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Author: NFF

In December 2020 the Defence Committee launched an inquiry on Women in the Armed Forces: From Recruitment to Civilian Life.

 

The aim of the inquiry is to look at the experience of female Service personnel from recruitment to transition and consider whether there are unique challenges that are not adequately addressed by the current policies and services. Other areas of interest that the Committee are keen to cover within the scope of the inquiry include issues around pensions, terms and conditions of employment, housing, and general wellbeing.

 

As part of the inquiry, female Service personnel were invited to complete an online survey. Based on feedback and issues raised by Service personnel and their loved ones, the Naval Families Federation submitted our observations on behalf of our community. Key themes include:

  • Harmony and separation;
  • Culture and expectations;
  • Childcare;

 

You can find our paper and other written evidence here.

 

NFF CEO Anna Wright attended an oral evidence session on 4th March. Watch the recording here (11:09:19 onwards).

 

Posted on: 3rd March, 2021
Updated on: 4th March, 2021

From 1 July 2021, the way in which the Armed Forces’ Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) is calculated will be changing. LOA is intended to contribute towards the additional local cost of day-to-day living when Service personnel are assigned overseas.

 

The changes

Eligibility for LOA remains the same. It will still be paid automatically alongside the monthly salary.

 

The new package is made up of the LOA daily rate and two needs-based provisions that contribute towards your overseas private vehicle and respite (travel and accommodation) costs.

 

One of the most significant changes will be the introduction of a single band for all Service personnel regardless of rank, removing the previous rank-based banding system.

 

Split Net Pay (update)

When the new LOA package was first announced on 1 February 2021, the policy included the cessation of Split Net Pay as a routine mechanism to transfer a portion of Service personnel pay and allowances into an overseas bank account. Noting various factors such as the impact of Brexit on bank charges and transfers as well as the current international economic climate, the policy regarding Split Net Pay has been reversed. The new LOA package will have no impact on access to the Split Net Pay facility which will continue to be made available to service personnel in receipt of LOA.

 

Overseas Private Vehicle Provision (OPVP)

The package will include a new OPVP to assist Service personnel with access to a private motor vehicle at the LOA area. This provision will be available from 1 April 2021 so that those who are assigned into the LOA area prior to the change (1 July) has the choice of which vehicle provision to utilise. Please click here to read a directed letter from the MOD which gives more detail into the provision and transitionary arrangements.

 

Transition to the new package

All Service personnel receiving LOA on 30 June 2021 will automatically transfer on to the new package on 1 July 2021. However, any locations that see a significant reduction in the daily rate of LOA, will have their rates reduced over a period of up to three years (1 July 2021 to 1 July 2024). All increases in rates will immediately take full effect on 1 July 2021.

 

Further information

Rates will be available to Service personnel from June 2021. Please click here to read a guidance from the government’s website. You can watch a short explanatory video below:

 

 

Enquiries

As a result of the changes to the LOA, we received some feedback on a few areas, including Split Pay and Private Vehicle Provision, which we put to the MOD Team.  They have provided the below information in response: 

MOD's response

The LOA review of 2015 was an extremely thorough process in which the single Services were consulted at every step. The implementation programme has similarly involved the single Services and the proposals have been agreed by the Defence Secretary, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Chief of Defence People and the Military People Leadership Team.

The feedback that we are receiving is helping us to address the LOA issues that Service personnel are most concerned about. In listening to such feedback, we recently re-examined the proposed removal of Split Net Pay and I can inform you that it will now remain available on its current basis. I can also clarify another of the points concerning Overseas Private Vehicle Provision (OPVP). In the new LOA, the vehicle element will no longer be paid as part of the core LOA contribution. In the new model, the OPVP becomes better targeted and will be claimed at the point of vehicle related expenditure which is when the individual will realise the most practical benefit from it. Further detail on the OPVP will be released in March and April ahead of the new LOA being implemented in July. (See this Directed Letter for update)

The supporting communications plan for LOA is phased and has been signed off by the Secretary of State. The first phase was focused on raising awareness for the change so that Service personnel and their families had time to ask questions and understand what the change means for them. We also ensured that Senior Chains of Command received the information, ahead of a programme of virtual roadshows that the Armed Forces Remuneration team are currently presenting through February and March to talk through the new LOA in more detail and take on board feedback. Two presentations are planned in the USA, on 4th March and 9th March. This will be accompanied by further material being made available ahead of the implementation on 01 July 21. A major step was the recent release, by the single Services, of our more detailed briefing packs for the benefit of local Commanders and Unit Administration staff around the world. We are also arranging a similar presentation for senior UK based Commands in order to raise awareness among those who are likely to serve abroad in the future.

