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RN/RM Announcements

Pioneering research into the effects of ‘weekending’ – non-operational separations – on Naval Service families has been unveiled by the Naval Families Federation at Admiralty House in London.

 

At a gathering of influential military and civilian supporters of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, drawn from the Services, charities and industry, NFF Chief Executive Anna Wright said the new research indicated that the effects of weekending on spouses and children matched those of longer deployments, affecting relationships, spousal employment and general wellbeing.

 

With the Naval Service keen to recruit and retain the best talent to its ranks, this research will improve understanding of the families’ perceptions of the challenges and opportunities they face, which can affect serving personnel, particularly as their place of work is often far from the family home.

 

Anna said that “of the three Services, the Naval Service has the most separation in terms of military deployments. That is an issue in its own right.

 

“What is less well-known is that, of the three Services, the Naval Service also has the most non-operational separation.”

 

Drawing on their own family experiences, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones both acknowledged the importance of families in the operational effectiveness of the Naval Service, and the challenges caused by such separations.

 

Mr Williamson noted that ‘family’ is an important concept in the Service, and thanked the NFF for undertaking the project.

 

He also told the audience, representing Naval Service families and their support network, that “we always recognise that you being stronger, our Armed Forces are stronger.”

 

Speaking of the research, Admiral Jones said: “Many aspects of Service life, including time spent away from home as a result of working for the Royal Navy, are not easily compatible with family life and I am acutely aware that we ask a lot of our people and their families too.

 

“We are constantly looking to improve the wellbeing of our Naval Service families and there is much work in progress with Royal Navy Royal Marine Welfare, NFF and the Service charities.

 

“However, we can only change things for the better if we have a clear understanding of what really matters to all who serve and the families upon whose unswerving support we all rely.

 

“So I really welcome this report by the NFF which provides really valuable insights on which we can act, and in so doing ensure that life in the Naval Service is as good as it can be for our people and their families.”

Speaker behind a lectern.
Speaker behind a lectern.

The third guest speaker was NFF Homeport magazine columnist, blogger and Naval wife ‘Olive Oyl’, who gave her own take on separation from husband ‘Popeye’ in a sparkling speech that prompted laughter and knowing looks from many in the audience.

 

Summing up the findings, Anna said the challenges faced by families included difficulties in balancing careers with childcare while the partner is away, the placing of more responsibility on older children and a feeling of being under pressure to cram weekends with ‘quality time’ as a family.

 

Many spouses, said Anna, spoke of the sense of ‘just coping’ with the additional responsibilities, resulting in stress, anxiety and tiredness – though she reminded those gathered that Naval families are a resilient group, and there was no question of whingeing.

 

“So there we have it – we have an in-tray to tackle,” she concluded.

 

“The NFF are up for it, and we hope that you are too – our ‘just-coping’ families deserve no less.”

 

The findings of the research – commissioned by the NFF and carried out by the King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR), funded by Greenwich Hospital – will be used by the MOD, senior military personnel and military charities to help improve support for Naval Service families.

 

Read the executive summary here. The full report can be downloaded here.

 

One immediate result of the project is the production by the NFF of a resource for parents and carers.

 

Titled ‘A Guide for Parents and Adults Supporting Children and Young People’, the publication – described by Anna as ‘light-hearted and empowering’ – was created by Bridget Nicholson of the NFF to offer strategies and encouragement for families affected by all forms of separation and those who support them; one finding of the research was that there is a general lack of appreciation that shorter separations still have a significant impact, and the booklet is in part designed to help address that.

 

The publication is available in hard-copy format from the NFF, or can be downloaded here. *Regrettably, we are only able to send hard copies to our beneficiaries due to resource constraints.*

Gallery
Crowd talking.
Speaker behind a lectern.
The Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Alexander Williamson and First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones addressing guests at the Naval Families Federation.
Crowd talking.
Team photo.
Crowd talking.

Images UK MOD Crown Copyright 2019

Posted on: 7th February, 2019
Updated on: 21st June, 2019

 

The Secretary of State for Defence has asked Andrew Selous MP to produce an independent report to Government to see what more support can be offered to Service families.

