Specific RAF-related findings within AFCAS 2019

Hercules C130J aircraft from 47 Sqn RAF Brize Norton about to deploy to RAF St Athan, South Wales as part of Exercise Valley Commando.

The RAF Armed Forces Continual Attitude Survey is incorporated into the tri-Service AFCAS which is issued annually and the RAF shares some of the background findings.

The survey is designed to assess and monitor the attitudes of Service personnel in key policy areas. The 2019 survey ran between Sep 18 and Feb 19 and was completed by over 3100 RAF personnel, giving a response rate of 47%; this compares to 42% for the tri-Service response rate.

The results of the survey provide robust evidence to inform personnel policy decisions, ensuring that your views are heard and considered. AFCAS is also used to drive the RAF Strategy and the results inform the development of the Armed Forces People Programme (Future Accommodation Model and Flexible Service), as well as providing evidence for the Armed Forces Pay Review Body and Armed Forces Covenant.

Compared to AFCAS 2018, your overall levels of satisfaction are largely unchanged. However, you were happier about aspects of career management and engagement, as well as more positive attitudes to change. As with previous years, officers indicated that they were more satisfied than other ranks with many aspects of service life. Your comments reflect the tangible benefits of the Service offer such as medical and dental care, leave allowances, sports and fitness facilities and value for money of Service accommodation continue to be appreciated. In addition, job security, dental and healthcare provision, and pension continue to be major retention factors. However, you are less satisfied with remuneration.

You continue to have a sense of pride in the RAF and highly rate working relationships within your teams; you are positive about the Whole Force. You enjoy being empowered at work and are satisfied with the work location. Critically, you felt you were treated fairly at work and are supported by the line management. You report being well trained for your role, utilising your skills and are satisfied with development opportunities. Positively, you report satisfaction with aspects of work life balance including satisfaction with the ability to plan, opportunity to take leave, and line management support.

Areas of greater dissatisfaction and disagreement relate to the; insufficient remuneration (pay, pension and allowances); promotion opportunities; perceived actions of senior leaders; feeling valued and morale ratings (albeit both have improved since last year). Satisfaction with service accommodation, and in particular its maintenance, continues to decrease. There is a perception that families do not benefit from being a Service family and the impact of Service life on family and personal life remains the top reason for leaving.

Tri-Service AFCAS Reports can be accessed via GOV.UK.

Personal message from DComCap (Air Marshal Andrew Turner):

“For those of you that did, thank you for completing AFCAS 2019. It is really important to hear how you feel, what is important to you and your families and what we need to improve. Your comments will be directly addressed here at High Wycombe and in the Ministry of Defence and will materially influence how the Royal Air Force develops.

“Helpfully, your previous comments have been acted upon and have led to the enhanced career management service, flexible working arrangements, addressed work-life balance worries, initiated the re-joiner programme, accelerated training and led to new skills opportunities. AFCAS 2019 shows that these adjustments and changes have been really beneficial. But you have also given us a new set of mandates to seek to address issues around morale, pay, equipment, leadership, fairness in the workplace, professionalism around contractors and work-life balance. As before, we will act on your comments.

“As ever, we welcome your frank, open and honest comments. They are a critical component of understanding where our priorities should lie and what matters most to you and your families.

“Many of these challenges are not easy, but I can assure you that we will pursue them with vigour, tenacity and energy. For those of you that could not find time to complete the survey, please find time to engage and tell us what you think; it matters, makes a difference and is important.”

Key Findings

  • The AFCAS survey was completed by over 3100 RAF Regular personnel giving a response rate of 47%.
  • Results show that personnel have a sense of pride in the Service and remain positive about their working relationships and their immediate chain of command.
  • There have been improvements in satisfaction towards aspects of career management, change and engagement since last year.
  • Personnel were less positive about remuneration; service accommodation; and the benefits of being a Service family.

Source: Serial No 27/19 IBN

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