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Author: NFF

MOD UPDATE (NOV 21)

23rd November 2021:

MOD will undertake a public consultation on the scheme-specific amendments that will be required to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme regulations to implement the McCloud prospective remedy.

The amendments will close all Armed Forces legacy pension schemes on 31 March 2022 and ensure that from 1 April 22 all serving personnel who were full protection members will transition to the AFPS 15 and begin to accrue benefits under that scheme from that date.

The amendments will also address some minor errors and omissions in pension scheme regulations.

This consultation closes at

MOD UPDATE (OCT 21)

28th October 2021 – MOD Armed Forces Remuneration Team:

”In order to implement the prospective remedy for McCloud, details of which are outlined below, the MOD are undertaking a public consultation which details the changes that will be made to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme regulations and the effect on members. The consultation will explain the impact of the draft regulations, including the closing of the legacy pension schemes to further accrual from 31 March 2022, and the updating of transitional provisions to include those who previously did not move to AFPS 15. In addition, the regulations will make some retrospective changes to transitional provisions introduced in 2015 to remove age discrimination. The consultation will apply to the Regular and Reserve UK Armed Forces personnel who will continue in service on 1 April 2022 as members of the AFPS 15.

 

The consultation period is expected to run for 8 weeks, between mid-November 2021 to mid-January 2022 and views are encouraged from Serving Personnel and Veterans. More details on the exact dates of the consultation period, including how to respond, will be published soon.”

The government has announced a 12-week consultation seeking views on how to remove the discrimination caused by the transitional rules which meant older Service Personnel (SP) remained in their legacy schemes when other, younger, SP were transferred to the reformed scheme in 2015. 

 

In 2015 the government implemented reforms to all the main public service pension schemes, including the Armed Forces Pension Scheme. The reforms included a policy of transitional protection that meant members closest to retirement stayed in their old schemes. The Court of Appeal later found the policy to be discriminatory, primarily against younger members, and so since then the government has been working to address the discrimination. Whilst the simplest option would be to put public service pension members back in their legacy schemes, the Government has been clear that it will not do this as a significant number of personnel will be better off in the reformed (2015) schemes. Therefore, the final policy design needs to allow members a choice of which scheme is better for them.

 

The public service pensions consultation is the next stage in the process to remove the discrimination identified by the courts in the 2015 pension reforms. The changes proposed in the consultation to remove the discrimination will apply across all of the main public service pension schemes and provide members with a choice of which scheme benefits they would like to receive for the remedy period.

 

Scheme members who will be in scope are those who had service on or before 31 March 2012 and on or after 1 April 2015. This includes any pre-31 March 2012 re-joiners with a qualifying break in Service of less than 5 years. This includes those members who are currently serving and in-scope personnel who have left the service since 1 April 2015.  Members who were originally covered by the transitional protection will also be provided with a choice of which scheme benefits they would prefer to receive for the remedy period.

 

The remedy period is the time period for which members will be able to retrospectively choose which scheme benefits they will receive. It will run from 1 April 2015 which is when the reforms were introduced, until 31 March 2022 which is the point when treatment will be equalised going forward. This is because the government also proposes that, with effect from 1 April 2022, all those who continue in service will do so as members of the AFPS 15 irrespective of whether they previously had transitional protection or not.

 

The Government and the Ministry of Defence have issued communications on the consultation, the options and impacts on pension schemes. Service Personnel and families are recommended to read these communications which can be accessed through MODNET or directly on the Government’s website.

 

Posted on: 17th July, 2020
Updated on: 23rd November, 2021

In January 2019, Andrew Selous MP was asked by the then Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson to produce an independent report to capture the needs of Service families.

 

The review team gathered evidence to inform the study in a number of ways, including email consultations, visits to military bases, schools with large numbers of Service children, and meetings with key military personnel and stakeholders. The NFF was delighted to host the team at our offices to meet with Service personnel and spouses/partners at a forum during the consultation period.

 

The report, ‘Living in our Shoes’, which features our parental absence guide, is now available.

 

Key themes emerged during the review about the challenges experienced by Armed Forces families today which are regarded as detrimental to modern family life and relationships. These refer to: Service Family Accommodation (SFA); mobility; deployment; the impact of Service life on military children and young people; the employment and careers of spouses/partners; the health and well-being of Serving personnel and family members; and the impact of Service life on personal relationships.

 

Members of the Armed Forces have a great sense of pride in the work they do and the sacrifices they and their families make.

 

The report outlined over 100 recommendations in different areas to support Service personnel and their families. The recommendations are targeted primarily at actions for the MOD and the three single Services, but some have implications for other government departments and local authorities in England, the Devolved Governments of the UK, and a range of organisations in the statutory, private and charitable sectors.

 

  • You can download a copy of the summary here. The full report can be found here
  • Please click here to see the Government’s response to the recommendations made in the report.

 

Posted on: 30th June, 2020
Updated on: 16th April, 2021

Whether you are currently based in the UK or returning from an overseas assignment, Forces Families Jobs (FFJ) is the go-to place for employment and training opportunities.

