Defence Committee

Session 2007-08, 2 April 2008

Announcement of Web Forum


DEFENCE COMMITTEE LAUNCHES COUNTRY-WIDE WEB FORUM ON RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION IN THE SERVICES

The Armed Forces Community is being invited to offer views direct to Parliament on the subject of military recruitment and retention in a new web-forum opened this week by the House of Commons Defence Select Committee.

The Committee has recently launched a new inquiry into the issues that affect recruitment and retention in the Armed Forces and is inviting key MoD officials and commentators to give evidence. However the Committee is also taking advantage of a relatively new web-based system that allows Members of Parliament to hear views from the public using simple on-line web-consultations.

Chairman of the Committee, James Arbuthnot, says "During this inquiry we want to hear views on recruitment and retention from former and current Service personnel and also from more diverse sources-religious leaders, parents and guardians and careers guidance councillors. We want to know what motivates some people but not others to join the Services and what factors can affect people's desire to remain in uniform over time. We are especially keen to investigate the disconnect that exists in the number of recruits from ethnic minorities who choose to join the Services."

The UK Armed Forces are already under pressure supporting major operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This pressure will increase if the MoD cannot recruit enough new personnel and retain established, serving personnel. The Defence Committee highlighted these issues in its recent Report, Ministry of Defence Annual Reports and Accounts 2006-07 (Fifth Report of Session 2007-08, HC 61), noting that the Army had trouble meeting its overall recruitment targets, and some specialist trades were particularly under-staffed. The Committee was also concerned that the MoD had failed to achieve most of its diversity targets, particularly with regard to the recruitment and retention of people from ethnic minorities.

The Committee wants to hear from current Service personnel, from those who have recently left the service, and from those who are considering joining. They are also keen to hear from the families and mentors of former, current and future recruits.

Full anonymity is respected on the web forum which can be found at www.parliament.uk/defcom on the Defence Committee's web page. The forum will run from 2 April 2008 until 21 May 2008.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

The Committee was nominated on 13 July 2005. The Defence Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration, and policy of the Ministry of Defence and its associated public bodies.

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