SDSR - Saving money at the MOD - 2
RECRUITING: an item from the Defence website reporting an article in the Daily Telegraph, by Thomas Harding - defence correspondent.
Army to Pay Civilian Firm £1bn to Recruit New Soldiers
The Army is to pay a civilian firm £1 billion to recruit soldiers at the same time as it is making 20,000 troops redundant, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
Next year civilians will take over Army recruiting at a cost of £14,000 per soldier headhunted, equivalent to the salary of the most junior rank.
The decision has been described as “perverse” by serving officers who have been forced to sack 1,000 soldiers already this year.
The Ministry of Defence has put out a tender for civilian human resources and recruitment companies to bid for the contract.
Under the Recruiting Partnering Project, the contractor will receive £1 billion over the next decade in order to recruit 7,500 officers and men every year.
Officials at Army Land Command in Wiltshire claim that the deal will save the Service £250 million overall over a decade by removing well-paid senior NCOs and officers from backroom work “inputting data into computers”.
But one senior officer said the plan was “fraught with quite a few risks” as the Army is axing 12,000 soldiers in the next three years followed by a further 8,000 in 2020.
“I can see why people will see this as perverse when this amount is going into recruitment [at a time] when we are significantly reducing the Army,” said Col Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan.
He said the most effective recruiters were young soldiers who had served on operations.
“It would be a big mistake if that was ignored,” he said.
When civilians had been employed in recruiting in the past “it has not been a great success”, he added, although he admitted that the Army’s own recruitment programme was “not exactly a roaring success either”.
About 17,000 recruits a year go through training but, on average, only 9,000 pass out as fully trained soldiers.
The MoD believes that civilians will help it improve the quality of recruits, reducing the “wastage” of those dropping out during training.
It will also release soldiers involved in administrative tasks for frontline duties. There are several hundred officers and men recruiting in offices across the country.
The Army insists that uniformed soldiers will remain at the forefront of recruiting.
“Despite the redundancies we still have to recruit,” an Army source said.
“We just need to make recruitment more effective. At the moment we are recruiting the people we can recruit rather than the ones we want to recruit.”
It is understood that the RAF and Navy are making similar plans.
Air Commodore Andrew Lambert, of the UK National Defence Association, suggested that servicemen currently being made redundant would be taken on by the civilian firm for less money.
“I would also question whether this actually saves you money because, as with every other PFI, when the full costs are added up it doesn’t save you anything at all,” he said.
An Army spokesman said: “The project is an initiative to both meet the numbers we need, reduce the fallout rate in training and improve retention.
"The contract will modernise army recruiting and deliver savings in excess of £250 million over 10 years.”
(The picture depicts recuiting for the navy in the 18th and 19th Century with the financially supported help of the Impress Service!)