 

Take a look at the success stories from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines community as a result of using FFJ/ services provided by FFJ partners:

 

Employment
  • AnnMarie

The NFF is thrilled to announce the first FFJ success story. AnnMarie is a Royal Marine’s wife currently living in Arbroath. She has successfully secured a job working as a Teaching Assistant with Dundee City Council. Watch this video to follow her journey:

 

  • Megan Green

Megan Green, an Army spouse living in Germany secured her new job with FFJ:

”I heard about it (FFJ) from the coffee morning and also through Facebook as well so for about a month I’d sat with the website ready to go … Getting a job was to get me out and about, getting me working again as I’d spent nearly two years not working. It also meant I could get my son into nursery, which has helped him a lot and it gives us that extra stability of being able to pay the bills.”

Read her full interview here.

 

Training opportunity
  • Sarah

Sarah worked at SHAPE and attended one of LifeWorks Families’ courses because she was returning to the UK soon. She wanted to update her knowledge on what an employer would be expecting. Visit this page to find out more about LifeWorks Families.

 

“Following the course I had 3 job offers, the course gave me much, much more confidence in writing my CV and in myself… I even turned down 2 job offers because I knew they weren’t right for me. I think I was selling myself short before, which again is thanks to the course. I am now working in the Civil Service where I’m based.”

 

Posted on: 10th June, 2020
Updated on: 2nd July, 2020

 

Over the past two years the Naval Families Federation (NFF) have facilitated the training of one of their team members to become a Level 1 Immigration Adviser through the Officer of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). This has been achieved with funding assistance from a Royal British Legion ‘Capacity Building’ grant, the ongoing support of the Army Families Federation’s Foreign and Commonwealth Specialist Katherine Houlston and GBS UK Immigration’s HM Forces Immigration Law expert Joanne Sullivan.

 

We are thrilled to announce that Pete Hawley has successfully passed the OISC Level 1 Assessment and the NFF are now regulated by the OISC to give qualified and timely immigration advice to Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their family members, the Chain of Command and NS FPS caseworkers.

 

The Naval Families Federation’s OISC Regulation number is N202000087

 

Working in collaboration with Joanne Sullivan from GBS UK Immigration and CPO Janine Potts from the Royal Navy Commonwealth Network, Pete is currently working on developing a comprehensive Immigration Information section for the Naval Families Federation website. The aim is for this to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for all immigration enquiries and will greatly help our Service personnel and their families to navigate the complex area of the UK’s immigration laws, which can result in significant unnecessary expense if you get it wrong.

 

Please click here to contact us.

 

Posted on: 27th May, 2020

UPDATE

As 2020 draws to a welcome close and we keep our fingers crossed for 2021, we’ve revamped the project in order to offer you a warm, welcoming Winter Glow. Please click here for more information.

On the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the Naval Families Federation (NFF) is proud to announce the ‘Brighten Your Day’ project, funded by the Annington Trust.

 

We are grateful for our Armed Forces’ sacrifice to protect our nation and its interests. As we celebrate the end of conflict in Europe 75 years ago today, we are also proud to be in the corner of currently serving members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and their families.

 

Our community is resourceful and resilient. Families and partners juggle work, childcare, finances, home responsibilities and everything else during periods when serving people are working away or deployed.

 

During the coronavirus pandemic, we recognise that there is additional pressure on currently serving Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their families. The NFF has received funding from the Annington Trust to provide them with resources to support their resilience, to enhance coping strategies and to brighten a family’s day during COVID-19.

 

UPDATE

This project has been replaced by ‘Winter Glow’. Please click here for more information.

Gallery

Thank you for your positive feedback and on-going demand – here are some of the pictures featuring you! Please contact us with your photos as we would love to see them!

Posted on: 8th May, 2020
Updated on: 7th December, 2020

 

We want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all the people who are working as part of the national response to Covid-19.

 

Many key workers in the NHS, the Armed Forces (Regular and Reserve) and other vital services are working away from home at the moment as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are living away from your family, here are some tried and tested tips from the experience of Royal Navy and Royal Marines families which may help you to navigate this time of separation.

 

You can download our resource free here.

 

 

Posted on: 30th April, 2020

 

Supporting Service Children in Education (SSCE) Cymru is a Welsh Local Government Association programme initially funded by the MOD’s Education Support Fund and funded by Welsh Government from 2019.

 

Since the programme began in 2014 SSCE Cymru has worked with schools, children and young people, Local authorities, Welsh Government, education professionals, Armed Forces families and support organisations to gather their views and experiences, build networks across Wales and raise awareness and understanding of the experiences of children of Armed Forces personnel. SSCE Cymru has developed guidance and digital resources for schools and families, hosted conferences and stakeholder days and commissioned research to better understand the needs of Service children in education.

 

School survey

In 2019, SSCE Cymru invited all schools in Wales that have Service children enrolled to participate in a survey. The topics included:

  • School information – e.g. number of Service children, language of school, location
  • Mobility data – number of Service children joining and leaving the school
  • Challenges – those that Service children face in education, and schools face in supporting them
  • Support – that schools offer to their Service children, including mental health and wellbeing assistance, and how schools are working collaboratively
  • Funding – that schools are accessing, and what it is being used for
  • Armed Forces community – and how schools are engaging with it
  • SSCE Cymru resources – to learn what schools would find beneficial in helping them to support their Service children
  • SSCE Cymru training – to identify what type of training schools would like, and for who

You can download the full survey findings here.

