The UK Defence in Numbers 2022 report includes a foreword from David Williams CB, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Defence.
The strength of the Reserves is still reported in terms of the Future Reserves programme on page 17, which aimed to achieve 30,000 trained Army Reservists by 2020. At 31,010, the Trained Strength has remained on target but numbers are declining steadily. Indeed, the latest personnel counts indicate a 28% reduction in applications to join the Reserve Forces this year, exacerbated by a 11% increase in people leaving the Reserve Forces in the same period, which is consistent with the pre-covid 2019 report.
The report mentions a goal to extend geographical distribution of R&D conducted outside the MOD, which amounted to £1.3 billion, more evenly across the UK. 38% of extramural R&D funding was spent in the South East, South West and London in 2022. The MOD estimates it supports, directly and indirectly, 280 jobs per 100,000 FTE employed in the East of England; less than in the East Midlands and South East, but more than in the North East and Yorkshire.
In previous years, the report set out Defence’s ambition to increase female personnel to at least 15% of total intake and increase 10% of total intake, and a commitment to reducing the gender pay gap, which stands at less than 1% in the Armed Forces and 12.5% among Ministry of Defence Civil Servants. This year’s report did not include an update on progress towards these goals. The report states the MOD committment to developing a more inclusive
culture in defence and a diverse workforce at all levels and provides female and ethnic minority representation in military and civilian roles.
Cadets are mentioned on page 23 of the report, giving only the topline number of 124,080 cadets nationally, which is about 2,000 less than in the 2019 pre-covid report.
The report mentions the Career Transition Partnership as providing employment support services to up to 12,200 Armed Forces service leavers this year. Of those who did, the report notes, 83% reported they were employed within six months.
The RFCA continues to support the Ministry of Defence in the regions to nurture greater support from employers across the public and private sectors. Our Employer Engagement team of staff and RFCA members continues to promote the Armed Forces Covenant and raise awareness of the benefits of employing Reservists.
Over the last decade, funding reductions have meant that the Reserve estate is maintained to no more than mandatory compliance standards; almost no preventative maintenance or improvements works are funded. The RFCA Estates team work tirelessly and resourcefully to provide the best possible places to work for the reservists in our region, making every effort to offer modern, safe and fit-for-purpose training facilities in support of the recruitment and retention efforts.