Report to PM Warns that Britain’s Armed Forces are “Hollowing Out”

Former Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois MP is today releasing a report, commissioned by the Prime Minister, into the state of recruitment for Britain’s Armed Forces. Among the reports highlights are the following:

  • In the year to April 2017, 12,950 recruits joined the UK Regular Armed Forces but in the same period 14,970 service personnel left. This is part of a trend of “hollowing out” in the ranks.
  • The recruiting arms of all three Armed Services are now “running to stand still” and struggling to make up for the numbers that are leaving.
  • The problem is worst in the Regular Army, which needs to recruit 10,000 people a year to maintain its strength but which last year managed less than 7,000 entrants.
  • The Army’s recruiting problem is exacerbated by an outsourcing contract with Capita which is performing badly.

The report makes twenty recommendations to improve the state of recruiting into the Armed Forces including the following:

  • MOD must now make recruiting a strategic priority and pursue and resource this accordingly.
  • The MOD needs to recruit more women, who currently make up around 1 in 10 of the Armed Forces. The report supports MOD programmes which are attempting to do this (including the introduction of women into the front line).
  • The MOD needs to do far better in recruiting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates, who currently make up only around 7% of the Armed Forces. There is currently no BAME officer of two star rank (Major General) or above in Britain’s Armed Forces.
  • Over 14,000 candidates to join the Army in the year to February 2017 were failed on medical grounds. The MOD’s whole process of medical assessment for recruits should now be externally reviewed, to ensure it is operating as efficiently as possible.
  • The Army must develop a plan B within twelve months in case the Capita recruiting contract continues to underperform.
  • Secondary school pupils should be educated about the importance of the Armed Forces and their role in society, as a part of in the National Curriculum.

Copies of the report, entitled “Filling the Ranks”, which was delivered in July but is being published today are available via Mark Francois MP’s website through the following link https://www.markfrancois.com/filling-ranks.