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London allowance to go

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London allowance to go

Old 25th Jan 2012, 11:17
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London allowance to go

So another shaving away of the peripheral benefits and another squeeze on staff that have had enough:

BBC News - Ministry of Defence cuts armed forces' London allowance

Doesn't seem to square with other news articles detailing financial impropriety to the tune of £5bn!

BBC News - MPs brand compulsory armed forces job cuts 'grotesque'

Good job the hard working middle ranks can contribute their London allowance to the spending black hole. I especially like that the decision is made by those senior grandees who tend to live in grace-and-favour property with a driver and possibly access to a 'private' jet! They probably find their costs actually decline living in London with all the free stuff!

At least corporals and below are spared...
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 14:17
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Nibbled to death by ducks!

I recall a Flt Lt single parent who worked for me once in "the shires" who got posted to Uxbridge. Told me that childcare would cost three times as much - and then there's car (and everything else) insurance.....
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 14:44
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I was fascinated to read the statement that Civil Servants are more flexible than the Military. Personally I spent more than 30 years in the "General Duties Branch" of the RAF.
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 14:51
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Me too, Caz. I could fly a jet, sit behind a desk, do tactical research, process int, teach large package tactics, run exercises, evaluate weapons deliveries.... All the CSs I knew could only do one of those things.

(No, not THAT one!)
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 15:01
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Oh I love non stories in the media, particularly when dealt with by people who don’t really understand what they were saying. This is a classic case of PUS not being particularly clear, and then being selectively misquoted to suit the ends of the media who love a good ‘evil idiot civil servant’ story.

What the PUS was trying to say, but just not very eloquently, is that there has been no need to impose mandatory job losses yet on the MOD CS because they have been overwhelmed by applicants wanting to leave (15000 last year for barely 5000 places). I still expect to see further compulsory redundancies as the MOD has to shrink to at least 53000 and possibly 44000 in the next 5 years.

To give some context for the MOD cuts, at present the MOD CS is losing more staff by 2015 than all of the armed forces combined are expected to lose by 2020 – 1 in 3 of us are losing our jobs.

Before people go on about redundancy payments, I did the sums and worked out that my military peer, who sits alongside me would get nearly 3 times the lump sum that I'd get in the event of compulsory redundancy. When you add in the broadly higher pay that the forces receive, and you quickly realise that the idea that the military is being seen off compared to the CS is just a myth.

When she said flexible, I suspect she meant that it is easier to move CS to posts around the country in a general manpower plot. We did this a while ago, but essentially the CS operates as a vast mixyblob of staff, broken down purely by grade – subject to a slightly odd job vacancy procedure, anyone can apply for any advertised job in their grade. So, you could theoretically move London – Scotland – Devonport doing 3 very different jobs. This is unlikely, but what it means is that as most CS jobs tend to be quite similar, its easier to cross appoint a manager of paperclips at RAF little Snoring to become manager of paperclips and photocopiers at an Army barracks in Scotland.

The difference between this and the forces is that the forces branch structures are much smaller, and except at entry level require much more complex technical training. So, while you could theoretically take an infantry sgt, tell him he’s being made redundant, but then tell him he can apply to retrain as a REME Sgt, I’d suggest it would take a long time for him to retrain to the professional skills required to do the job properly.

This is what Ursula was trying to get at – Armed Forces personnel are highly trained in very technical skills. They operate in small branches with manpower worked out to offer a career structure to people coming through the system. While it is feasible for them to retrain, it would take a long time to do so, and would cost a lot of money, and lead to a black hole of manpower emerging as experienced staff went back to near basic training to learn a new job. The CS by contrast is mainly technically unskilled office work, which requires staffing skills, but rarely technical knowledge. As such it is easier to move CS around the country to new locations to try new jobs because it won’t take 2-3 years to retrain them to do this.

Longer blog piece on this later, but it’s another example of people chosing not to understand the message they’ve been told.
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 15:05
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but it’s another example of people chosing not to understand the message they’ve been told
I certainly did!
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 15:13
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Longer blog piece on this later, but it’s another example of people chosing not to understand the message they’ve been told.
Playing devil's advocate, does that include the Defence Select Committee then?
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 15:26
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I would suggest that there has been some selective use of the evidence put to them, in order to make a partisan point. I don't think that the choice of phrase 'more flexible' was sensible, in fact I think it was bloody awful as a phrase, but I can see the logic behind the idea that its much harder to retrain highly skilled and hugely technical people in one branch, and then expecting them to work at an equivalent level in another - its akin to asking a sea king maintainer to suddenly go and become a watchkeeper on a nuclear submarine. It could be done, but would take a long time to retrain to the necessary level. The majority of MOD CS have jobs which are more process based, and as such rely on skills which are broadly transferable, requiring less retraining time. If you can count blankets in one base, you can fairly easily stack paperclips in another.

