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Service Manning

Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 19 June 2003, Official Report, column 349W, on service manning, if he will list the trades within the critical manning groups of the Army including the (a) requirement, (b) shortfall and (c) percentage manned. [122116]

The following table lists the latest available figures (as at 31 March 2003) for the key trades within the critical manning groups of the Army. The critical manning levels of each trade is calculated by the Arms and Service Directors against various evolving requirements, including commitments. Thus, trades considered to be at critical manning and the factors affecting them will change from time to time.

Soldier arm/service and tradeLiabilityTrained strengthShortfallPercentage manned
Royal Corps of Signals
Information systems operator27716711060.3
Systems engineer technician5675145390.6
Specialist operator32522812470.1
Royal Logistic Corps
Ammunition technician3442687677.9
Movement controller3683313789.9
Petroleum operator2571916674.3
Army Medical Services
Royal Army veterinary corps dog trainer110892180.9
Burns/plastic surgeon42250.0
Orthopaedic surgeon118372.7
General surgeon1610662.5
General medical practitioner1971009750.8
General duties registered nurse (officer)3502846681.1
General duties registered nurse (soldier)32518414156.6
Accident and emergency nurse (soldier)2552020.0
Intensive care nurse (soldier)1941521.0
Environmental health technician72611184.7
Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
Vehicle mechanic4,1243,43269283.2
Vehicle electrician56235320962.8
Recovery mechanic58745313477.2
Royal Engineers
Explosive ordnance disposal5484886089.0
Military works force35925710271.6
Mechanical engineer fitter70551219372.6
Mechanical engineer command, control and communications specialist83666816879.9
Intelligence Corps
Operator military intelligence (includes linguists)1,0941,0138192.6

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures are being taken to address manning shortfalls in the critical manning groups of the (a) Army, (b) RAF and (c) Royal Navy; and if he will make a statement. [122117]

A range of positive measures are in hand across all three services to address critical manning shortfalls. These include both remunerative and nonremunerative measures, some targeted to specific shortfall groups and others across all the services. Recent Manning and Retention reviews for Submarine specialisms, Aircrew and Medical staff have introduced improved career patterns and financial incentives on entry (Golden Helios) and in return for commitment to specific periods of service. These proposals were endorsed by the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB).Examples of some other further measures by individual service are detailed as follows:

Naval Service—Promotion arrangements for RM Other Ranks and Chef and Warfare ratings have been reviewed to improve incentives, and the offer, where appropriate, of Second Open Engagements (beyond 22 years) has been well received. Artificers are currently the subject of a sustainability study.
Army—Financial Retention Incentive (FRI) for the Royal SIGNALS.
RAF—For Non-commissioned Aircrew (NCA), the implementation of the recommendations from the recent Airmen Aircrew Sustainability Study will introduce a revised NCA branch structure and address terms of conditions of service.