 

The report will analyse the different experiences of Service family members, focussing on:

  • Spouses and civil partners
  • Long term partners
  • Children and dependents

 

The report team would like to hear from serving personnel and their families and from those who have recently left the armed services, as well as from providers of services to Armed Forces families in the statutory, voluntary and charity sectors.

 

The report team would like to receive evidence in respect of the following areas, but would also welcome evidence in any other areas of concern:

  1. Accommodation and home ownership
  2. Deployment lengths and frequencies
  3. Children’s education
  4. Health services
  5. Employment of non-serving members of the Armed Forces community
  6. Pressures on service couple and family relationships
  7. Transition to civilian life for the whole family
  8. Numbers of house moves

 

The report team is keen to hear what is working well in addition to what needs to be improved.

 

Submissions/comments should be sent to andrew.selous.mp@parliament.uk by the 15th of March. ‘Independent Report on Service Families’ should be included in the Subject line of the email.

 

The review will seek the first-hand experiences of military families. All families and their data will remain anonymous and no-one will be personally identified in any report. The review team will not retain any data after the report has been published. All discussions will be completely confidential and the information received will never be shared with anyone else.

 

** Edit: The consultation period has ended on 15th March. **

 

We were delighted to host Andrew Selous MP and Prof Jan Walker, lead of his research team, at our offices in HMS Excellent on 4th April 2019. We were joined by over a dozen of serving personnel and Service spouses/partners. Read the news story here.

 

If you have missed the opportunity to submit evidence, please do contact us, as we would like to hear from you. The NFF exists to give all serving Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their families the opportunity to have their views heard by those in positions of power, and we can challenge policy on your behalf.

 

 

Posted on: 4th February, 2019
Updated on: 5th April, 2019

 

**** Update: It has now been extended for a further three years – until the end of 2022. Please visit this page for more information. ****

 

A government scheme to help military families buy their own homes has been extended until the end of 2019.

 

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced yesterday (3rd December 2018) that the Forces Help to Buy initiative will remain open to new applications until 31st December 2019.

 

The scheme, established in April 2014, aims to address the low rate of home ownership in the Armed Forces by making it easier to take the first step onto the housing ladder, move to another property on assignment or make alterations to an existing home as family needs change.

 

Serving personnel who meet the criteria can borrow up to half of their annual salary, interest free – up to a maximum of £25,000 – to pay towards a deposit and other costs such as solicitor’s or estate agent’s fees.

 

More than 16,000 applicants have benefited from the scheme so far.

 

Following the announcement of this extension, Mr Williamson said:

“Everyone dreams of owning their own home, and this hugely popular scheme has already helped thousands of Service personnel realise that dream.

“By extending the scheme by a further year I really hope we can help many more first-time buyers, families and married couples get a foot on the property ladder.’’

 

Anna Wright, CEO of the Naval Families Federation, said:

“We were absolutely delighted to hear about the extension to this popular scheme.

“Our research shows that there is a strong aspiration to be a home owner amongst Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their families. Having this option offers families more choice about where they live. They may choose to be close to a spouse’s employment or to particular schools.”

 

If you would like to know more about this scheme and your eligibility, please visit this link here. To read more about the Future Accommodation Model (FAM), which is the MOD’s housing pilot for serving personnel, visit here.

 

The Naval Families Federation welcomes your views on FHtB and FAM. Please do contact us.

 

Posted on: 4th December 2018
Updated on: 22nd October, 2019

The 2018 Covenant Annual Report was published today (21st November, 2018). The NFF was delighted to have the opportunity again this year to set out our Formal Observations on the report.

 

Anna Wright, CEO Naval Families Federation, said:

“The 2018 Covenant Annual Report has been published today and once again, the Naval Families Federation has provided our Formal Observations on the content, in conjunction with our colleagues in the Army and RAF Families Federations; these can be found from page 17. We can only do this because of the issues and concerns that you raise with us – by taking the time to share your experiences, you have given us the evidence we need to inform and influence current, and future, policies which will directly impact upon our Naval Service families, so a heartfelt thank you. We were delighted to see that the MOD also included a piece about our work with the Pompey’s Military Kids Cluster Group – this scheme is going from strength to strength and we would love to see it expanding even further next year.

