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Author: NFF

There are many organisations that offer free employment and financial support, from CV and interview skills to starting your very own business. There are also organisations that advertise positions specifically aimed at Service spouses and partners.

 

Employment Support
Career Transition Partnership (CTP)

CTP is a partnering agreement between the Ministry of Defence and Right Management Ltd that provides resettlement services for those leaving the Armed Services.

 

Forces Families Jobs (FFJ)

FFJ is a Tri-Service platform to enable family members of serving personnel to have a ‘one-stop shop’ where they can apply for jobs directly with employers who have signed the Armed Forces Covenant as well as find signposting to other career and training opportunities. Listen to this podcast to find out more about the platform. Click here to read about the success stories.

 

Recruit for Spouses (RfS)

RfS is the leading organisation helping Armed Forces spouses all over the UK into employment. To hear more about how they can help you if you are an employer or a spouse please take a look at their promotional video here or visit their website.

 

RFEA The Forces Employment Charity

RFEA has launched a Families Programme that provides tailored careers and employability support to meet the diverse and individual needs of partners within the Armed Forces Community (all partners and spouses of both serving personnel and veterans including those who are separated, divorced, and widowed in the UK and overseas).  It’s easy to register, click here  to submit your request or call our central support team on 0121 262 3058 who’ll connect you with an Advisor or email info@rfea.org.uk 

 

X-Forces

X-Forces is an award-winning Community Interest Company that nurtures entrepreneurial ambition in the UK military community, by supporting start-up and scale-up businesses.

 

Unsung Hero Dependants’ Business Start-Up Programme

Funded by HSBC and delivered by the University of Wolverhampton, this programme has been developed specifically for Armed Forces families to provide them with the transferable skills and support required to start and maintain a business that will not be restricted to a geographical area, allowing families to become more financially stable and break the cycle of being unable to work.

 

Career Pursuit:  

Career Pursuit is a free online one-stop-shop magazine providing tailored advice to military spouses, partners, and veterans looking to build a career that works for them. The magazine highlights the challenges of employment for military spouses and partners and features solutions through a wide range of articles, from how to access free digital marketing courses to how to start a podcast and pensions for business owners and much more. It offers advice to both job seekers and entrepreneurs!

 

Training Opportunities
Amazon Web Services – Restart

Covenant signatory Amazon Web Services (AWS) have pledged support for the military community with the launch of their free four-week AWS re:Start programme, which aims to provide training and potential employment opportunities in computing technology.

 

Apprenticeships

The Government has put together an information hub for members of the public to access information on becoming an apprentice.

 

Essential Training

Essential Teaching UK is a recognised education and training organisation delivering high quality training throughout the UK. They offer Service spouses and partners payment for courses in installments with 0% interest.

 

Lifeworks

Lifeworks Families is a Royal British Legions Industries programme, delivered in partnership with the Ministry of Defence, providing fantastic free employment courses.

 

National Careers Service

This website provides careers advice and information on a wide range of jobs, training course resources and funding.

 

Social Media Spouses

Funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, BFBS has launched a free online social media training programme for Service spouses and partners. Social Media Spouses is a 12-week course that is designed by social media experts, to offer spouses/partners the opportunity to build up professional skills.

 

Funding
President’s Award Scheme

Women’s Section President’s Award Scheme provides educational sponsorship by way of educational grants and scholarships to spouses of non-commissioned officers, both serving and ex-serving Armed Forces personnel. Assistance is awarded to those seeking first degrees, and grants are awarded towards re-training programmes, books, travel costs and other related costs.

 

X-Forces Business Start-up Loan

X-Forces (see ‘Employment Support’) has set up a business start-up loan scheme to help the Armed Forces community to start their own business.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 29th June, 2021

There are houses or flats available to personnel who need temporary accommodation for short periods of time, either for themselves or their family. To find Contact Housing in your area, please visit the NS FPS website.

 

Short Term Family Accommodation (STFA)

Short Term Family Accommodation is a group of Service Family Accommodation properties which have been set aside for use as temporary self-catering accommodation primarily for welfare reasons.

The Scheme is aimed at enabling Service personnel to utilise these facilities for both themselves and visiting friends or family members with priority always given to welfare/compassionate cases.

