Established in 1908 (as Territorial Associations) the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations (RFCAs) were originally designed to provide local support to the Territorial Force in every county. Over 100 years later the name has changed, the number of associations has reduced and the RFCA dependency has grown to encompass reserves and cadets of all 3 services.
RFCA business is publicly funded, delivered regionally and reported upon against a range of Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which lay out the support provided by the RFCAs to the single services of the MOD.
The RFCA is comprised of 13 individual associations which cover the United Kingdom. They were formed in 1908 and until 1999 were known as Territorial, Auxiliary and Volunteer Reserve Associations (TAVRAs) and are central government bodies with Crown status. The RFCAs are established by Act of Parliament, each with its own scheme of association, drawn up by the Defence Council under the Reserve Forces Act 1996 (RFA 96), therefore the RFCAs are ‘arms length bodies’ of the MOD. These schemes last for 5 years, after which re-constitution must take place.
The associations are largely comparable with regional government boundaries. Each association comprises a body of volunteer members drawn from all strata of society with a professional (salaried) secretariat that is responsible for the wellbeing of the region’s reserve forces and cadets promoting the interests of the armed forces and building relationships with the local community and employees. The salaried staff employed by the RFCAs are Crown servants.
Find out more about RFCA in your region here
Additionally a Council of RFCAs (CRFCA) has been constituted by the 13 individual RFCAs in order to provide a central coordination and a focus to enable the Associations to fulfil the requirements of their customers within resources.
RFCAs are responsible for the following:
- regionally to provide advice and support on behalf of the UK’s volunteer reserve forces and cadets
- to work with the chains of command of the 3 services to deliver support to the reserves and cadet against Service Level Agreements
- to establish and maintain links with the community and to deliver employer engagement on behalf of defence
- to deliver the volunteer estate through the maintenance and support of reserve training centres, cadet centres and training areas within which the reserves and cadets of all 3 services can conduct their activities
RFA 96 requires the RFCAS to provide 2 general duties:
- to give advice and assistance to the Defence Council
- to conform to the Defence Plan
In addition to the general duties assigned, the Defence Council through the RFCA Regulations 2009 has assigned the following tasks to the RFCAs:
- volunteer estate and infrastructure
- employer support
- cadets and youth
- establish and maintain links with the civilian community
Who we are
The RFCAs, through professionally qualified staff, are responsible on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for the upkeep of some 460 tri-service reserve forces’ sites and 2,300 cadet centres. This impressive portfolio of properties provides the vital footprint and hub for all reserve and cadet activity.
The RFCAs maintain the estate to the required legal standard, ensuring that all sites are kept in good condition, fit for purpose and secure. Through their estate expertise and local knowledge they aim to provide an attractive environment in which to recruit, train and ‘refresh the spirit of our volunteers.
New buildings are commissioned, designed and maintained to the highest standards through good project and facilities management.
The RFCAs provide the support requirements for the delivery of the service cadet experience by providing the permanent support staff who maintain and run the army cadet county HQs, the safety assurance staff who ensure safe training , the material support through the buildings and training areas that cadets use for their activities and financial support to deliver those activities.
The RFCAs provide support to reservists of all services through the Defence Relationship Management organisation that provides the interface between the military and those employers who have reserves on their staff, those who seek more information or those who are supporting reserves whilst on operational deployment.
The RFCA support the MOD by providing visibility of reserve and cadet issues and solutions. They have a statutory role to report to ministers.