Fresh from my Squadron Commanders course and working on terms and references for the Squadron staff I came across something that I wanted to ask others for their thoughts on. In the Policy documents and other Training Instructions on SharePoint I didn’t find many references to Squadron role names, i.e. “xyz activity officer”. I didn’t even find one for “Training Officer” although I did skim a little. The only actual references I found are for SATTO, in ACATI 002, First Aid Instructor, Adjutant of course and Health and Safety Co-ordinator… (NOT Officer). Of course there are WING officers of various descriptions. I found a solitary reference to Squadron Radio Officer but not in an organisational reference, most other references were to radio officer in charge (unit, activity etc).
So, is there an official theory or guideline about how the Squadron allocates names, such as Radio Officer, Sports Officer, Fieldcraft Officer and such like, or is it all to satisfy ego’s or make people feel more responsible if they have a posh name. Are the names comparable to the responsibility they suggest or would the OC Squadron be better detailing a name that fits the person rather than the role.
For example, someone BEL qualified might have originally been labelled the SATTO but if they do not do all the Bader responsibilities, carry out the terms and reference details on ACATI 002 such as promoting AT in the Squadron, liaising with the WATTO etc, but you would trust them with your own kids if they were out in the wild leading an expedition. Would it be better to label them with Adventure Training Instructor and either ensure the other responsibilities are carried out by staff who are prepared and able to do it, i.e. yourself, the adjutant, or just leave as well is, regardless of whether they meat the terms and reference responsibilities and therefore fail automatically as the SATTO?
Sorry for making it sound long winded and technical but its just if we are to issue terms and references and ensure that future appraisals are fair and worthwhile it seems appropriate to start off with achievable ones and accurate names rather than label everyone an officer ic of something often mundane, (tuck shop officer etc).
Any thoughts? Thanks.
Work out what needs doing and who’s prepared to do it; then worry about what you’re going to call each person later.
As you say, the problem with assigning a specific duty role to an individual is that it implies a certain fixed set of duties, some of which may be best carried out by someone else.
It seems to me that ATF are causing massive duplication of efforts by pushing the idea of staff TORs the way that they are, regardless of their usefulness. Do they provide draft TORs to use as a basis by squadrons?
Over the years I’ve toyed with all sorts of role titles on Squadron to suit what is the ideal or to suit the staff team at the time. It’s very much down to the dynamics of the individual squadron.
For example, the role of adjutant on a large squadron is about as much work as a full time job! At times I have had staff who are able to handle the full workload of adjutant but other times (like now) I have a shift worker as my adjutant. Therefore I have also appointed two CIs underneath him as Assistant Adjutant and Events Coordinator to share the workload out. I have done the similar with the Training Officer.
At the moment I have:
- Adjutant (personnel, correspondence, h&s)
— Assistant Adjutant (accounts, subs, routine admin)
— Events Coordinator (forecast of events, advertising info, pipes etc)
- Training Officer (staff development, classification exams, training opportunities)
— Careers Officer (deals with recruitment, btecs, work experience)
— NCO Training Programme
- Sqn Warrant Officer (3 D’s)
- Supply Officer (stores, issues, inventory, demands)
Along side the ‘organisation’ roles each person also has training roles, e.g. First aid, adventure training, shooting, navigation, aviation etc. this way everyone shares a bit of the admin and still get exposure to the cadet training - Nobody joins the ATC just to do paperwork!
I have just recently taken over a squadron I was previous a cadet at and I have been busy chasing staff who are non-attenders who’ve actually been very enthusiastic about returning to the unit. I’ve also had two new CIs join so although I allocated the above roles, I have to have another shuffle to ensure everyone has something to do!
There are two documents that may help you write up your Terms of Reference:
- ACP42 - Staff Cadet Part 2 Training (now defunct but still has very good info including org charts)
- ACTO94 - Junior Officer Development (goes through lots about the executive roles on the Sqn)
Our Wg did - needed a few minor amendments to cater for individual aspects, but not a problem for me to have something that specifies duties/responsibilities.
we have done pretty much what Matt suggested, looked at what needs doing and who is willing to do i
so we have
Dept AT Officer (specifically DofE)
First Class Training Officer (leads the first class training, but doesnt teach it all, maintains who needs what training etc)
Dept Shooting Officer
Training Officer (includes Ultilearn)
in that list most are double hatting, with the Deputies it is a case of equal qualifications, or experience (BEL, DofE Assessor, WI/SAAI etc) between two or more Staff so one is nominated as the lead and the other deputy.
we have no set TORs for each role, simply if it falls under the remit of the “Office” than that “Officer” deals with it. so questions from parents regarding recruitiment dealt with by the First Class trianing Officer
Comms courses dealt with by the Comms Officer,
Fieldcraft weekends, the FC Officer,
flying opportunities the Flying Officer etc etc
although we are keen to press that attendance at the events isnt expected simply because of the “Office” held. so the Shooting officer isnt expected to attend every opportunity but is expected to deal with the paperwork in nominating Cadets, collecting JIs and then updating SMS post event.