Service Personnel, Veterans, MOD civilians and their families can expect fully equipped Service Family Accommodation with everything they need, from duvets and linen, to TV/DVD players and cooking facilities. Properties are available for a minimum stay of two nights to a maximum stay of six months.

For further information, please click here.

 

Cotswold Centre

The Services Cotswold Centre provides secure and affordable temporary housing for serving personnel and their families from all three services.

The Centre is primarily open to those that are:

  • subject of emergency evacuation from overseas;
  • in transit between postings or retiring;
  • with welfare housing issues.

The accommodation is located near Corsham, Wiltshire. It can provide accommodation for up to six months. It comprises of 60 self-contained homes.

The three bedroom chalets and converted flatlets are all self catering. They are fully furnished and include a TV, fridge/freezer, crockery, bedding and towels. On-site facilities include a primary school.

Families may be accommodated if they are:

  • a Service person and/or their spouse/civil partner, whether or not they are accompanied by children or any other authorised immediate family members;
  • estranged families/spouses/civil partners of personnel who are able to cover the costs of their accommodation and living expenses;
  • injured personnel, their carers and/or immediate family members, where authorised by the Officer Commanding of the Centre and welfare providers – for the purposes of recuperation during rehabilitation.

This may include those in receipt of a Family Maintenance Grant. Families in UK SFA will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances – with authority from the single Service Housing Colonels.

Where a requirement falls outside of this eligibility, the parent Unit should seek advice from the Officer Commanding of the Centre.

Personnel should see 2015DIN01-029 on the Defence Intranet for further details, including the full eligibility criteria and the priority order for housing people in the Centre.

 

Navy Mews

The plan to take a tired and unused office space and re-purpose it into bespoke, self-contained units has been through many phases and challenges. However, as the New Year started, the official opening of the Royal Navy’s three new single parent units in Dreadnaught Block, HMS Nelson, turned plans into reality.

The aim behind the project is to give single serving parents the ideal environment to spend time and build relationships with their children when not away on deployment.

For some time a solution has been sought to address the challenges of finding a safe and comfortable place for personnel to use, and the Royal Navy hopes this will prove to be a huge step in helping separated families.

Commander Martin Evans, the Naval Base Executive Officer, explained:

“We identified a need back in 2010. If a Service person is the primary care-giver in a child’s life, the MOD will always provide a permanent home, however, separated single parents often struggle to retain quality contact because of a combination of the constraints imposed by Service life, the costs involved and significantly, the lack of an accessible home from home facility. We wanted to provide somewhere where these parents can have a semblance of normality, where they can eat together, play together and bond in a home environment – rather than a hotel and a weekend of fast food.

The project is a great example of collaborative working. RNRMC took on the mantle of securing the funding needed to deliver the project, successfully bidding for and raising the £250,000 required. This was just the tip of the iceberg in a project of this size and ambition. RNRMC’s Director of Relationships and Funding, Mandy Lindley said, “I am really delighted to see this project materialize. The close cooperative working with the Chain of Command and the Accommodation Officer, Sara Williams, has delivered, despite the many challenges that presented themselves as we progressed this plan. I have been involved with this project since arriving with RNRMC some 18 months ago and have seen the highs and the lows, and witnessed the sheer determination and innovation needed to ensure that this truly valuable resource could be made available for families.”

The three apartments each have a theme: ‘Poppy’ which has been adapted for any visitors who may need easier access or who have additional needs: ‘Shabby Chic’; and ‘Beach’. The finishing touches for each of the themed ‘Mews’ have been supplied via an innovative scheme which has involved the creative work of the wives and partners who attend ‘Friends at No 10’ (a Community House for Armed Forces families living in Portsmouth). Working with the Portsmouth based ‘Company of Makers’, the group from ‘Friends at No 10′ have created bespoke throws and cushions for the flats. Volunteers who attend the Friday sewing class, crafted unique, soft furnishings to help visitors feel welcome and at home.

Additional collaboration has come in the form of many generous donation from a number of sources, particularly from within the Service families’ community. Each room benefits from donated toys, games and books, providing the perfect environment for relationships to flourish.

To book Navy Mews, please call 02392 723 165 or email: NAVYNBCP-NAVYMEWS@mod.uk.