We are very well aware that the key issue for many is ‘how much will my new LOA rate be?’ We are being very open with Commands and with Service personnel that we cannot answer that until late May/early June. This is because the data upon which the initial set of rates will be calculated will not be available to us until April ‘21. By adhering to this timetable, we will be able to ensure that the new LOA rates will be based on the most up to date economic information available. I can also confirm that the 2015 LOA Review had no remit to achieve cost savings and that the ‘new LOA’ will be broadly cost neutral in comparison with the existing model.

Posted on: 12th February, 2021
Updated on: 23rd February, 2021

On 8th February 2021, the Armed Forces Bill 2019-21 received Second Reading and was committed to the Armed Forces Bill Select Committee for consideration.

 

The Armed Forces Bill will enshrine the Armed Forces Covenant in law and help prevent past and currently serving personnel and their families being disadvantaged when accessing services like education and improve the Service Justice System for our personnel wherever they are operating.

 

Focusing on healthcare, housing and education, it will increase awareness among public bodies of the unique nature of military service, improving the level of service for members of the Armed Forces community, no matter where in the UK they live.

 

Quick overview

Since the launch of the Armed Forces Covenant in 2011, many businesses have committed to offering part-time or flexible working patterns to Reservists and military spouses/partners. Enshrining the Covenant in law also builds on a number of initiatives implemented over the past year to support Service leavers and veterans. These include the Defence Transition Services organisation, which was established to assist those facing the greatest difficulties successfully transition to civilian life after leaving Service.

 

The NFF are proud to be part of Forces Families Jobs, a collaborative project between the three Families Federations in conjunction with the MOD Relationship Management Team to support current serving military families and Service Leavers with employment and training opportunities.

 

The Bill will also make the complaints system more efficient by bringing the time given to personnel to lodge an appeal in line with timings offered in the private sector.

 

The Bill will also renew the Armed Forces Act 2006, following the Armed Forces Acts of 2011 and 2016.

 

Select Committee

On 3rd March 2021, the House of Commons launched the Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill, chaired by James Sunderland MP. The Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill 2021 has held its first meeting to agree its programme of scrutiny on the Armed Forces Bill 2019-21. NFF CEO Anna Wright attended an oral evidence session at 2.30pm on 4th March 2021. You can watch the session on Parliament TV here.

 

Written evidence

The Committee welcomes written evidence submission on all the provisions within the Bill as well as any notable omissions and additionally on the state of Armed Forces pay. Evidence submissions will be accepted until midday on 21st March 2021. Read more about the call for evidence here.

 

Further details
  • Please click here to read the news story.
  • Click here to find out more about the Bill and its other measures.

 

Posted on: 11th February, 2021
Posted on: 4th March, 2021

It is with great pleasure that we, at the Naval Families Federation, are launching our 2021 Childcare report. We hope that you will agree with us, that it has been worth the wait and that it will help to shape the future of childcare for the Royal Navy.

 

We are so grateful to everyone who responded to our childcare survey last year. Our report aims to ensure that your voices, experiences and concerns that you have about childcare in the Royal Navy have been accurately represented. In addition to families’ feedback we have included lots of relevant research.

 

The focus of this report is on those aspects of childcare which place an extra burden on households as a direct result of Royal Navy Service life.

 

It is our aspiration that the short and long term recommendations made in this report will inform future MOD policy (including the wraparound childcare pilot and policy), as well as Royal Navy and wider Royal Navy charitable support.

 

To read the full report, please download the interactive PDF here.

