project sponsor have been incredibly supportive of the project and us as individuals in the team.

Best wishes,



On the topic of the portal itself I think it’s a great idea.

My only concern would be how many of the attachments the cadets get to see on activities. Although parents may like to see risk assessments I doubt the cadets do! And nobody’s going to want to read TOPL letters! Is there going to be any provision to hide attachments from cadet access? I’d also be concerned about cadets having access to personal details that are sometimes on nominal rolls like whether or not cadets or their families are in receipt of benefits etc.

All in all though I think it’s a massive step in the right direction and am looking forward to it coming into use.


Don’t worry. It’s all been taken care of