 

“In his Introduction to the Report, Rt. Hon. Tobias Ellwood MP, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, stated that: ‘To provide effective support, we need to recognise the contribution that spouses, partners and children of Service Personnel make, and reflect this in policy making, so that a stable family life supports our Service Personnel to thrive.’

 

“We couldn’t agree more and look forward to working with him and his team in 2019 to achieve this.”

 

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: 21st November, 2018

On 30th September 2018, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced a new package to help Armed Forces personnel and their family members throughout their careers and their transitions into civilian life.

 

He said:

‘’The bravery and dedication of our people is second to none. Whether they are in service, have served, or support the service of a loved one, we owe them a great debt of gratitude for their work in keeping this country safe. It is only right that we give our Armed Forces every opportunity to develop their skills to reach their potential, while ensuring that their spouses and civil partners are just as valued for the part they play.

The vast majority of those who have served in our Armed Forces go on to lead successful and rewarding lives, but it’s important we recognise that the transition is not always smooth. We are dedicated to upholding the support they receive while in uniform as they take this next step, and I’m delighted to be adding an extra helping hand to those most in need.‘’

 

The new package will include the following schemes:

  • Launching a new transition programme and ID cards for Service leavers. A new Defence Transition Service will deliver specialist support for Service personnel to adjust to civilian life, including help with housing and employment. New ID cards will be available to Service leavers shortly, and those who have already made the transition will be able to apply for an ID card in 2019. These cards will allow easy access to the range of support available from the public and charitable sectors, including registering with your local authority for priority healthcare and housing;

 

  • A new fund will be dedicated to support the careers of Service spouses and partners, following the success of the MOD’s Spouse Employment Support trial. This will facilitate access to vocational training and development opportunities to entering new sectors or self-employment;

 

  • By the end of 2020, all serving personnel will have access to their own Professional and Personal Development Plan, a scheme that will enable them to hone the skills they need to succeed throughout their service, and to equip them for the next stage of their careers. It can also help create a support network for those living with significant illness, caring for others.

 

We will share further details as they become available. The Naval Families Federation welcomes your feedback on these and other issues. Please do contact us via our website with any comments you make have.

 

Posted on: 1st October, 2018

A new compensation scheme has been announced for military personnel affected by increases in Scottish tax – an issue that was flagged up by the Naval Families Federation.

 

When Scotland’s new income tax regime came into force earlier this year, anyone who lived in Scotland and earned more than about £26,000 started paying more income tax than they would do if they lived elsewhere in the UK.

 

It is thought that around 8,000 serving personnel fall into that category.

 

When the Scottish government first announced its ‘progressive’ system, the Naval Families Federation acted on behalf of Naval Service families and conveyed their concerns to Defence ministers.

 

We firmly believe that serving personnel north of the border should not be worse off than colleagues who are posted elsewhere, and that all should be treated equally.

 

The NFF is delighted that the MOD has listened and responded with the new scheme of ‘mitigation payments’ announced by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson today, which will see affected personnel receive a compensation payment ensuring all serving people effectively pay the same rate of tax, wherever they work, in the current tax year.

 

Only Regular personnel whose main place of residence is in Scotland and who are worse off by a minimum of £12 a year will be eligible, while a cap of £1,500 has also been set.

 

The payment will be retrospective, ie paid after the end of the 2018-19 tax year, and the scheme will be reviewed on an annual basis by the MOD. More details of this year’s scheme will follow later in the year.

 

This is a great example of how the NFF acts as a bridge between our community and the Government to promote equality for you and your family. We will continue to monitor changes in policies to act on your behalf.

 

For those in the Armed Forces, details are available in a Defence Internal Brief, serial number 2018DIB/08.

 

You can access BBC’s news article on the compensation scheme here.

 

Posted on: 19th July, 2018
Updated on: 6th August, 2018

The Scottish Government has published a welcome guide, specifically written for Naval Service families.

 

This booklet provides information you may need to help settle in. It covers aspects such as housing, education, healthcare, employment, benefits and social care, other useful information, and a list of supporting organisations.

 

If you are considering, or are due to move to Scotland for an upcoming assignment order, you can read this guide online here. The Scottish Government is planning to distribute this booklet in hard copy in the near future, though no dates have been confirmed. We will keep you updated.