 

Stepping Stones

SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) have two Stepping Stones Homes in North West London and in Tyne & Wear. The Homes offer temporary supported accommodation to women with a Service connection (with or without children), who are in need of a secure environment and emergency accommodation. Applications should be made through the Welfare Authorities or Families Officers to SSAFA. More information can be found on the SSAFA website.

 

Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO)

The Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) website has information for those who need re-housing. There is information on homelessness, Council housing, and affordable housing schemes etc. You can also get information on JSHAO’s regular housing briefings and their Housing Matters Magazine. Click here to visit their website.

 

Contact Houses/Welcome Houses

Contact Houses or Welcome Houses are the houses or flats on an estate, which are available to personnel who need temporary accommodation for short periods of time, either for themselves or their family. To find Contact Housing in your area, please visit the NS FPS website.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 2nd December, 2019

When living in Service Family Accommodation (SFA), you will need to insure your home.

 

Standard home liability insurance does not cover Service family accommodation (SFA).

 

The Ministry of Defence recommends (JSP 464, Volume 1, Part 1, Section I, Paragraph 0605) that you take out a specialist type of insurance that covers your liability, up to £20,000, for any damage you or your family may do to your Service family accommodation. This is called ‘Licence to Occupy’ insurance.

 

The Services Insurance and Investment Advisory Panel (SIIAP) provides details of insurance providers who can ensure that you have the necessary ‘Licence to Occupy’ cover.

 

You may also wish to take out home contents insurance.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018

What is the scheme?

Regular Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel can benefit from a £200 million scheme to help them get on the property ladder. The Forces Help to Buy scheme enables Servicemen and Servicewomen to borrow up to 50% of their salary, interest free, to buy their first home or move to another property on assignment or as their families needs’ change.

The pilot scheme, which launched in April 2014, aims to address the low rate of home ownership in the Armed Forces.

 

Who can use the scheme?

All regular personnel who:

  • have completed 12 months service from the date of enlistment; AND
  • have completed Phase One Training.; AND
  • meet the right medical categories.

Please refer to JSP 464 (part 1 directive) for more details.

 

How much can be borrowed under the scheme?

This scheme allows Service personnel to borrow up to 50% of their annual salary, to a maximum of £25,000. This can be used towards a deposit and other costs such as solicitor’s and estate agent’s fees.

 

How to get it?

Servicemen and Servicewomen can apply for the loan online through the Joint Personnel Administration system and can seek advice on their application through their Chain of Command and personnel agency.

If you are considering buying a home, but have not done so before, you may wish to read some general information on how to buy one and understand better how the process works.

 

Find out about buying a home

Below are links to useful information:

First time buyer guide

Citizens Advice Bureau

The Money Advice Service

Moneyforce

Help to Buy

Home and Communities Agency

Joint service housing advice office (JSHAO)

HM Revenue & Customs guidance

 

Closing date
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced on 22nd October 2019 that the Forces Help to Buy initiative will remain open to new applications until the end of 2022.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 6th April, 2020

In April 2017 the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) launched a compensation scheme in the UK to cover missed appointments and significant issues at move-in for Service Family Accommodation (SFA) and Substitute Service Family Accommodation (SSFA).

 

Please note that claims must be made within 14 days of the issue occurring. Once an application is received, the DIO Compensation Claim Team will then consider the claim and the claimant will be informed whether this has been accepted or rejected. If accepted, this will be in the form of High Street Vouchers – please be aware that no alternatives will be offered; if rejected, then the reasons for this will be explained. There will be no appeals process.

 

For full information/to apply for this scheme, please click here.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 16th February, 2021

For enquiries about loss of entitlement to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) resulting from retirement, redundancy, discharge or estrangement, please contact the Loss of Entitlement Team by telephoning 01904 418000 or 94510 8000. Please note their phone lines are only operational between 9.00am – 12 noon and from 1.00pm – 3.00pm.

 

They are contactable via email throughout the whole working day at DIORDAccn-LOETeam@mod.gov.uk

 

 

If you believe that you will lose entitlement to SFA in the future, or find yourself in this situation, advice is available from a variety of sources. As well as the Joint Service Housing Advice Office, other sources of information and advice are: service charities; families federations; housing advice centres; and local authorities.

