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Defence Reform Act 2014

Section 47: Report on volunteer reserve forces

169.Section 47 inserts new section 113A into Part 11 of the 1996 Act, containing requirements for reserve associations to report annually to the Secretary of State on the state of the volunteer reserve forces and for the Secretary of State, on receiving such a report, to lay a copy of it before Parliament. Reserve associations are regional civilian bodies which give advice and assistance to the Defence Council in relation to the reserve forces, generate support for the reserve forces from communities and support the reserve forces by managing and maintaining land and buildings used by those forces.

170.Subsection (1) of the new section 113A requires each reserve association to prepare an annual report on the state of the reserve forces so far as concerns the area for which the association is established. Such a report must include:

  • the association’s assessment of the capabilities of the volunteer reserve forces (with particular reference to the matters listed in subsection (3)), and

  • its assessment of provision made regarding the mental welfare of members and former members of those forces (subsection (4)).

171.Reserve associations are required to send a report before the deadline set out in subsection (5) of new section 113A. The intention is that the reporting process will replace the existing non-statutory arrangement under which the External Scrutiny Group on the Future Reserves 2020 programme reports annually to the Secretary of State on that programme and the overall health of the reserve forces.

172.Section 116 of the 1996 Act makes provision so that two or more reserve associations may join in appointing from among their respective members a joint committee for any purpose in respect of which they are jointly interested. The effect of subsections (7) and (8) of new section 113A is to ensure that this joint committee mechanism may be used by reserve associations for the purpose of performing the duties under new section 113A. Accordingly, the duties under new section 113A may, for example, be performed by a joint committee appointed under section 116 by all of the reserve associations in relation to the whole of the United Kingdom.

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