 

Posted on: 27th January, 2021

 

Launching the second Edition of Families transition too! A Transition Guide – for the families of Royal Navy and Royal Marines Service Leavers.

 

The Naval Families Federation is delighted to introduce the second Edition of Families transition too! A Transition Guide – for the families of Royal Navy and Royal Marines Service Leavers.

 

When we first produced this guide, we wanted to ensure that families of Service Leavers were supported during their Service person’s transition out of the RN/RM.  The guide was received so well by our audience that we wanted to ensure that you had all of the latest information available.

 

The new edition highlights some key new additions that we wanted families to be aware of such as the new Defence Transition Service, the newly launched Veterans Railcard, new employment support for spouses and partners and changes to policies, that for the first time, recognise the important role that families have to play in their Service person’s transition.

 

We hope that this updated version helps you and your family to prepare and plan for your transition out of the Royal Navy or Royal Marines.

 

Please click here to read the eBook or click here to download as PDF.

 

Posted on: 8th January, 2021

**EDIT: This page has now expired. Please click here for a list of emergency contact details.**

 

We wish you a very Happy Christmas from all of us here at the Naval Families Federation. Please note that our offices will be closed from Friday 18th December 2020 to Monday 4th January 2021. Should you require urgent assistance over this period, you can find emergency contact details here:

 

Combat Stress Mental Health Helpline

Combat Stress

If you’re currently serving in the UK Armed Forces, you can call Combat Stress’ 24-hour mental health helpline. A team of specially-trained professionals are available day and night to provide free confidential advice and support. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Their contact details are as follows:

The Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC)

The Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC)

If circumstances should arise, whilst your relative is deployed overseas that make it necessary for you to apply for his or her return home on compassionate grounds, such as a death in the family or a serious illness, you should contact JCCC at 01452 519951. This number is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days per week throughout the Christmas period.

The Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion supports serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

 

They will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Their Contact Centre helpline will be available to call for the rest of the period:

  • 0808 802 8080 from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week (calls are free from UK landlines and main mobile networks) for all enquiries.
  • From overseas: +44 (0)20 3376 8080 (full rate)
Royal Navy Family & People Support (RN FPS)

If you have a concern or issue over the Christmas period that needs some support, especially if your Serving person is away from home please call RN FPS. They are available throughout the Christmas Period:

  • Opening hours: Mon – Fri 0800 – 2000; Sat & Sun (& Public Holidays) 0900 – 1600
  • Tel: 0800 145 6088/02392 728777
  • Out of Hours: via Officer of the Watch (OOW) – Portsmouth: 023 92 723875; Plymouth: 01752 555220; Yeovilton: 01935 45 5444/5446; Faslane: (DNBO) 01436 674321, ext. 4005
  • Email: navynps-peoplesptrnfpsptl@mod.gov.uk
The Samaritans

The Samaritans are available 24 hours a day all year around.

 

Please call:

  • UK – 116 123
  • Welsh Language Line – 0808 164 0123 (Not24-Hour, every day 1900 – 2300)
  • Republic of Ireland – 116 123
SSAFA Forces Line

SSAFA Forces Line

Strengthening Families - By Your Side

‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’ offers Royal Navy and Royal Marines families the right support at the right time. This programme has been developed by the RNRMC and Naval Families Federation, with additional funding support from the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

Some services may be accessible during this Christmas period. Please visit the programme partners’ websites for further details.

 

A5 insert, talking about strengthening families.

The 2020 Covenant Annual Report is now available. The NFF was delighted to have the opportunity again this year to set out our Formal Observations on the report (p.13 onwards).

 

Further support delivered this year includes:Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2020 - Summary on a page
  • The MOD extended the Education Support Fund to the 2020/21 financial year
  • In addition to MOD investing £123 million in-year to Service Families Accommodation, the government committed £200 million to improve MOD accommodation
  • The Forces Help to Buy scheme was extended until December 2022
  • The MOD’s Wraparound Childcare pilot programme began making payments to families at the first pilot sites, RAF High Wycombe and RAF Halton.
  • The Living in Our Shoes report was published. This is an independent review of the support provided to Service families, commissioned by MOD and led by Andrew Selous MP.
  • The Defence Holistic Transition Policy, Joint Service Publication 100, to support Service leavers and their families to adjust to all aspects of the transition to civilian life, was published.