 

Listening to our Service children

In 2019/20, SSCE Cymru ran a number discussion groups in schools in Wales, to hear from Service children about their experiences of education in Wales.

These findings will feed into the Year of the Service Child Voice project by the Service Children’s Progression Alliance (SCiP Alliance).

You can download the full project analysis here.

 

Posted on: 31st March, 2020

 

The Naval Families Federation (NFF) is delighted to announce the launch of ‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’, a new offer of support for all Royal Navy and Royal Marines families. This project is supported by funding from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC), as well as funds awarded by the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

Strengthening Families – By Your Side has been developed by the RNRMC and the NFF, in partnership with the Royal Navy, Kings Active Foundation, Home-Start UK and Relate. Initial funding of project activities, provided by the RNRMC and the Armed Forces Covenant, is to be rolled out over the next three years. The offer aims to provide comprehensive support to Naval Service families whenever and wherever they need it.

 

This groundbreaking partnership will work collaboratively to address some of the key issues underlined in the RNRMC’s ‘Understanding of Need’ report, primarily looking at the gap between the support available for dispersed families nationwide compared to support available for those living in or near base ports.  The RNRMC’s ‘Understanding of Need’ report highlighted that dispersed Naval Service families, i.e. families distributed throughout the country, are less likely than those who live close to base ports to be aware of available help and support and far more likely to have difficulties accessing the support available.

 

The project also seeks to tackle problems reported by Naval Service personnel and their families to the Naval Families Federation and the Royal Navy Chaplaincy. These can include a sense of isolation, relationship and parenting issues or mental health difficulties.

 

Anna Wright, CEO of the Naval Families Federation said:

‘We are delighted to have been involved in this vital initiative, particularly in the case of our isolated families.

Royal Navy and Royal Marines families are more widely dispersed than those of our sister Services, which brings its own challenges in terms of mutual support, gleaning information and access to the range of services that are available to families near base ports and other Naval establishments.

This kind of partnership between ourselves, the RNRMC and other stakeholders points to a potentially more effective way of using scare resources to greater effect.’

 

Mandy Lindley, Director of Relationships and Funding at the RNRMC said:

‘By working together, we can deliver the improvement in quality of life that is needed by our service families. Strengthening Families – By Your Side is about early intervention and prevention, providing a range of services leading to improved family cohesion, conflict resolution, health and well-being, and increased levels of happiness.’

 

More information about Strengthening Families – By Your Side will be coming soon to our website.

 

Posted on: 6th March, 2020

 

EDIT

Sincere thanks to everyone who generously gave their time to respond to our childcare survey. The survey is now closed. We will keep you updated via our website and social media channels once the final report becomes available. We will take your thoughts and concerns to the government and the Chain of Command to inform change.

 

If you missed the survey deadline, please email us at contactus@nff.org.uk as we would still like to document your ‘lived experience’ about this and any other issues that concern you.

 

 

You may recall that the NFF conducted a Childcare survey back in 2016.  Thank you for your excellent responses which we collated and used to advocate strongly for change to remove disadvantage in this area. The whole report can be downloaded here. 

 

As a result of our advocacy, the MOD has now agreed to consider how Service families can be better supported with childcare.  We now have an opportunity to directly inform any potential changes and decisions and wish the specific needs of Royal Navy and Royal Marines families to be represented.

 

By completing this survey, you will be informing us and helping us to build a clearer picture of the childcare issues that affect you.

 

This survey should take about 10 minutes to complete: surveymonkey.co.uk/r/nff-childcare

 

Posted on: 13th February, 2020
Updated on: 20th April, 2020

 

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity announced the release of a new survey report written by the FANDF committee. This powerful report shares the voices of this sometimes-overlooked Additional Needs and Disability community within the Armed Forces. This is the first time that this demographic has shared these insights and their experiences in an official capacity with the Ministry of Defence.

 

Under the MOD’s Defence and Inclusion (D&I) strategy, efforts are being made to shine a light into every corner of the Forces community. In order to better support these families, their opinions and personal experiences have been collated and their own on-the-ground-recommendations are being shared.

 

Key report findings:

  • Lack of a ‘normal’ family routine caused by military lifestyle leaves those families with additional needs and disabilities struggling to climb waiting lists and access specialist services required
  • Children’s education can suffer as stretched local authorities subconsciously under-resource support for children who will ‘move on’ shortly. The report finds ongoing issues with obtaining an educational diagnosis and support for children, according to 29% of respondents surveyed
  • Access to continuity of health care is a big concern, with health and educational records taking time to be transferred and those families claiming access to support having to start again from scratch every time they move
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder is the most common additional need identified by 48% of respondents, and specialist support for military families dealing with this is necessary

 

Click here to read the report in full. 

 

Posted on: 27th January, 2020