 

Posted on: 5th July, 2018

Service personnel will be able to apply for enhanced flexible working opportunities after the Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill became law on 08 February 2018.

 

Surveys have found that Service personnel want more choice over the way they work when their personal circumstances change, such as having, or looking after children, needing to care for elderly relatives, or taking on further training or education.

 

We know that Naval Service personnel have consistently reported the impact of service on family and personal life as the most important factor that might influence them to leave. Importantly, this new policy will allow personnel to be able to restrict the amount of time they spend away from their home base and their families.

 

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“This change will make it significantly easier for our dedicated Armed Forces to raise their children, care for elderly relatives, or look after an ill family member. This will ensure we are able to retain and recruit the brightest and the best from all backgrounds to keep Britain safe.”

 

The flexible working measures are designed so that they won’t impact the military’s ability to deliver its core tasks of defending the country. Applications for part-time service and restricted separation will be assessed against the need of the Armed Forces and personnel would be required to deploy on operations should the need arise, such as in cases of national emergency.

 

The plans will come into effect on 1st April 2019 for Naval Service personnel.

 

Here is a guide which explains in more detail what Flexible Working for the Armed Forces will look like, the different options available and how you can apply.

 

Here is a video produced by the MOD introducing this measure.

 

EDIT: Please click here for a digital booklet ‘Flexible Working and You’  produced by the MOD for further information.

 

Posted on: 15th February, 2018
Updated on: 28th January, 2021

The Armed Forces Covenant aims to honour the sacrifices the Armed Forces Community make to keep us safe, including those of families.

 

The Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report details some of the successes the Covenant has had over the past year, including in the key areas of healthcare, education and accommodation.

 

Every year the Families Federations are invited to make their observations on the Armed Forces Covenant and below is an extract of part of the report written by the Naval Families Federation in conjunction with the Royal Air Force Families Federation and the Army Families Federation. Based on the feedback we receive from Service personnel and their families, our observations have highlighted areas which we believe are working well and other aspects that we believe need to be improved upon:

 

Whilst the high tempo of UK operations endures the impact of Service life on Armed Forces families remains challenging. The issues of mobility and long periods of separation from loved ones demand a level of commitment and resourcefulness from families, which sets them apart from the general population. Constant change and the prospect of new policies that will redefine the Armed Forces’ lifestyle mean that unease and uncertainty prevail. Whilst families are proud of their serving loved one, and willingly make compromises and sacrifices, it is vital that the Armed Forces Covenant plays its part to ensure that they are treated fairly.

 

The Families Federations recognise the Armed Forces Covenant as an important and valuable mechanism to effect necessary change and very much appreciate the way in which Government departments and other stakeholders continue to work with us to achieve it.

 

Much has been accomplished in the past 12 months but there remains considerable work to do. We appreciate the opportunity to comment on those aspects of the Report relevant to serving personnel and their families.

 

Healthcare

That Armed Forces and Veterans issues are now part of the national curriculum for GPs, and will be tested in their Royal College of General Practitioners membership exam, is an extremely positive development. We look forward to there being greater understanding of the unique challenges that Service personnel and their families face.

 

Following our observations about compensation for clinical negligence cases for those families living overseas, we were pleased to note that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has now issued a Defence Internal Notice on Health Service Provision for Entitled MOD Personnel in British Forces Germany.

 

Whilst we recognise that families are now able to transfer their place to new waiting lists when they move location due to an assignment, we are still hearing concerns from those who then face even longer waiting times for certain treatments. This is a particular issue for those trying to access a NHS dentist in a number of remote locations around the UK, which have a large military footprint, including North Wales, Norfolk, Devon and Cornwall. Whilst we are working with our unit Covenant Champions, local authorities and NHS England and health partners to try and find resolution locally, more could and should be done. We recognise that work is being undertaken to ensure that those families who are assigned to Northern Ireland are not disadvantaged with regard to the time they have already spent on a waiting list for treatment.

