On 2 August 1907, Lord Haldane, a distinguished Scottish lawyer, the Liberal MP for Haddingtonshire and Minister for War, was responsible for the passage of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 through the UK Parliament. In 1908 this Act brought into existence the Territorial Force, known formerly as the Territorial Army, and now know as the Army Reserve, but put responsibility for training the reserves with the Regular Army. Haldane recognised that a Force raised by voluntary enlistment and comprising individuals constrained by the conditions of their civil employment needed different administrative support to that found in Regular Forces. He also believed that, to ensure sustainability its funding should be independent of the Regular Force, so he established at the same time 104 Territorial Force Associations, one for each County. These Territorial Force Associations maintained the Territorial Force property, with drill halls and rifle ranges, and supplied units with much of their equipment. These not only went some way to towards protecting the Territorial Force's sustainable funding, but, with the active cooperation of King Edward, swung county hierarchies solidly behind the new force. Lord Lieutenants were ex-officio presidents of their Associations and The Territorial Year Book for 1909 shows just how successful Haldane had been in linking landed wealth, local military experience and big employers in his associations.
The Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 has evolved through a number of iterations into the Reserve Forces Act 1996 which provides the legislative base for all the Volunteer Reserve Forces and the 13 Reserve Forces and Cadets Associations (RFCAs) of today.
In 1922 the title was changed to Territorial and Auxiliary Forces Association on the formation of the Auxiliary Air Force, later the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. In 1967 the title became Territorial, Auxiliary and Volunteer Reserve Associations (TAVRA) when the County based Associations amalgamated and reduced to 14 Associations. In early 1980s TAVRAs assumed responsibility for Royal Navy Reserve and Royal Marines Reserve on-shore accommodation outside of RN and RM bases.
From 1 April 2000 title changed to Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Association to reflect tri-Service responsibilities and Cadet interests. That same year, amalgamation reduced the number of Associations to13.
There are two RFCAs in Scotland: Lowland RFCA covers the area from the Forth-Clyde Valley including Glasgow and Edinburgh south to the border with England. The remainder of Scotland is covered by Highland RFCA.