§ Mr. Jenkins
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what criteria are used by the Department for ascertaining the level of personnel retention within the armed forces; 
(2) what the (a) level set for retention of personnel within the three armed forces and (b) actual level of retention within the three armed forces was in the last five years. 
§ Mr. Ingram
The Services have detailed targets for manning levels and these reflect expectations of outflow (when personnel complete their engagements or leave for personal reasons) and recruitment plans. One way of measuring retention is by monitoring historical trends in Premature Voluntary Release (PVR) rates as a percentage of those leaving. Details of actual PVR rates over the last five years by individual Service are in the table. 707W We also monitor manning shortfall areas, and if shortages or imbalances are detected in a specific area, we look to address this by using targeted retention measures. There are a wide range of initiatives in hand across all three Services aimed at improving retention and seeking to increase the return of Service obtained from individuals.