 

However, concern remains about cases involving family members who find that they do not meet the eligibility criteria in their new location, or that certain medical treatment is not provided in Northern Ireland. Additional waiting times and concern about whether they will be able to have these procedures is causing undue anxiety. We would like to recognise formally the activity, support and engagement offered by the Armed Forces Commissioning Managers within NHS England, which has been outstanding; they continue to assist many families in need of advice and help. We also welcome the Defence People Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and we are pleased to note that Mental Health is at the forefront of the Health Agenda. We look forward to seeing the new services implemented over the coming months.

Education

As key stakeholders in the Service Children’s Progression Alliance (SCiP), we are delighted to be working alongside our partners in helping to improve educational outcomes for Service children. The development of the SCiP website is providing a hub of information and resources for professionals involved in Service children’s education. The organisation Service Children in State Schools (SCISS) continues to provide proactive guidance to schools on how best to support Service children, especially through the challenges of mobility and separation.

 

We welcome the introduction of a Service child flag on the Common Transfer File from September 2017, which means that Service children will now be identified when moving schools. We would welcome the addition of key information detailing each child’s support needs. We also look forward to learning about the impact of the Service Children’s Local Authority Working Group which will work collectively to improve education for Service children in the 13 key areas around the country.

 

The overseas education suitability reviews, recently conducted by the MOD, are a welcome asset for families who are considering an overseas assignment. This will enable them to make an informed decision, based on the facts, about the provision of educational facilities outside of the UK.

 

The Families Federations are reassured to learn that the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) will not be affected by the wider reform of school funding. The SPP provides schools and academies in England with a much needed additional resource, allowing them to support Service children in a number of ways, and we believe that it should be protected. It has stood at £300 per pupil, per year, for some time now and an increase would be well received. We would also welcome the extension of SPP to include early years (under 5s), to support transitional childcare arrangements, and for all children in compulsory education, including those aged 16-18 years.

 

There is still more work to be done, however, on educating schools on how best to spend their SPP, especially those that have lower numbers of Service children. While they receive less funding, they still need to use it as effectively as possible to support their Service pupils, and not combine it with their main Pupil Premium funding.

 

The issues surrounding Service children being moved to a new school during the academic year are well documented. We recognise the work that the Directorate of Children and Young People, via the Children’s Education Advisory Service, are doing to try to resolve some of the difficulties that occur, particularly as a result of these mid-term moves. We would, however, welcome information about what work, if any, is being undertaken by the single Services to help overcome some of these issues, through careful timing of assignment order dates. We recognise that the needs of the Service will always prevail, but believe that more well-timed moves in some cases would go a long way to support parents and to aid retention.

 

In our Observations on the Annual Covenant Report 2016, we requested further support for school admissions by way of changes to the Schools Admission Code. Whilst we have continued to pursue this with the Department for Education, as it stands the Code will not be changed. We believe that this decision needs to be revisited.

 

We understand that the MOD Education Support Fund (ESF) is scheduled to close. We would like to highlight our support of the ESF as a vital resource for schools, especially for those wishing to provide targeted support for Service children which cannot be funded through Service Pupil Premium. The key reasons for its introduction, i.e. deployment and mobility, remain extant, and we would like to see the fund retained.

 

We continue to receive evidence from families who are affected by the huge variations in the provision of Special Educational Needs support around the country, particularly those who are assigned to work and live in more remote locations. We would like this issue to be reviewed in the coming year to determine what extra support can, and should, be provided to those families who have to move location due to their Service commitments.

Accommodation

The issues surrounding accommodation continue to generate the highest number of concerns reported to the Families Federations. Nevertheless, we are pleased to see progress with the performance of CarillionAmey, although there is still room for improvement in some areas, such as follow-on works and communications. Their decision to 14 introduce Customer Engagement meetings is to be commended, as families have long voiced their frustrations about not having face to face contact with the team responsible for Service Family Accommodation. We also welcome the recent engagement by the MOD and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation with regards to the new housing contract, and we look forward to representing the views of families as this important consultation is taken forward.

 

The Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey 2017 report highlights that the number of Service personnel who feel that they get value for money for their Service accommodation is at its lowest for 8 years. We believe that there is a direct correlation between this decline, the previously poor performance of CarillionAmey (which only recently has started to perform to the contract targets), and the introduction of the Combined Accommodation Assessment System (CAAS) (which is deeply unpopular with many who feel that often significant rises in charges are not adequately explained or justified). This sense of frustration is compounded by poor communication and a complex challenge/ appeal process. We note the CAAS Working Group’s intent to simplify the system, but remain concerned by the negative effect of CAAS.

