ACF Step Change

Somerset’s approach to Regional Command Cadets Branch Diversity and Inclusion Project


HQ Army Cadets launched the ACF Step Change project at the Commandants’ Conference at Sandhurst in January 2019, having identified the need to recognise and promote diversity and inclusion within Army Cadets. This project has developed from the ACF Women 40 project and expanded the scope of that initial project to cover all aspects of diversity and inclusion.


The aim of ACF Step Change is to ensure Army Cadets remains contemporary and relevant by becoming an exemplary reflection of British society, ultimately allowing us to maximise the number of young people who are able to benefit from the Cadet Experience.

Need for Change

If Army Cadets is to remain a relevant and meaningful youth organisation, it needs to reflect the nature of British society. Whilst some parts of the Army Cadets, notably in Somerset and the south west, are highly representative of their local communities, this is not the case across the board or at all levels. There are many reasons to change. Our young people need role models as diverse as they are, we need to reach out to untapped talent and diverse teams are proven to be more productive.


The project plans to achieve its aim through 3 key work strands:

• Identifying and removing barriers
• Celebrating diversity and promoting inclusion

• Giving everyone a voice


The project’s objectives are to:

• Provide equality of opportunity
• Promote opportunities for social mobility
• Develop and support a culture of inclusivity
• Increase gender diversity across all ranks and roles in Army Cadets
• Provide a focus for our members to communicate with each other and with the hierarchy of the organisation.
• Celebrate the achievements of women in the Army Cadets and the diversity of Army Cadets’ membership

What we’re not about

The project is not about quotas and targets, tokenism, positive discrimination, stovepipes of minority populations, losing our essential male role models or watering down the Cadet Experience.


Diversity - The ways in which we all differ including (but not limited to) our race, ethnicity, religion, beliefs, physical attributes, disabilities, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic background, life experiences (including marriage, civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity), skills and the way we think and do things.

Inclusion - The action of embracing these differences. Inclusion is about valuing and harnessing people’s unique backgrounds, talents, perspectives and insights for the benefit of individuals and the organisation.

ACF Women 40

The ACF Step Change project will incorporate ACF Women 40 and the previously announced activities designed to celebrate 40 years of women in Army Cadets. You are encouraged to continue to recognise this milestone by celebrating the contribution of our girls and women and of the organisation’s female pioneers.

Project Team

The core of the project team comprises the Project Lead, Col Hilary Williams, with Lt Col Gilly Moncur as Project Officer. Maj Catherine Skinner is Project Sponsor on behalf of Comd Cadets, GOC RC. The project team will also comprise volunteers from across the Army Cadets.

Direction and Support

The ACF Step Change project is directed by Commander Cadets and fully supported by Cadets Branch. Support to the project will be needed at all levels. Please help by promoting the project, identifying what you can do in your area to promote diversity and inclusion, giving people a voice and listening to their lived experiences and considering whether you might have the skills and time to become part of the project team.


For further details contact Somerset’s Project Officer, Capt Polly Marsh:

See the Army Cadets Twitter forums - #ACFStepChange