RFCA Cadet Health Check report 2021 looks at recovery of the Cadet Forces post-pandemic.

The Reserve Forces and Cadets Associations provide the Chief of Defence People with an annual report containing independent observations on the overall health of the cadet forces, their ability to deliver MOD-endorsed outcomes, and any risks to their future well-being.

The Cadet Health Check team aimed to deliver this report to the Chief of Defence People (CDC) in December 2021, following a delayed submission of their report in 2020, yet additional delays resulted in the Cadet Health Check report 2021 being presented to CDC on 1st September 2022. The report’s focus was to be on the support to adult volunteers and the recovery of the cadet forces post-pandemic. 

In terms of the support to adult volunteers, the Cadet Health Check Team noted for 2021 that processes and practices for onboarding new volunteers were good, and made a recommendation that exit interviews should be collected from adult volunteers at the time of leaving. Data on the average length of service for an adult volunteer is not currently published.

In terms of the recovery of the cadet forces post-pandemic, the report’s executive summary quotes statistics issued by MOD in June 2021 showing a decrease of 13% of Cadets and 5% adult volunteers compared with pre-pandemic numbers of cadets and adult volunteers.

More recent figures are available but they fall outside the scope of the report’s timeframe. The MOD reports annually on the numbers of, or ‘strengths’, of the Cadet Forces. The latest cadet numbers report from April 2022 published by the MOD shows the number of Community Cadets is down 15%, as is the number of adult volunteers in the Community Cadets down 15% compared with pre-pandemic. Some administrative processes, including adding and removing cadets and adult volunteers from data source systems are highlighted by MOD statisticians as having been delayed therefore reducing the reliability of the information both in 2021 and 2022.

The release date for the Cadet Health Check Report 2022 has not yet ben shared, but the focus is anticipated to be:

  • The ‘cadet experience’ for cadets and adult volunteers,
  • evidence of planning, including intent and associated metrics,
  • information and evidence surrounding the post-COVID return to face-to-face activities,
  • cadet camps and the utilisation of the Defence Estate, and
  • equality and diversity matters.

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