 

We note the MOD’s intent to establish a Single Living Accommodation Management Information System, but are concerned that this has now been in the pipeline for years, and that there is still no sign of a working solution. We continue to hear about the poor state of infrastructure in units, including Single Living Accommodation (SLA), and the concomitant adverse effect on morale and feeling valued. The MOD now needs to address this urgently as the condition of SLA is an area of real concern for those personnel still living in poor quality and badly maintained accommodation.

 

There remains much confusion, and some anxiety, about the long-term plans for Service accommodation under the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) programme. The Families Federations will continue to work with the FAM team to represent the views of families across all three Services and to ensure that those who are working on the new policy are aware of their concerns. We will also provide information and feedback on the proposals, as we believe it is essential for families to be involved in this process, especially in those locations selected to be part of the pilot in 2018. We would like reassurances that our feedback is given sufficient consideration by the FAM team, and that decisions are not solely based upon financial constraints. In addition, we would like the FAM team to recognise the unique nature of the three Services and the potentially differing requirements of those families.

 

We are delighted that, following much work by the Army Families Federation and the Royal British Legion, there is movement on the issue of divorced/ separated spouses having a local connection when applying for social housing. Once The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (formerly the Department for Communities and Local Government) and the Local Government Association have completed their consultation, we look forward to seeing new statutory guidance being issued to ensure that military family members are not disadvantaged because they too have been mobile, in support of the Armed Forces.

Covenant in Business

The growing engagement of businesses is celebrated but we think there is still much more that could be done, especially by regional Small and Mediumsized Enterprises (SME) and not just the national or multinational corporate giants. Much attention is given, quite rightly, to supporting Reservists and Veterans in the workplace but spouse or partner employment is an issue that affects a great many Service families too. We will therefore be interested to note the findings of the review being commissioned by the Forces in Mind Trust to look at the pledges made by businesses to support Service family members.

Family Life

The introduction of a new MOD Domestic Abuse Strategy is to be commended. We hope that this will reassure family members that the MOD and the single Services take this issue very seriously, and that there is a clear focus on prevention through education and awareness. As a result of a successful bid for Covenant Funding, the Army Families Federation Foreign and Commonwealth Specialist, on behalf of all three Federations, has already been able to assist 20 spouses who have been victims of domestic abuse and has had a 100% success rate with their immigration applications. It is hoped that their work will complement the policies and procedures put in place by the new strategy.

 

Whilst we welcome the news that the MOD has held initial meetings with the Home Office to discuss the challenges faced by some Foreign and Commonwealth families when applying for visas, we would like to see this issue given a higher priority. These cases frequently take months to resolve and can involve substantial amounts of money, which is having a significant impact on the families involved.

 

Service families moving to and from the devolved administration areas have raised concerns regarding the nuances of living in different countries. Whilst it is acknowledged that there are some clear benefits to living and working in Scotland or Wales, there has been a particular focus on the issue of the Scottish Rate of Income Tax and the challenges faced by some family members when applying for funding for further or higher education courses.

Childcare

We were delighted that Directorate of Children and Young People was tasked to produce a draft childcare policy but are disappointed that it has been buried in the MOD for nearly a year with no news about its adoption. We recognise the potential costs, and that this is an issue that can affect all families, whether Service or civilian. Nevertheless, there are some issues that are unique to Service families, and are compounded for dual-Serving and lone parents. Childcare remains a significant challenge for our people, not just in terms of cost but in terms of availability, governance, quality, opening hours and variability of delivery. We would welcome a decision in the near future.

Transition from Service to Civilian Life

The research currently being undertaken by our Transition Liaison staff will help to identify the actual needs and concerns of families as they go through the process of leaving the Armed Forces. We expect that this evidence will prove invaluable to informing Tri-Service policy on transition.

