Service standards and attention to detail

The recent spate of security breaches has brought several things into perspective. Security is a sensitive subject and I don't intend compromising anything or anyone here. However, the regulations are clear and comprehensive; they are laid down in various publications and standing orders. Security lectures take place as a matter of routine and you can't walk around any MoD establishment without having your attention drawn to the importance of PM (Privacy Marked) material on every noticeboard. The main problem is that you will never cater for individuals who are either too careless (e.g. forgetting to lock cabinets in an office or compartment at close of play) or too arrogant (e.g. through over-confident complacency or seniority) to believe the rules apply to them. Government departments, including the MoD, are not helped by their tendency to over-classify documents so that the media are given the opportunity to make a big hue and cry whenever a Sports TM, Fleet Bridge Card or obsolete telephone directory marked RESTRICTED comes to light in the bottom of some ancient second-hand filing cabinet. Neither does the burden of work in most registries allow for the down-grading of classified documents immediately they are past their sell-by date.

However, I believe there is another underlying reason for the increasing number of cock-ups we are witnessing these days. Here beginneth the sermon (well, it is Sunday!):

I retired from the RN less than six years ago so I'm not quite ready for my pipe and slippers yet. Those still serving, whose work and attitude I continue to admire enormously, might still call me a GOM (Grumpy Old Man) but the increased prevalence of administrative - and all too often operational - sloppiness in the Service I love does appear to mirror the top-down acceptability of lower standards and poorer attention to detail these days. Some of this is driven through lack of funding but it appears to be much more the result of the Government's social engineering to make the Services reflect 'Cool Britannia' society more closely. Pervasive examples of sloppiness include such things as Government 'sofa politics', knee-jerk reactions to events, glossing over the true impact of policy decisions, short-term planning, badly thought-through legislation, lack of discipline and respect for authority engendered by illogical laws, scruffy or inappropriate dress (e.g. GB insisting on wearing a lounge suit instead of DJ at a formal dinner), and poorer literacy and numeracy among the nation's youth.

In the Services, this has manifest itself in training short-cuts and out-sourced support. It has has even percolated down to our training establishments where untidy accommodation and lack of discipline seems to be the norm (no, not him!). I am informed that in one of our premier establishments, the mess block offices are now manned by contractors. Nightly accommodation rounds have been replaced with a weekly walk-through by a duty SR with no requirement for the livers-in to be present. I recently chatted with a couple of older SRs who were almost in tears about the horrendous state of the modern SLAM messes and cabins (unmade bunks, overflowing gash bins, left-over KFC and pizza boxes on the deck, empty drink cans, dirty mugs, etc). They also noted that the occupants of most cabins had a TV or TV-enabled PC but few of them had TV licenses displayed as required by Standing Orders. When the SRs reported all these shortcomings up the line, little follow-up action seems to have been taken because the same faults were evident on subsequent occasions.

Low standards and poor attention to detail now seem to be part of a national malaise, apart from where unnecessary bureaucracy is concerned. When was the last time you saw a really smart-looking RN officer or sailor at one of our naval bases or other establishments on a normal day? The Services used to apply high standards of dress, physical appearance and bearing for a reason; it bred attention to detail. This is not a criticism of today's Service personnel. It is an indictment of Government leadership and the society it has created in our country. I only hope the pendulum will swing back one day. In the meantime, does anyone have any counter-arguments, suggestions or possible solutions?

Here endeth the sermon.
 
NotmeChief said:
Naval_Gazer said:
Security is a sensitive subject and I don't intend compromising anything or anyone here

That is soooo funny :)

There aint anything left to compromise is there.

Shhhhh! Don't let everyone know. I'd still appreciate you reading past the first paragraph though.
 

pompeyexpat

War Hero
An interesting and intelligent post that could well start an interesting and intelligent debate. Unfortunately from where I stand there is nothing to argue, I can only agree with everything you've written.

The problem being to re-introduce high standards requires those in a position of authority to set an example. I believe that most politicians are seen as self-serving, amoral and two-faced. Why then, if they can get away with claiming huge expenses, benefits if you like, whilst not working too hard, should your lazy chav in the street be expected to do any different.

This is also evident in the service. Why should our young lads & lasses set themselves high standards when those in charge of them don't appear to do so themselves. Only a fortnight ago I had occasion to rip into an AB for seemingly believing that dress regs didn't apply to him outside Derriford hospital (a very public place) only to walk into a WO1 not a hundred yards away was ignoring those very same rules. This may seem like a small and pointless thing, but from small and pointless ignoring of rules and lowering of standards comes big cock-ups. These things have a habit of snowballing.
 
Naval Gazer

I am full agreement with you, but you must ask the question if you have noticed this drop of in less than six years, how much has the drop off been in 16 years, 26 years, 36 years or 56 years. Yet you had a chance to do some thing about it if only in small way as an Officer or SR but clearly did not see it as a problem in your watch or were not prepared to raise your head above the parapet very much.

Yes we know a loan voice in the wilderness, but most officers and senior rates seem to have little interest or heart to enforce regulations and responsibilities. They are very ready to jump on any one who states standards are dropping across the board. Even worse to offer any criticism that is deemed not to be constructive(i.e. you agree with me) the spin the modern RN puts out stories. i.e. a "9 month patrol" no it is a deployment where most of the crew do not actually do all the 9 months and they have regular R and R and Maintenance periods at whatever bases are available to them. What it means is the Boat , not all the crew, has been away from base port for 9 months.

