To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many different types of contracts there are for the Reserve Forces; and what the difference between those contacts is.
The Reserve Forces Act 1996 (RFA 96) describes two Reserve Forces: Volunteer Reserves and Regular Reserves. It also makes provision for “special members”, commonly known as Sponsored Reserves, where employers enter into capability contracts with the Ministry of Defence, providing for some or all of their employees to be mobilised when the operational need arises.
Volunteer Reserves accept an annual training commitment and a liability for call-out for permanent service. All serve on Reserve Service Days (RSDs). Pay is attendance-based. Annual training is comprised of continuous training (which is a unit camp or an attachment or course involving one or more periods not exceeding 16 days per annum) and non-continuous training (which can take place at any time, but normally at weekends and training nights). Each Service mandates the number of RSDs required under obligatory training to achieve a Certificate of Efficiency and therefore qualify for a training bounty.
Section 27 of RFA 96 enables Reservists to undertake Voluntary Training or Other Duties (VTOD). Volunteer Reservists can also agree to maintain a higher level of readiness (the High Readiness Reserve) for which they are paid a premium to their annual bounty. They can also agree to enter into a formal commitment to undertake Defence work either as an Additional Duties Commitment (ADC) or on Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS).
An ADC is a formal binding commitment under Section 25 of RFA 96, under which a Reservist commits to perform specified duties for a specified period or periods ranging between 16 days and a maximum of 180 days in any 12 month period. ADC may include duties outside the UK and service alongside any of the Regular Services. Pay is attendance-based.
Section 24 of RFA96 provides for Reservists to undertake periods of FTRS, performing specified duties for a specified period with a continuous liability for duty. There are three types of FTRS commitment, each with a different liability, and the type of commitment offered to the reservist is determined by the liability required. These are:
Full Commitment (FC): an individual on FTRS (FC) is fully deployable without the need to be mobilised.
Limited Commitment: these Reservists fulfil a full range of duties based in one location (which may be overseas) and have a liability for compulsory detachment in the UK or overseas which is limited to a total of 35 days in any one year, with no single detachment lasting in excess of 21 days. If detached to a theatre of operations they must first be mobilised.
Home Commitment: these Reservists fulfil a full range of duties appropriate to the post in a single, restricted location but with a liability for compulsory detachment limited to training periods and other limited duties specified in the individual’s FTRS commitment. Detachment does not extend to travel to a theatre of operations unless mobilised.
FTRS is a fixed term commitment, and can be short-term or long-term. Conditions of Service for each type of commitment are detailed in single Service regulations. A Reservist will normally be given, or be required to give, three to six months’ notice of termination if they wish to end the commitment early but a commitment can be terminated at any time by mutual consent. The Service can terminate an FTRS commitment at any time. There is no redundancy policy. The basic pay (i.e. without X-factor) of a Reservist on FTRS is the same as that of a Regular, with X-factor set at either 0, 5, or 14.5% depending upon the commitment.
Special members of the Reserve Forces, commonly known as Sponsored Reserves, differ from other members of the military as they are employed at all times through the contractor and only receive relevant military training to allow them to survive, operate and perform their contracted task as military personnel in an operational environment. This varies depending on the environments in which they are contracted to operate. Section 40 of RFA 96 sets out the liability of Sponsored Reserves to be called out or to train. Pay and conditions of service for Sponsored Reserves are determined by their contract of employment with their employer.
The Regular Reserve Force comprises the Royal Fleet Reserve, Army Regular Reserve and Royal Air Force Regular Reserve. Members of this Reserve Force are all former Regular members of the Armed Forces. Many retain a liability to be called out for service, the duration of which is determined by their previous contract type, length of Regular service and reason for leaving. Some are available to provide specialist capability for a limited time after leaving Regular service; all form a strategic reserve for resilience and regeneration of our Armed Forces in case of national crisis. In general, ex-Regular Reservists have only been called upon to support routine operations if they have volunteered or when volunteer reservists have not been available.