I would suggest that a better phrase would have been 'MOD CS work in an environment where the majority rely on process rather than technical skills, and it is easier to transfer them around posts without extensive technical retraining or damaging career structures'.
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 16:03
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"A classic case of PUS not being particularly clear"

If that is the case then he should NOT be in that Post!!
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 16:28
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Finger on that pulse as always cats. Keep riding that outrage bus.
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 16:40
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Funny, when I was posted to Northolt in 1996 I was told that London allowence had been scrapped (But CS still got it). My Oppo who travelled from lyneham every day still got it while we who lived at Ruislip went without.
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 16:43
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When I worked at Cranwell the AVM Commandant had a Sqn Ldr PSO, a Flt Lt ADC, a Cpl Driver, a secretary, a Butler, a cook a nanny and a Gardener and an entertainment allowance

He was posted to MOD in an AVM post and lived in a Wg Cdr quarter at Hornchurch and went to work every day, several stations down the District Line. Move must have cost him £10K in the mid-60s
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 17:15
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Yet apparently a civil servant will have a significant part of his/her mortgage paid for several years should he/she choose to move from the sticks to the smoke and buy a new shoebox to live in

Or have I been waaaah'd?
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 17:25
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Jimlad:

When PMA relocated from Innsworth to Walters Ash, how many flexible CS also made the move?.......................
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 17:50
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There's flexibility and there's flexibility.

Prior to joining the MOD, Ursula was Deputy Permanent Secretary and Director General Corporate Performance at the Ministry of Justice from April to September 2008, having previously led the review to create the structure for the new Ministry of Justice.
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 18:10
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"Yet apparently a civil servant will have a significant part of his/her mortgage paid for several years should he/she choose to move from the sticks to the smoke and buy a new shoebox to live in"

Part waahed - there used to be a system whereby if you were moving location, then you could get some financial support to assist you for a limited period of time if you had to move house and family.

The issue with this was tapering of payments, so by all means get a mortgage £200K beyond your means, but be prepared to pay for it in a couple of years. The other means of support was to pay rent for a flat up to a certain ceiling, and all basic bills, but no food allowance.

Nowadays these moves have all but vanished - its incredibly rare to find anyone who gets a move package now, and almost all jobs require the new occupant to move location at their own cost with zero financial support.

So, if hypothetically I wanted to take a two year post in Bristol to broaden my horizons and skills, I'd be required to pay all the moving costs to get a new house in Bristol, and then all the moving costs 2 years later to move back. Alternatively I could spend 2 years commuting, with no support available, or I could rent a flat at my own cost and pay for it in addition o my own place. In other words, I can do what I want provided I pay for it. There are some limited exceptions to this, but they are rare and hard to come by.

Were the terms and conditions currently applied to CS extended to the military, then I predict a minor riot...
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 19:27
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Jimlad
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 22:50
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The loss of this allowance, the bulk of Home to Duty for train travel over the next 2 years, the lack of any quarters anywhere near MoD, the loss of INVOLSEP status if living alone away from the family in a pokey London bedsit, the linking of the quarters problem and loss of INVOLSEP to eligibility for Continuity of Education Allowance making it unworkable, made me realise that enough was enough; I PVR'd and stuck 2 fingers up to a choice job in CAS's outer office and serving out the next 10 years of guaranteed employment.

I now have a nice lump sum in the bank paying for my kid's education, a job and life far less stressful, the ability to see my child grow up without enforced 6 month holidays every 2-3 years and when my pension is added to my current salary I earn nearly as much without the [email protected]! Quite simply, the erosion of all of these pay/allowances payment meant that the Queen's Shilling has devalued to the worth of Greek Govt Bonds in recent times - Military Covenant, you must be kidding!

No wonder there were no officer aircrew redundancies in the latest Redundancy announcement - most of us are, have been, or are about to f^ck off in droves! Measures like this only serve to make that decision so much easier. Just wait for further erosion of Flying Pay Terms and Conditions and the new Armed Forces Pension Scheme and that will see off the remainder clinging on hoping things will get better sometime soon - sadly I fear that Occam's Razor will apply.

LJ
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