 

Customer service centres

There are a number of Amey Defence Services customer service centres throughout the UK. These offices provide you with the opportunity to discuss any issues about services provided by Amey Defence Service face-to-face.

 

To find your nearest local customer service centre either contact the Amey Defence Services Helpdesk on 0800 707 6000 or view the link above.

 

Base Port Agreement

If you are occupying SFA in one of the three Base Port Areas (Portsmouth, Plymouth or Faslane) then you can retain your SFA on assignment to a new Duty Station, but in advance of your assignment date you must log onto the e1132 form (application to occupy SFA) via the Defence Intranet. You need to click the button ‘retain current SFA on posting within the Base Port Scheme’. This should be done within 14 days of receiving your Assignment Order and should be done on each assignment in order for your retention expiry date to be amended. Your occupancy data is updated and your continued entitled occupation can be confirmed for allowance purposes or for disturbance if moving at a later date.

 

What happens in the background is that the stock management system then recognises you as part of the Naval Service and therefore able to remain in your Port Area. If you don’t inform the ‘system’ that you wish to remain it thinks that there is not a match between your assignment location and SFA location which prompts Amey Defence Services to issue you with a Notice to Vacate. You need to be aware that if you occupy Substitute SFA (SSFA) in one of the Port Areas retention will be granted, but you will be expected to move to SFA if and when there is suitable availability within that Port Area.

 

If you are serving away from a Base Port area and you are then assigned away from the area then you should apply for SFA at your next place of duty. There are exceptions to this regulation, however, you must apply for a retention.

 

There has to be explicit reasons to retain that are recognised under the regulations and you will need to provide appropriate supporting documentation at the time of the application. A number of retention criteria require Chain of Command support particularly for welfare or medical reasons when, in the first instance, the Local Service Commander will consider the case in consultation with appropriate medical, welfare (NS FPS and Divisional system), educational agencies and Amey Defence Services Occupancy Service. If agreed, retentions will be granted for a period of up to 12 months (you can re-request prior to expiry if the circumstances continue to persist) and confirms continued entitled occupation for allowance and disturbance purposes.

 

If a retention request is unsuccessful it does not form any kind of bar to future use of SFA, but it may be that if you wish to stay in a particular location (other than Port Area) for a period of time beyond assignment dates, then housing options outside the SFA estate will need to be considered such as rental or purchase. There are schemes for Tenancy Deposit Loans (DIB201516) which enables personnel to receive an advance of pay for rental properties or the Forces Help to Buy Scheme for assistance to buy into the property market. More information can be found here.

 

Tri-Service SFA and SSFA accommodation regulations are contained in JSP464 Volume 1 parts 1 and 2 here or via DII. Retention is fully covered in Chapter 7, Paragraph 0725 and includes guidance for all retention criteria.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 25th October, 2019

In general terms, Service personnel who are either married or in a Civil Partnership are entitled to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) within a ten-mile radius of their place of work.

 

If you are occupying SFA in one of the three Base Port Areas (Portsmouth, Plymouth or Faslane) then you can retain your SFA on assignment to a new Duty Station, but in advance of your assignment date you must log onto the e1132 form (application to occupy SFA) via the Defence Intranet. You need to click the button ‘retain current SFA on posting within the Base Port Scheme’. This should be done within 14 days of receiving your Assignment Order and should be done on each assignment in order for your retention expiry date to be amended. Your occupancy data is updated and your continued entitled occupation can be confirmed for allowance purposes or for disturbance if moving at a later date.

 

What happens in the background is that the stock management system then recognises you as part of the Naval Service and therefore able to remain in your Port Area. If you don’t inform the ‘system’ that you wish to remain it thinks that there is not a match between your assignment location and SFA location which prompts Amey to issue you with a Notice to Vacate. You need to be aware that if you occupy Substitute SFA (SSFA) in one of the Port Areas retention will be granted, but you will be expected to move to SFA if and when there is suitable availability within that Port Area.

 

If you are serving away from a Base Port area and you are then assigned away from the area then you should apply for SFA at your next place of duty. There are exceptions to this regulation, however, you must apply for a retention.