 

We would encourage you to read through the Report to learn more about the work being undertaken to support you and your family. If you have any comments on the Report, or would like to raise a concern which you believe falls within the remit of the Armed Forces Covenant, please get in touch with us via our website.

 

Posted on: 10th December, 2020

We are very grateful to Annington Trust for so generously funding our Winter Glow project, for which there has been tremendous demand. However, we regret that this project is now closed.

It wasn’t much of a summer, but the NFF team did our best to Brighten Your Day with a little something to amuse or entertain you.

 

Now, as 2020 draws to a welcome close and we keep our fingers crossed for 2021, we’ve revamped our shopping list in order to offer you a warm, welcoming Winter Glow.

 

Winter Glow is essentially Brighten Your Day in a scarf and gloves – the Annington Trust generously agreed, once again, to support Royal Navy and Royal Marines families (Regular and Reserves) with resources to support resilience, enhance coping strategies and bring a bit of cheer in difficult times, this time tailored to colder weather and longer nights.

 

As with the Brighten Your Day project, Winter Glow aims to provide Royal Navy and Royal Marines families (Regular and Reserves) with resources to support resilience, enhance coping strategies and bring a bit of cheer in difficult times.

 

It is designed to support those families experiencing periods of separation or those impacted by covid-19.

 

Eligibility
  • This project is for currently serving Royal Navy and Royal Marines families (Regular & Reserve) who have been impacted by COVID-19.
  • You will need to provide us with your serving loved one’s Service number for eligibility purposes.
  • The provision of resources is limited to one item per Service number. The provision of resources is subject to funding and availability. Should your item be unavailable, a suitable alternative will be sourced where possible.
  • If you received resources from Brighten Your Day, you are still eligible to apply to Winter Glow.

* Do get in touch with the project team at project@nff.org.uk should you have any questions about your existing order.

 

Posted on: 7th December, 2020
Updated on: 1st March, 2021

*APPLICATION CLOSED – thank you for your interest*
Role: Family Advocate
Full-time post, 36 hours per week based in Portsmouth.
Initial salary £20,000 Per Annum.

 

Here’s who we are:

The Naval Families Federation exists to speak up for Royal Navy and Royal Marines families.  We represent their views and experiences to those who make the policies and decisions that affect them. We meet regularly with the Royal Navy’s Chain of Command, government ministers, other government departments and other key stakeholders.  We also support appropriate and relevant research.

 

Here’s who we are looking for:

Someone who will be the welcoming voice and one of the first responders for enquiries into the NFF. The post-holder has the responsibility of responding to enquiries from serving personnel and their families and advocating on their behalf to engage with issues that can sometimes be complex, ranging across a number of subjects. The ideal candidate will be both patient and diplomatic, understanding the nuances of the Naval lifestyle.  The role will extend into developing a more in-depth knowledge base as a policy lead for an area affecting Naval families.

The successful candidate will have a close understanding and experience of the modern Naval Service lifestyle, and have the ability to build effective relationships in order to advocate on issues affecting Service families, engaging with the Chain of Command and external stakeholders and working closely with the Federation’s subject-area leads. This will be coupled with strong written and verbal skills, accurate record-keeping skills and the ability to organise time in order to prioritise tasks.

This is a key role within a small organisation where everyone’s contribution makes a difference, so the ideal candidate will feel comfortable working as a team member and agile enough to manage several work-strands simultaneously.  If you fit the description and have a tenacious approach, we would love you to put your application forward.

 

To apply
  • Click here to download the job specification. (applications closed – link has now expired)
  • Click here to download the application form. (applications closed – link has now expired)
  • Send completed application forms to contactus@nff.org.uk or by post to the address below.
  • Applications close at midday on Wednesday 6th January 2021.
  • Interviews for the vacancy will be held in Portsmouth on Tuesday 12th January 2021.

 

Naval Families Federation

CEO: Anna Wright

Building 25, HMS Excellent, Whale Island, Portsmouth, PO2 8ER

Tel: 023 9265 4374