 

The Families Federations would welcome a commitment that policy makers will continue to work with us to review the current approach to transition policy, and the current Resettlement provision, to identify where it can be explicitly extended to families or where new provision needs to be designed. This could include provision for supporting families to understand better what life after the Service could look like, and to help them to identify skills, characteristics and experiences that are of value to themselves and future employers, as well as to help families to become active citizens.

Communicating the Covenant

We recognise the Armed Forces Covenant Cross Government Communications Working Group as an effective and positive development, but suggest that more is needed in the way of tailored messaging that will resonate with every rank, trade, age group and family situation. We also believe that there is more that can be done to support Unit Covenant Champions. We still hear about organisations that have signed up to the Covenant and yet failed to tell their employees, leading to confusion, stress and unnecessary bureaucracy when approached by Service families. Finally, despite the excellent work of Forces in Mind Trust and the MOD to identify and share good practice, we would like to see more work done to ensure that the Covenant is effectively communicated to local authorities, ensuring a focus on the removal of patchy delivery of the Covenant across different authorities.

Conclusion

On behalf of the serving Armed Forces community we would like to offer our sincere thanks to everyone who has played a part in delivering the Armed Forces Covenant during the past 12 months and are particularly grateful to those who have worked to address areas of disadvantage for our families. Whilst we celebrate the encouraging progress that has been made, we look forward to seeing the recently renewed commitment made by the Government to support Armed Forces families yielding positive outcomes.

 

Further information

To read the full Armed Forces Covenant Report, click here.

To read a summary of the Armed Forces Covenant Report, click here.

Contact us

Without your feedback we cannot gather the evidence that we need to bring about change, where required, and make life better for Naval Service families.

Call us: 023 9265 4374

Email: contactus@nff.org.uk

You can also contact us on social media:

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Posted on: 14th February, 2018

The Royal Navy has announced that in order to meet the demands of future Defence tasks, they are planning to conduct a number of Type 23 (T23) frigate baseport changes to co-locate all Towed Array Anti-Submarine T23 frigates in Her Majesty’s Naval Base Devonport, and all General Purpose T23 frigates in Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth.

 

Why?

The introduction of the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) Carriers into service and the Royal Navy’s future focus on Carrier Strike Task Group (CSTG) operations has presented the opportunity to optimise the baseport locations of the T23 Frigates.

A CSTG will comprise of at least one Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) Carrier, two Type 45 (T45) Destroyers and two T23 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) frigates. With the baseports of the eight T23 ASW frigates currently split between Portsmouth and Devonport, there is the potential for Portsmouth to have to simultaneously generate five major platforms; the Royal Navy has stated that this would be extremely challenging for a single dockyard to manage. Re-baseporting all T23 ASW frigates in Devonport aims to provide greater operational flexibility and de-risk T23 availability for CSTG.

 

What is the timescale?

The Naval Families Federation has been told that the baseport changes will occur during, what the Royal Navy calls, unmanned ‘Upkeep’ periods, so that they can aim to provide a smooth personnel transition programme to minimise disruption for ships’ crews and their families.

The change programme will start with HMS Richmond in August 2018, with all subsequent ships baseport changing on the first day of their next ‘Upkeep’ period. We have been assured that all baseport changes, which will complete by 2023, are in excess of the minimum manning notice.

Portsmouth Naval Base aims to benefit from additional investment to support QEC and T45 Destroyers; Devonport will become the focus for the generation of surface ship Anti-Submarine Warfare capability.

The Royal Navy routinely reviews its requirements for future waterfront infrastructure, including berths, docks and related facilities, to inform decisions regarding infrastructure investment, base porting and maintenance. A decision has yet to be made for the base porting of the Type 26 and Type 31e Frigates, however we will update you as soon as we receive further information.

 

The T23s to be baseport changed are as follows: 

Ship Current Baseport Future Baseport
RICHMOND Portsmouth Devonport
ST ALBANS Portsmouth Devonport
MONMOUTH Devonport Portsmouth
ARGYLL Devonport Portsmouth
WESTMINSTER Portsmouth Devonport
MONTROSE Devonport Portsmouth
KENT Portsmouth Devonport

 

If you would like to contact us with your feedback or you have any questions regarding this announcement, please phone us on 023 9265 4374 or email contactus@nff.org.uk .

 

Posted on:  30th November, 2017