 

There has to be explicit reasons to retain that are recognised under the regulations and you will need to provide appropriate supporting documentation at the time of the application. A number of retention criteria require Chain of Command support particularly for welfare or medical reasons when, in the first instance, the Local Service Commander will consider the case in consultation with appropriate medical, welfare (NS FPS and Divisional system), educational agencies and Amey Occupancy Service. If agreed, retentions will be granted for a period of up to 12 months (you can re-request prior to expiry if the circumstances continue to persist) and confirms continued entitled occupation for allowance and disturbance purposes.

 

If a retention request is unsuccessful it does not form any kind of bar to future use of SFA, but it may be that if you wish to stay in a particular location (other than Port Area) for a period of time beyond assignment dates, then housing options outside the SFA estate will need to be considered such as rental or purchase. There are schemes for Tenancy Deposit Loans (DIB201516) which enables personnel to receive an advance of pay for rental properties or the Forces Help to Buy Scheme for assistance to buy into the property market. More information can be found here.

 

Tri-Service SFA and SSFA accommodation regulations are contained in JSP464 Volume 1 parts 1 and 2 here or via DII. Retention is fully covered in Chapter 7, Paragraph 0725 and includes guidance for all retention criteria.

 

Updated on: 2nd December, 2019

Visit the Amey Defence Services website for details on moving out of UK SFA, arranging a pre move out appointment and find out details about the Walk Away Cleaning Scheme.

 

Move out

Your move out will be attended by an Amey Defence Services Accommodation Officer who will inspect your SFA to determine if it meets the agreed move out standard.

If the standard is not satisfactory and there are deficiencies or damages that are not considered to be fair wear and tear, or you have failed to clean the property properly, a charge will be raised by the Accommodation Officer and you will be invoiced accordingly.

In this instance an appropriate Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) action will be taken by the Amey Defence Services Occupancy Services team to cease accommodation charges on that property from the date of your move out.

For more information, please click here.

 

Removal services

Agility Logistics Limited (Agility) is the MOD approved service provider for removals and is part of the Global Removal Management Services (GRMS).

 

Charges for damage and deficiencies for SFA and Substitute SFA recovery from pay

When you move out of UK Service Family Accommodation (SFA) or Substitute Service Family Accommodation (SSFA), you may be liable for charges for damages or deficiencies that are not classed as fair wear and tear or because you have failed to prepare the property to the correct standard, for example cleanliness.

Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) can take these directly from the pay of serving personnel. Any payments taken depend on the size of the charge and individual monthly income (using MOD guidelines to ensure that deductions do not exceed a set limit of pay).

If you consider that you are not responsible for the charges, or part of them, for example that the damage is the result of fair wear and tear, you are able to dispute the charge raised using the Disputed charges form’.

 

Full details on moving out of your SFA and recoveries from pay are available in:

JSP 464: Tri-Service accommodation regulations (TSARs)Part 1

JSP 754: Recoveries from pay (available on the Defence Intranet only)

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 30th August, 2018

The Combined Accommodation Assessment System (CAAS) is a charging system for Service Family Accommodation (SFA) and was announced by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) on 24th October, 2014.

 

What factors will be assessed?

CAAS considers the condition, scale and location of the property, using modern, objective assessments that aims to apply fairly and equally to all. The condition of the property is the most important factor – homes that have not been improved will be significantly cheaper – but other factors will also have a significant impact e.g. 10% discount may apply, in consideration with other weighting factors, if your broadband connection is slower than the national average.

 

More information

To find out more about CAAS and the methodology for determining the accommodation charges for SFA and SLA, please click here.

 

CAAS Challenges

If you receive a letter to say that your banding has changed and you disagree with this, you will have 28 days in which to challenge it.

You must base your challenge on factual errors and make it in writing via letter, email or using the template on DII.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018

The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) are part of the MOD’s Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP) and are a small team, who are experienced in advising Service parents on a wide range of issues regarding the education of Service children in the UK and overseas. CEAS are also the first port of call for people considering an application for Continuity of Education Allowance. You can find their contact details and further information about the types of advice they offer on gov.uk here, or see this leaflet here.

 

Posted on: 2nd May, 2018
Updated on: 6th June, 2019