Ministry of Defence
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Latest UK Armed Forces Manning Figures Released

Latest UK Armed Forces Manning Figures Released

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 26 November 2009

Figures showing that the UK Armed Forces are currently just under 98 per cent of their full time trained strength requirement have been released today by the MOD. This is up from 96.8 per cent a year ago and shows a continued upward trend in both recruitment and retention.

The statistics show that the number of people leaving the trained strength of the UK Regular Forces in the 12 months to 30 September 2009 has fallen by 21.9 per cent compared with the same period a year ago. Overall, the number of people leaving is at its lowest in five years.

A total of 24,230 new recruits have joined the UK Regular Forces in the 12 months to 30 September 2009, an increase of 12.6 per cent (2,720 people) compared to the previous 12 months. The number of people joining the Armed Forces is at its highest point since the 12 months to 31 March 2002.

These figures show that there were 18,270 untrained personnel (not including officers) at 1 October 2009, up from 15,540 at the same point last year. The number of untrained officers was up from 3,060 to 3,230 in the same period.

As at 1 October 2009, the full time trained strength of the UK Armed Forces was 174, 890 against a target of 178,490. This comprises 170,050 UK Regular Forces, 1,320 full time reserve service personnel and 3,520 Gurkhas.

Defence Minister Kevan Jones said:

“These latest manning figures are good news. A career in the armed forces is challenging and rewarding and for young men and women who want to make a difference it’s a great choice. The training and opportunities these careers offer, in a huge range of trades and professions, are undoubtedly second to none.”

Since 1 October 2008, the proportion of females in the UK Regular Forces has risen from 12.0 per cent to 12.1 per cent for officers and from 8.9 per cent to 9.0 per cent for other ranks.

The percentage of UK Regular Forces from ethnic minority backgrounds continues to rise; at 1 October 2009 ethnic minorities accounted for 6.6 per cent of UK Regular Forces compared to 6.3 per cent at the same point last year.

Notes to Editors:

1. All tables presented in this publication meet the high standards of quality and integrity demanded by the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

2. Due to ongoing validation of data from the Joint Personnel Administration System the following statistics are provisional and may be revised: all Naval Service flow statistics from period ending 31 October 2006, and Naval Service strength statistics from 1 May 2007; all Army flow statistics from period ending 31 March 2007 and strengths statistics from 1 April 2007; and all Royal Air Forces flow statistics from period ending 30 April 2007 and strength statistics from 1 May 2007. DASA have initiated a major review of all provisional JPA data and will revise where required. This work is not due to be completed until spring 2010 at the earliest. Revisions to strength figures are likely to be less than 0.5% of the provisional figure. Revisions of provisional flows could be as high as 50% because individual flow figures can be much smaller.

3. Naval Service intake by ethnic origin is unavailable for the 12 month period ending 31 March 2007 to the 12 month period ending 31 March 2008 due to data coverage issues.

4. Time Expiry and Other Wastage exit reason totals and rates for RAF officers and other ranks personnel for the 12 month ending periods post 30 June 2008 have been excluded. Since 1 July 2008 there has been an increase in unknowns (which are grouped in the Other Wastage category), which has had significant effects on Other Wastage and Time Expiry exit reason totals and rates.

5. The coverage of JPA ethnicity data continues to improve and intake statistics for all three Services by officers and ranks are presented except army officers.

6. April 07 was the first ever tri-service pay run for HM Armed Forces, resulting in a 99.2% accuracy rate and figures for both May and June 07 have achieved over 99.5% accuracy. JPA is a major business change programme (similar to the People Programme for civilians) and one of the most complex ever to be undertaken in either the private or public sector. The supporting computer software application is one of the largest Oracle HR implementations worldwide, that makes the fullest use of the functionality of the software, and is the largest single payroll. The system contains around 350,000 records (nearly 1 million if pensioners are included) and supports 300,000 users worldwide from the regular and reserve forces. Nowhere has a more complex dataset - around 24 million lines of data - been so successfully migrated.

7. JPA is accessible from anywhere in the world and allows individuals to update on-line certain pieces of personal information, such as bank details and their home address. JPA also allows individuals to access their pay statements, apply for leave, submit travel, allowances and expense claims and undertake other basic personnel tasks.

8. The Service Personnel Plan provides a structure for the prioritisation and delivery of Service personnel policy over the next 15 years. It reflects the challenges and opportunities that the operational environment, demographic changes and the changing expectations of personnel and their families present to our aim of delivering sufficient, capable and motivated Armed Forces personnel. Under the auspices of the Service Personnel Plan, work is underway to ensure the effective delivery of remuneration to meet the need to recruit, retain and motivate sufficient, capable individuals to meet manning requirements.

9. The total Armed Forces manning requirement has decreased due to previously announced restructuring across the Services. This restructuring is designed to improve capability and flexibility in order to meet the demands of current and future operations.

10. All figures and percentages exclude the Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment and Reservists mobilised for service.

11. The UK Armed Forces Quarterly Manning Report is available at:

For further information, please contact Hannah Fletcher in the MoD press office on 020 7218 7924, or visit the MoD website at


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