Armed Forces Personnel Policies

House of Lords written question – answered on 10th February 2003.

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Photo of Lord Merlyn-Rees Lord Merlyn-Rees Labour

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress has been made with the appraisal of initial training of recruits across the armed services.

Photo of Lord Bach Lord Bach Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Procurement)

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces (Mr Ingram) announced on 17 October 2002 (Official Report, col. 571) in another place that we had commissioned an appraisal of the initial training of recruits across the armed services and we undertook to publish findings. This appraisal was conducted by two senior officers from outside the personnel area and reported to Ministers. The leader of the study was given a wide-ranging remit and freedom to pursue the study.

Overall, the appraisal concluded that the department can have considerable confidence in the initial training system. It is administered and staffed by professional men and women with a strong sense of duty and purpose who have proved consistently successful in providing highly effective training for 23,000 recruits a year. Two areas were judged to need addressing. First, the department as a responsible employer needs to continue to ensure that its young people are managed proficiently, treated fairly and given appropriate levels of professional and personal support. Second, the department requires more rigorous assurance mechanisms to provide regular monitoring, to expose risk and to promote best practice. The appraisal concluded that an assurance authority should be established outside the single-service chains of command. Some of these proposals will require extra investment.

We are today placing in the Library of the House a copy of the appraisal, together with a departmental action plan responding to all of the recommendations and, where action is not already in hand or planned, assigning responsibility for examining the recommendation and taking it forward. The report is also available on the website:

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