Ministry of Defence white paper on Reserves in the Future Force 2020 - key points for the NHS


04 / 7 / 2013 2.01pm

On 3 July 2013 the Ministry of Defence (MoD) published a White Paper Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued. The paper follows their public consultation which went live between November 2012 and January 2013 and outlines future changes.

The MoD are looking to strengthen and support the reserve forces and as part of this seeks to develop a relationship with employers which is open and predictable and based on mutual benefit. Key findings from the consultation suggest that there is a general lack of awareness amongst NHS employers of reservists but there is a strong appetite for knowledge and understanding.

Some of the key points which impact on NHS organisations who have staff who volunteer in the Reserve Forces have been outlined below.

The MoD are looking to:

  • revise the financial assistance regulations to ensure that the levels of financial assistance provided to employers are appropriate and the administrative arrangements are streamlined
  • better explain the benefits of reserve service and extend accreditation of skills, training and experience provided by the military so that this can be more readily recognised by civilian employers
  • introduce a new scheme to recognise supportive employers underpinned by a new Corporate Covenant. Currently, employers who support members of their workforce who serve in the Reserve Forces are recognised on SaBRE's list of organisations who have pledged their support. Signing up to the new Covenant will provide a more visible means for employers to show their intent to be supportive of staff who volunteer in the Reserve Forces and requires them to adopt a set of key principles to enable this to happen
  • enhance relationships between the military and employers by improving communications, including introducing the requirement for reservists to notify their employer of their reserve status; notifying employers three months prior to the start of the annual training programme and giving notice of mobilisations and periods when a reservist is at high readiness for mobilisation, enabliong employers to plan and manage the impact of their employee's absence.  This will also include providing employers with relevant information on what a reservist has achieved during a period of reserve service
  • introduce a new National Relationship Management Scheme to establish strategic personnel relationships with major employer organisations, relevant trade bodies and the largest employers to enable shared talent development and co-ordinated workforce planning to the mutual benefit of the employer, the reservist and Defence
  • work with employers and education organisations to develop opportunities for both the employer, the reservist and Defence in the transition period between education and work, including for those not in education, employment or training.

The proposals also include strengthening the existing legal framework which protects those in the reserve forces who suffer any detriment or disadvantage by their employer or in seeking employment because of their reserve service.  The changes will allow individuals the legal right of access to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal where the dismissal is resultant because of their reserve services, removing the current requirement for them to have a two year qualifying employment period.

Full details about the proposals can be found in the White Paper on the website.

NHS Employers continues to work closely with the MoD and Department of Health to ensure the new structure and proposals continue to be of mutual benefit to NHS employers, reservists and Defence. Further information will be provided through this website and the NHS Workforce Bulletin as soon as more information is made available from the MoD.

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