Staff from Suffolk and Cambridge Army Cadet Forces volunteered to help fine-tune the ACF New Joiner Tracker, due to be launched nationally in the spring.
The intention to streamline and standardise the process for Army Cadet Force (ACF) adult applications didn’t just stem from the desire to make it easier for ACF administrators in the counties; the New Joiner Tracker aims to deliver a means by which applications take less time, improves contact with county ACF staff and makes joining the ACF a generally welcoming process.
The New Joiner Tracker (NJT) is the culmination of a journey which started in 2012. Every ACF county HQ processes applications for Cadet Force Adult volunteers differently, so in the first instance, four very different counties (urban and rural) came together to develop a best practice process that could be used by all counties and this was endorsed by Regional Command in 2016.
Not everyone has fully adopted the best practice process yet, so NJT, an online app for Admin Officers, will help embed the new way of working in all counties.
The benefits to ACF administrators of using the NJT is that they receive helpful reminders of where applicants are in the process, and of what needs to be done next. They can run reports to see how many applicants they have at each stage in the process.
RFCA staff at Suffolk ACF and Cambridgeshire ACF have been particularly helpful in liaising with the Westminster team and feeding back comments for improvements.
Gillian Rowell, Admin Officer for Suffolk ACF who has been trialling the app, presented the NJT platform to her colleagues at their annual regional meeting in October. She said: “I think it’s a wonderful tool. It gives you a structure to work through; ensuring that volunteers don’t get contact with cadets until the DBS check and references have been secured.”
The NJT platform also makes it possible for reporting at a national level on where in the process applicants drop out, and how many applicants are needed to get enough ‘boots on the ground’, information not easily available at the moment.
Jackie Allan, the then Deputy Chief Executive for East Anglia RFCA, encouraged counties from most of the RFCAs to be involved in the trial, resulting in NJT ‘champions’ across the country to help with the eventual roll-out.
Brian Sykes, Deputy Chief Executive for Northern Ireland RFCA, is now leading the roll-out. He is working on refreshing the NJT materials, including new application forms and a new-look Best Practice pack, following feedback from the Admin Officers who have trialled the NJT.
Brian said: “My ambition is to have all ACF county HQs using the NJT by end of March 2019.”