Magazine article Public Finance

Armed Forces Face Persistent Personnel Shortfall, Says NAO

Magazine article Public Finance

Armed Forces Face Persistent Personnel Shortfall, Says NAO

Article excerpt

A shortfall of armed forces personnel persists despite efforts to improve recruitment and retention, government auditors said last week.

The National Audit Office identified a shortfall of 5,170 (2.8% of trained personnel) on the Ministry of Defence's estimated requirements, with only the army maintaining a staffing balance. There were particular challenges in filling skilled positions such as doctors, nurses, engineers and bomb disposal experts.

The November 3 report also noted that the numbers leaving the forces had increased slightly over the past two years. Many left because of the impact of service on family life; others cited too many deployments, the poor quality of equipment and a feeling of not being valued.

NAO head Sir John Bourn said: 'The Ministry of Defence is working hard to tackle the issues in recruitment and retention to ensure there are sufficient levels of personnel. …

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