the Sports Officer having very much the same role with others a variation on the same theme
these are the “Cadet facing” roles (other than H&S).
with other “coordinator” roles appointed for specific events (which typically are Sqn events rather than Wing organised courses/opportunities) for example the Christmas Bag pack which i take the lead on i refer to myself in correspondance with the store as “Sqn Bag Pack Coordinator”, the WO takes the lead on our annual review and so take on the “Annual Review Coordinator” title
as there are only 2 umiformed staff and two CIs who cannot commit the minimun; the ubiformed staff tend to do some of everything. TORs then go out the window as thing get done as and when. :lol:
Somewhere on sharepoint 861 sqn uploaded a whole bag of TOR’s for various roles.
I will be honest. After 30 years of management level career I was really surprised at the “looseness” of appointing people, often unqualified and untrained, into various roles with no way of actually determining how they are doing. I have always had a job description, or TOR, call it what you will, and have sat appraisals for my work or done appraisals for “direct reports” that have opened my eyes, motivated me or made me change job!
Having said that now I am passing out TOR’s I feel a lot better because not only will it give me an indication of who is really able to do what they say, and not what they want but also it will offer me a chance to see excellence and pat people on the back, which I think as an organisation we often overlook. (My 2p’s worth).
I really want to get away from having 100 different names for every role in the Squadron. I only have 3 or 4 staff, some only interested in one activity, without the trimmings, such as doing fitness training but not wanting to attend sports events or trials. I have no issue with that, its all volunteering anyway. But to call that person the sports officer is clearly wrong. Additionally in the ACTPEDI’s it is stated the officer ic sports should be an officer or adult SNCO and in the organisational list no mention is made of a Squadron Sports Officer however there is a Squadron sports committee listed. Confusing and vague.
Should we as an organisation actually have a definitive list of roles, with generic terms of reference? Just a thought.
i was at a Sqn like that when i was a Cadet. We had a CO, WO, and two CIs, fortunately they were all regular attendees
to add to my comments above
we have Cadet NCOs who have some matching roles based on their experience or simply to offer them a responsibility
typically the NCO who has got a GS Silver Wings will be the Flying NCO
NCO whith a Marksman will be the Shooting NCO
and like the Staff they coordinate the activity. so the Staff would advertise it to Sqn as a whole and then deligate tasks (collecting names, TG forms, briefings etc) to “their” NCO
just like the Staff the NCO is not expected to attend each event, but they are the “key contact” for the Cadets to see first. it has helped simple generic questions being asked in the Office by Cadets, as the NCO can be a filter to such questions
Some NCO roles this include some the Staff dont have, such as Parades, public events and Courses, where a SNCO is typically assigned given they are most likely to have attended the courses, parades or events
No, I got draft OC TORS but was told it was a good idea to have others for other positions. I stole them from sharepoint cough 861 sqn cough
Thank goodness for 861 (Wideopen) Sqn!
I think that having it written down who is going to do what is a good idea - but I think that rather than grouping all of the tasks together into a role and then assigning it to an individual, you’re better off compiling a complete list of everything and then assigning it to whoever is best suited - and ideally with someone who knows what’s happening when that person isn’t present.
Fixed TORs and positions may work well on an an established military unit with a precise structure and manning - I think as a voluntary organisation with wildly varying staff levels, abilities, commitment levels and requirements we need to be much more flexible!
Before doing it I asked my staff if they thought it would be useful, and they unanimously agreed that having it written down would be beneficial.
I was slightly shocked as I expected a backlash, but knowing who is responsible for what can’t be a bad thing.
I think it’s certainly worthwhile being specific about the responsibilities.
For example, if you give someone the role of ‘training officer’ they may think that means simply deciding what to do each night on a weekly basis.
On the other hand you may consider that it should require a 6 monthly training plan and that the training officer will be responsible for administering classification exams (and all that entails - Ultilearn, SMS, ordering certificates and badges); loading people onto courses; providing all staff with whatever they need to teach their lessons/run their activities.
By having something written down it takes out much of the guess work and lets everyone know what they need to do, and who else is responsible for other areas which may cross-over.
It also means that if someone isn’t fulfilling that role you’ve got some clear lines within which to address it.
i couldnt agree more and why when we last discussed roles on Squadron it was an open forum. the CO distributed the agenda with his provisional suggestions to begin with. some we didnt agree with and was changed.
there is no point giving a task to someone who has no interest, skill or experience in it and why when looking at Staff and what they bring to the team the “titles” write themselves as they are typically best suited to it.
the two weapons quals Staff pick up shooting, the three BEL Staff pick up AT and DofE, the Staff member on the Wing Radio team takes Comms, etc etc