Today Ofsted publish their eighth report on welfare and duty of care in armed forces initial training, copies of which I have placed in the Library of the House. Following inspections of eight armed forces initial training establishments between September 2014 and January 2015, Ofsted report that recruits and trainees feel safe and that their welfare needs are being broadly met.
The report is, largely, a positive one and emphasises the improvement in many aspects of welfare and duty of care in the establishments inspected; indeed all the locations assessed by Ofsted were judged as “good” or better, and two, in particular, were rated as “outstanding”. In a change from previous years Ofsted conducted, for the first time, an ungraded monitoring visit to review the arrangements for welfare and duty of care of phase 1 reserve recruits. This reflects the growing importance of the reserves within the armed forces as a whole and paves the way for further Ofsted involvement with reserve forces training in future years.
In another development this year, Ofsted conducted visits to each of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force training headquarters. These visits, which did not result in graded judgements, identified strengths in the provision of support and strategic direction for training, as well as identifying specific areas for development and improvement.
Ofsted make a number of recommendations for improvement, particularly in the areas of instructor selection and qualification, site infrastructure and information and data management and analysis.
The armed forces remain committed to ensuring that initial training is supportive of the needs of its recruits, cadets and trainees and this year’s Ofsted report provides assurance and recommendations to maintain our commitment to a culture of continuous improvement.