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Chronus
28th Mar 2018, 19:56
When I read the government has announced that a more accountable system to support collective Cabinet decision-making is being introduced in the wake of the Chillcot report, it was the knock me over with a feather stick effect. What someone had actually read the report, all of it, all the 12 volumes, all the 2.6 million words in it !

The NSCR is to be published today but I have not yet managed to locate it anywhere amongst government publications. Reading the press reports it seems it is full of the usual political rhetoric. Nothing to do with real physical force capability, more to do with the usual political language capability.

I do wonder whether any mention is made in the document about conscription. Given that currently our armed forces comprise about 78,000 men and women. Perhaps the NSCR will conclude that as we have some 500,000 or so pen pusher civil servants, why bother with soldiers attacking straw bags with bayonets. We have more than enough to sort out this accountability problem.

messybeast
28th Mar 2018, 20:55
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-security-capability-review-nscr

VP959
28th Mar 2018, 21:13
Perhaps the NSCR will conclude that as we have some 500,000 or so pen pusher civil servants, why bother with soldiers attacking straw bags with bayonets. We have more than enough to sort out this accountability problem.

Worth noting that there are only a tiny number of "pen pusher" Civil Servants.

An example, my wife's a nurse, and a Civil Servant, working for the Army Primary Healthcare Service, helping to make sure soldiers of the British Army are looked after, kept well and healthy, along with their families. I guess that makes her, and all her colleagues, superfluous in your view, doesn't it?

Another example, I was a Civil Servant for almost my entire career. 22 years of that was involved with test flying, making sure that the aircraft and weapons our armed services use were capable of performing as required, and would keep them as safe as possible, whilst still able to keep operating, often long beyond their design life because of political cost constraints. I then moved on to manage different areas of defence research, ensuring that we kept our armed forces as technologically well equipped as our means allowed, perhaps not as well equipped as any of us would have really wanted, but blame the politicians for that, they always cut the budgets. I guess that makes me, and my couple of thousand colleagues doing the same work, equally superfluous in your view, does it?

Edited to add:

I guess you can add the couple of thousand scientists at Porton Down and the rest of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory to your list of of superfluous "pen pushers", together with the Ministry of Defence police, all the military range civilian support personnel, all the civilian military aircraft maintainer Civil Servants, all the military vehicle maintainers who are Civil Servants, those Civil Servants who maintain and victual the ships of the RN, all those Civil Servants that provide our security services, etc, etc.

Chronus
29th Mar 2018, 20:08
qUOTE VP959
"I guess that makes me, and my couple of thousand colleagues doing the same work, equally superfluous in your view, does it?"

No it does not. It makes it disproportionate.
Much like one bloke at the end of a spade digging a hole and 10 standing around to write down how long its taking, ticking all the boxes on a form, waiving the traffic, and holding onto a first aid kit, hoist, harness and rope in case he has dug too deep and cannot get out or has cut his little finger and needs a plaster in case he bleeds to death and his next of kin might sue for compensation and the HSE may impose a fine of a million or two on his employer.
Yes, that is precisely my point I do blame our politicians for wasting our hard earned taxes on "superflous" and supercillious pretences . To me defence means men and women trained, equipped, fit and ready for armed conflict. It is simply a question of numbers.

Thank you Messy for the link to the report. What`s an apparatus and Fusion, it all sounds so very scientific. Also is a Queen Elisabeth Class flat deck sort of a converted QE2.

G-CPTN
29th Mar 2018, 22:44
Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Elizabeth-class_aircraft_carrier).

Comes without aircraft . . .

VP959
30th Mar 2018, 07:59
qUOTE VP959
"I guess that makes me, and my couple of thousand colleagues doing the same work, equally superfluous in your view, does it?"

No it does not. It makes it disproportionate.
Much like one bloke at the end of a spade digging a hole and 10 standing around to write down how long its taking, ticking all the boxes on a form, waiving the traffic, and holding onto a first aid kit, hoist, harness and rope in case he has dug too deep and cannot get out or has cut his little finger and needs a plaster in case he bleeds to death and his next of kin might sue for compensation and the HSE may impose a fine of a million or two on his employer.
Yes, that is precisely my point I do blame our politicians for wasting our hard earned taxes on "superflous" and supercillious pretences . To me defence means men and women trained, equipped, fit and ready for armed conflict. It is simply a question of numbers.


