HC Deb 06 March 2000 vol 345 cc493-5W
Mr. Menzies Campbell

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list(a) those targets of the Naval Manning agency for 1998–99 which (i) were and (ii) were not achieved, giving the factors affecting the outcome in each case and (b) action taken by the agency to improve target achievement performance in 1999–2000; and if he will make a statement. [111761]

Dr. Moonie

This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Naval Manning Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the right hon. and learned Member.

Letter from Jeremy de Halpert to Mr. Menzies Campbell dated 6 March 2000: In your recent Parliamentary Question, you sought a range of information concerning the targets placed upon the Naval Management Agency (NMA) for 1998–99. You also asked what action the Agency had taken to improve performance against its targets in 1990–00. I have been asked to reply as the Chief Executive of the NMA. The information you requested is attached to this letter. Details of NMA's performance against its targets will be published shortly in the Agency's Annual Report and Accounts for 1998–99. I will arrange for a copy of the Report to be sent to you as soon as it is available. I hope this is helpful. Naval Manning Agency—Performance Against Targets—1998–99 Deployment Filled Officer Billets:

  • Target: Greater than 94%—Met
  • Achieved: 94.2%
Overall performance continued to be satisfactory. A similar outturn to last year has been achieved despite a more difficult manning climate that has seen a deterioration in the balance of the Office Strength to Requirement. The RN was 280 Officers short of its requirement as at 1 February 1999 compared to 149 Officers on 1 April 1998. Filled Rating/Other Rank Billets Targets:
  • Ratings: greater than 89%—Not met
  • Royal Marines Other Ranks greater than 88%—Not met
  • Ratings: 87.4%
  • Royal Marines Other Ranks 85.3%
The NMA's performance is little changed from last year (88% and 85.1% respectively) and should be viewed in the light of the difficulties faced by the recruiting Agency in 1998–99 in meeting requested gains to the trained strength. In year, a defining balance of Strength to Requirement was evident for Royal Navy Ratings and Royal Marines Other Ranks but the rate of decline has now been arrested. This has been achieved through a combination of close monitoring of gains to the trained strength and Premature Voluntary Release figures and greater accuracy in the forecasting and monitoring of demographic trends. This work is being developed during 1990–00. The introduction of the five year second open engagement (20E(5), to complement the existing ten year 20E, has also provided the Agency with added flexibility in its manpower management. Manpower Planning
  • Variation of Strength to Requirement
  • Target: Plus 1% to Minus 2%—Not met
  • Achieved: Minus 3.3%
This figure is calculated on the basis of a 3-year running average. This reporting method takes into consideration an element of the lag between planning decisions and the consequent inflow of trained manpower and provides a more effective and accurate measure of the NMA's planning performance than an in year 12 month running average. The NMA's Owner has reduced the upper level of the target for 1999–00 form 11% to zero to reflect the manning difficulties encountered in 1998–99 and ensure that the aim is directed at meeting future manpower requirements without over-providing. Career Management
  • Percentage of Officers receiving the required Notice of Move 2
  • Target: Greater than 60%—Met
  • Achieved: 67.6%
The disparity between this target and that for ratings/other ranks reflects the ability of Officers to negotiate their next career move directly with their Appointing Officer Percentage of Ratings/Other Ranks receiving the required Notice of Move 2
  • Target: Greater than 98%—Met
  • Achieved: 99.5%
The continuing imbalance between Strength and Requirement has made the achievement of this target particularly challenging Percentage drafts where Minimum Time Ashore (MTA) 3 criteria are met Target: 99%—Met Achieved: 99.9% While the NMA has met this target, the difficult manpower supply climate has led to a growth in the number of personnel nearing the MTA criteria

  • Numeric Reduction in Gapping
  • Target: 7.5% reduction in gapping—Not met
  • Achieved: 7%
The high degree of deploying turbulence and recruiting difficulties experienced in 1998–99 limited the scope for reducing the level of gapping. Earlier efficiencies in the utilisation of the manning margin have also reduced the potential for further savings. To reflect these factors, the Agency's target for the coming year has been adjusted to 5%.The NMA successfully introduced its Customer Review process in summer 1998. This has helped the Agency to develop its understanding of the issues, besides gapping, that are of concern to its customers. The process has also led to several changes in the way the Agency operates, especially in terms of its external communication and data presentation. The NMA is confident that this will be reflected in the results obtained from the Review, which commenced in April 1999. Additionally, it is intended that the European Foundation Quality Management Model should be introduced into the Agency. This will ensure that NMA continues to develop along the most effective lines and that its performance reflects best practice.

Benchmarking Exercises

  • Target: Two exercises—Met
  • Achieved: Two exercises
  • The NMA's Customer Review Process was the list of these exercises. The second exercise was conducted with the RAF.


  • Production of Accounts
  • Target: To produce Accounts for Period from April 99 to March 99—Met
  • Achieved: Accounts laid in January 2000.
  • Comment: None
1 Within four months of change of their employment2 Less than three months for shore service and five months for sea service3 The Minimum Time Ashore criterion is a Personnel Management Standard that aims to ensure a reasonable amount of time ashore between sea-going drafts. It differs between Rates and length of Service in a sea draft and is not applicable to Officers.