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Armed Forces Act 2006

Schedule 14 – Amendments Relating to Reserve Forces

871.This Schedule is largely comprised of amendments to legislation governing reserve forces that are required as a result of changes made by the Act ( either by policy or terminology) to what is currently in the SDAs. The overriding aim of modernisation and harmonisation, which has been applied to the production of the Armed Forces Act, is extended to harmonisation between regular and reserve forces legislation where possible. This is particularly important as reserve forces are frequently operating alongside regular forces.

872.This Schedule sets out those amendments to the Reserve Forces Act 1980 (“the 1980 Act”) that are required as a result of changes in policy, terminology or modernisation under the Act, or in the armed forces more generally. For example, most of the provisions in the 1980 Act that relate to the Ulster Defence Regiment are being repealed as the UDR no longer exists.

873.The Reserve Forces Act 1996 (“the 1996 Act”) drew heavily upon the current SDAs in order to ensure commonality of treatment between reserve and regular forces and to reduce potential inconsistency by using similar wording. Consequently, where provisions in this Act have changed what is currently in the SDAs, amendments to the 1996 Act are required. This Schedule sets out the required changes to the 1996 Act so as to align its policy and provisions with those in the Act wherever possible. For example, section 98 is amended to refer to the offences of desertion or absence without leave under the Act rather than under the SDAs.

874.Aside from the amendments to the 1980 and 1996 Acts that are consequential upon the harmonisation and modernisation brought about by the Armed Forces Act, this Schedule also contains important substantive amendments to the 1996 Act, namely the inclusion of three new sections (sections 53A, 55A and 57A). These new sections all provide reservists with the ability to enter into agreements to undertake further periods of permanent service than the current limitations in the 1996 Act permit. The current provisions set down the maximum periods of permanent service that a reservist can be required to undertake within a given period pursuant to the call out orders under the 1996 Act. However, experience in recent operations has shown that many reservists want to be able to volunteer for further periods of permanent service, but are prevented from doing so by the current provisions; consequently in some areas of expertise we have experienced manning difficulties that we would not otherwise have encountered, as well as missing the opportunity to deploy reservists with valuable operational experience.

875.The new sections do not provide for the extension of a current term of permanent service. They are for use by those reservists who have completed a term of permanent service and have been released from it (and returned to the UK if they were deployed abroad). Should they volunteer to enter into a new period of permanent service under these provisions they will be served with a call-out notice and will be required to attend a mobilisation centre and go through the procedure that leads to acceptance into permanent service, such as a medical examination.

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