The problem is that the majority of Civil Servants aren't "pen pushers" at all, they are doing a great deal of the work to support and maintain the military etc. The number of true "pen pushers" is a tiny proportion of the size of the Civil Service. For example, there are around 190,000 Civil Servants directly supporting the armed services, doing procurement, maintenance, battle damage assessment, support to battle simulations, operating and maintaining ranges and airfields, providing accurate met, oceanographic and topological data, directly training military personnel and carrying out research and development on everything from personal body armour to chemical weapons defence.

That's over a third of the number that you implied were just "pen pushers".

Krystal n chips
30th Mar 2018, 09:00
The problem is that the majority of Civil Servants aren't "pen pushers" at all, they are doing a great deal of the work to support and maintain the military etc. The number of true "pen pushers" is a tiny proportion of the size of the Civil Service. For example, there are around 190,000 Civil Servants directly supporting the armed services, doing procurement, maintenance, battle damage assessment, support to battle simulations, operating and maintaining ranges and airfields, providing accurate met, oceanographic and topological data, directly training military personnel and carrying out research and development on everything from personal body armour to chemical weapons defence.

That's over a third of the number that you implied were just "pen pushers".

To an extent that's true with regard to military support roles, but less so when the overall administration of Gov't Departments by the Civil Service is concerned.

This is also interesting to read however.

"Another example, I was a Civil Servant for almost my entire career. 22 years of that was involved with test flying, making sure that the aircraft and weapons our armed services use were capable of performing as required, and would keep them as safe as possible, whilst still able to keep operating, often long beyond their design life because of political cost constraints. I then moved on to manage different areas of defence research, ensuring that we kept our armed forces as technologically well equipped as our means allowed, perhaps not as well equipped as any of us would have really wanted, but blame the politicians for that, they always cut the budgets. I guess that makes me, and my couple of thousand colleagues doing the same work, equally superfluous in your view, does it

There was a previous mention of some 43 types, which is a not insignificant amount, of experience and, this being an aviation site, people would be interested to learn what they were, where the flights were conducted from, the T.T. on types..... and in what capacity.

As a graduate of ETPS perhaps?, a qualified Flight Test Engineer?, and more interesting still, perhaps as a signatory to the Design and Airworthiness Authority to enable the operation of aircraft involved in test flying to continue ?.

Chronus
30th Mar 2018, 20:27
VP I was alluding to the "tooth to tail " ratio. It seemed to me the tail was wagging the dog.

Ron Manager
30th Mar 2018, 23:38
Could you give a source for the numbers youíve quoted please? MoDís own stats show about 190,000 in HM Forces (137,000 full time) and about 56,000 MoD civil servants, which doesnít seem too close to the situation you portray.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/681512/201801_-_SPS.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/660158/QCPR_October_2017-Publication-Revised.pdf

VP959
31st Mar 2018, 08:16
Could you give a source for the numbers you’ve quoted please? MoD’s own stats show about 190,000 in HM Forces (137,000 full time) and about 56,000 MoD civil servants, which doesn’t seem too close to the situation you portray.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/681512/201801_-_SPS.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/660158/QCPR_October_2017-Publication-Revised.pdf

You're right, it was my fault for trusting Wikipedia data because I was in a rush (there's a lesson there - never trust Wikipedia!) rather than find the government data. Wikipedia is miles out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_service


United Kingdom

Main articles: Civil Service (United Kingdom), Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service, and Northern Ireland Civil Service

A breakdown by department of civil servants employed in the United Kingdom in 2013

The civil service in the United Kingdom only includes Crown (i.e. central government) employees, not parliamentary employees or local government employees. Public sector employees such as those in education and the NHS are not considered to be civil servants. Police officers and staff are also not civil servants. Total employment in the public sector in the UK was 6.04 million in 2012 according to UK Statistics office[25]

The number shown represents the number of thousands of people who are employed. 278 is 278,000 people.

https://s18.postimg.org/e0563hjc9/A_CS_table.jpg

Civil servants in the devolved government in Northern Ireland are not part of the Home Civil Service, but constitute the separate Northern Ireland Civil Service. Some employees of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are members of HM Diplomatic Service, which is associated with but separate from the Civil Service.


Looks like the Wiki data is seriously in error for some reason (Sorry, cant get the table to format here properly so I've had to paste it in as an image)

Ron Manager
31st Mar 2018, 14:29
It looks like the Wiki table is the sum of the full-time HM Forces personnel and the MoD Civil Servants (137,000 + 56,000). In any case it is nowhere near the 500,000 that the original poster was so upset about!
Chronus: "I was alluding to the "tooth to tail " ratio. It seemed to me the tail was wagging the dog."
If the ratio was 6.4 civil servants to each serviceman, as your figures implied, you might be right...but the actual ratio is more like 0.43 civil servants per serviceman. It's also worth remembering that many of those civil servants will be in posts which were formerly held by servicemen, but have been civilianised to save money in previous Defence Reviews - so getting rid of the CS will lead to a loss of capability, or more expensive servicemen having to fill the roles again.

