Covid-19: accountants called up to Army reserve

Accountants are among 3,000 Army reservists with specialist skills set to be called up by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to help in the fight against coronavirus

The reservists will form part of what is being called the Covid Support Force on top of 20,000 regular service personnel. It lifts to 23,000 the potential pool of military personnel available for the government's coronavirus response.

At the moment, only reservists with specialist skills that meet specific requests for help from other government departments will be called out.

They will be used in a range of roles, which the MoD says including deploying specialist skills such as accounting and engineering, as well as work providing medical and logistical support for the NHS and acting as liaison officers.

Jams Heappey, minister for the armed forces, said: ‘Our reservists are a truly remarkable group of people; each with their own skills and experience from their civilian careers beyond the armed forces.

‘At times like these, to be able to draw on that pool of talent and expertise is invaluable. I know that our reservists will answer the nation’s call with real enthusiasm and will play a key part in our response to Covid-19.’

In a letter to employers, who will be required to consent to release staff for the roles, Major General Simon Brooks-Ward, assistant chief of defence staff (reserves and cadets) said this was ‘just the initial stage of the tried and tested “intelligent mobilisation” process.’

He wrote: ‘It is intended to fill specific gaps by carefully selecting the right reservists available. As and when those reservists are selected, they should inform their employers and ensure there are no compelling reasons why they cannot be released, before confirming their availability for mobilisation.’

The MoD will not mobilising reservists employed in medical, welfare or other key worker roles, or those key to a role that is not included in the definition of key worker, and where the role is key to the nation’s response.

Brooks-Ward said any use of compulsory mobilisation would remain limited and driven solely by operational necessity.

Employers of mobilised reservists will be able to claim financial compensation, and are being advised to plan for employees to be deployed for at least six months, but for no longer than 12 months, which is the limit under current legislation.

MOD Major General Brooks-Ward letter

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