In WW11 German U Boats that patrolled the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean have recorded Patrols of 280 days that is 9 months of anybodies year. They never touched a port resupply was from other boats or ships in remote areas of the ocean and being continually at risk from attack from allied forces. NOW THAT IS A PATROL. But hey! why should Pusser not believe in its own propaganda.

Disgusted of Tunwells Bridge.

Nutty

N G so now you have signed up with all the other ex silly old pharts who know nothing why take any notice of your posting.
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Book Reviewer
PXP: A good and valid point. From my perspective everyone expects me, as a Regulator, to do all the nasty things that no one else wants to do. For example, doing Dress Patrols (!!) in the mornings in the Dockyard, or having a 'quiet word' with a scrote. But why should I? As you said, there are plenty of others, from LH to Officer, walking around ships and establishments who have the same authority to give a lawful command and to maintain good order and discipline in their vicinty as me (read the back of your promotion certificates, if those words sound vaguely familiar to you...). My primary authority is the sam as these people; my only additional authority (by virtue of my Warant Card and Crown) is to investigate offenders.

It grips my sh!t when certain SRs and Officers come to my door to report an offender within their Part of Ship or Division, and they expect me to do their dirty work for them, else the 'offender' will see them for what they are - their superior officer, not their 'run ashore' oppo. And as soon as I push a blank statement form in their direction, the aforementioned SR/Officer will scuttle away, claiming "Oh I don't want them trooped!", which as I understand it means that they don't want the offender to see that their SR/Officer has put their name to paper and dropped them in it. Well if you can't be bothered to do your job, then why should I?

I know I'm generalising but it's about time that every superior officer, from the junior Killick to the highest Admiral, is prepared to earn their shilling and start dishing out orders and clamping down on slack attitude and bearing. And that starts with some personal admin of their own. I was always taught: "Beyond reproach"; how can you give a lad/lass grief if you look like a scranbag yourself?

As for me? I like doing it 'cos I'm a nasty bastard... :wink:
 
sgtpepperband said:
Do these over-classified documents have tits in them?! 8O :wink:

SPB - I started typing this before seeing your later post but thanks for reminding me about increased dumbing-down, the inability of many to present a coherent argument and general lack of pride in one's presentation to the outside world (smacks too much of elitism). =)
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Naval_Gazer said:
sgtpepperband said:
Do these over-classified documents have tits in them?! 8O :wink:

SPB - I started typing this before seeing your later post but thanks for reminding me about increased dumbing-down, the inability of many to present a coherent argument and general lack of pride in one's presentation to the outside world (smacks too much of elitism). =)

S'okay... I was just trying to blend in with the crowd! :thumright:

(For my serious response, see above)
 
sgtpepperband said:
PXP: A good and valid point. From my perspective everyone expects me, as a Regulator, to do all the nasty things that no one else wants to do. For example, doing Dress Patrols (!!) in the mornings in the Dockyard, or having a 'quiet word' with a scrote. But why should I? As you said, there are plenty of others, from LH to Officer, walking around ships and establishments who have the same authority to give a lawful command and to maintain good order and discipline in their vicinty as me (read the back of your promotion certificates, if those words sound vaguely familiar to you...). My primary authority is the sam as these people; my only additional authority (by virtue of my Warant Card and Crown) is to investigate offenders.

It grips my sh!t when certain SRs and Officers come to my door to report an offender within their Part of Ship or Division, and they expect me to do their dirty work for them, else the 'offender' will see them for what they are - their superior officer, not their 'run ashore' oppo. And as soon as I push a blank statement form in their direction, the aforementioned SR/Officer will scuttle away, claiming "Oh I don't want them trooped!", which as I understand it means that they don't want the offender to see that their SR/Officer has put their name to paper and dropped them in it. Well if you can't be bothered to do your job, then why should I?

I know I'm generalising but it's about time that every superior officer, from the junior Killick to the highest Admiral, is prepared to earn their shilling and start dishing out orders and clamping down on slack attitude and bearing. And that starts with some personal admin of their own. I was always taught: "Beyond reproach"; how can you give a lad/lass grief if you look like a scranbag yourself?

As for me? I like doing it 'cos I'm a nasty bastard... :wink:


Well said sgtpepperband the trouble is it also applies to the land of civilians in the UK where Goverment Organisations seek easy targets to meet whatever their lords and master, who you lot put in power, want.

Still disgusted Old Phart of Tunwells Bridge

Nutty
 
SPB NG and Nutty
Gripped my shit too in my last job before I left the service, regular event for email and phone calls from officers and SRs telling me as BWO that they had picked up some scrote for being out of the rig of the day or using a mobile. FFS don't they realise the standards are everyones responsibilty from senior AB to fecking COs.
I can't beleve in this day and age with 1 for 1 kit exchange anyone can have an excuse for being untidy.
My daughter has been in a year now but still in a training environment and takes an enormous amount of pride in her standard of dress, I hope it lasts although I did get a bollocking for double creasing her No4s last time she was home.
SLA great concept but breaks down the team spirit and encourages binge drinking and episodes of self harm. As for cleaning contractors do it these days individuals are only responsible for their bed space, this is true for officers and SRs too believe me poor standards are prevelant at all levels or maybe its just the lazy feckers in Devonport.
 
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