VP959
31st Mar 2018, 15:04
It's also worth remembering that many of those civil servants will be in posts which were formerly held by servicemen, but have been civilianised to save money in previous Defence Reviews - so getting rid of the CS will lead to a loss of capability, or more expensive servicemen having to fill the roles again.

Very true. For a short time I was the Divisional Officer for 20 RN personnel in two trials teams, when an RN Lieutenant post was removed and his post civilianised (as were the trials teams some time later). It was pretty bizarre at times, as I had no military rank, yet they had to treat me in most respects as if I did, so I got called "sir", but was never saluted. Luckily I had a very experienced Fleet Chief working for me, who dealt with pretty much all the military related issues. The only one I had to deal with was a disciplinary, where two lads had been caught fighting, where I interviewed them (with the Fleet Chief standing in) and then took his advice to send them down to Commander Air, to be called to his desk to be dealt with.

Later on, mixed service/civilian teams became normal, and still are I think. I filled a post for a time that was held on a rotating basis by either an RAF Group Capt, a civilian B1, an RN Captain or an Army Colonel, managing a team that was around 50/50 military/civilian, with a fair few of those jobs being interchangeable between either. My boss at that time was an RN Commodore, but could as easily have been a civilian 1*, as it was another flexible desk job.

Chronus
31st Mar 2018, 19:29
Quote RM :" more expensive servicemen having to fill the roles again"

It is true, its been termed "street to fleet"
https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/766183/Royal-Navy-plug-staff-shortage-urgent-plea-ex-sailors

VP the salute is for the uniform, not for the man inside it and not for the bowler hat am afraid.

VP959
31st Mar 2018, 19:54
VP the salute is for the uniform, not for the man inside it and not for the bowler hat am afraid.

Yes, I knew that, but it was being called "sir" all the time, even by the Fleet Chief, that really grated. I'd always been on first name terms with everyone I worked with, including my bosses, and being told, very firmly, that I had to use ranks when addressing people in my own teams, and accept being called "sir" all the time was a bit alien.

Thankfully, by the time I took the B1 job a few years later, things had relaxed, and ranks were pretty much ignored 99% of the time. It made for a heck of a lot better atmosphere in general, except with my PA. She was an ex-Army admin lady, and fantastically well-organised, to the point that she'd get in early, look out the window watching my parking slot, then she'd rush off to make sure that I had a fresh cup of tea on my desk, together with a stack of carefully tagged folders for all the day's activities, with a briefing sheet and timetable for the day pinned on top.

All a bit OTT in my view, but she was a bit set in her ways, and ignored any attempts I made to try and make things a bit less formal.

Allan H
1st Apr 2018, 21:41
Yes, I knew that, but it was being called "sir" all the time, even by the Fleet Chief, that really grated. I'd always been on first name terms with everyone I worked with, including my bosses, and being told, very firmly, that I had to use ranks when addressing people in my own teams, and accept being called "sir" all the time was a bit alien.

There is a fair bit of acting in the services. Officers play the part of officers - NCO 's play the part of NCO's. Some play the part of hero. Some play dead.
In my experience it is the NCO's who make it all work.

VP959
2nd Apr 2018, 08:42
In my experience it is the NCO's who make it all work.

Exactly my experience! Without that very competent Fleet Chief years ago I'd have been completely lost. Similarly, years later when looking after a big mixed team, if I wanted the most honest and reliable answer I'd ask one of the Warrant Officers or Sergeants, who between them knew more about the day to day operational side than any of the officers.

Chronus
2nd Apr 2018, 16:48
The issues facing the Defence of the Realm has been addressed in :

“Filling the Ranks” A Report for the Prime Minister on the State of Recruiting into the United Kingdom Armed Forces by the Rt Hon Mark Francois MP July 2017.

It can be found at :

https://www.markfrancois.com/sites/www.markfrancois.com/files/2017-09/Filling%20the%20Ranks%20-%20Report%20on%20the%20State%20of%20Recruiting%20into%20the% 20United%20Kingdom%20Armed%20Forces%20-%20by%20the%20Rt%20Hon%20Mark%20Francois%20MP%2026.07.17.pdf

What has the government done about it, anything ?