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NFF News: 26th October 2021

 

Sarah Clewes is to take up the role of interim Chief Executive of the Naval Families Federation (NFF) from 4 January 2022. 

Having gained wide experience in the charity sector, following a long and successful career in the Royal Navy as both a rating and an officer, Sarah is well-positioned to continue the comprehensive development of the NFF that has been achieved under outgoing Chief Executive Anna Wright. 

As Chief Executive, Sarah will be responsible for ensuring that the NFF continues to improve its support for Royal Navy and Royal Marines families, both by championing their cause with policymakers and senior officers, and by stepping in to help individual families when existing processes and guidance fall short. 

Sarah, who is married to a Naval veteran – for a period they were a dual-serving couple – said: “I am thrilled to be joining such a dynamic organisation as the NFF. 

“The Federation is well-known for its role championing Naval families on the basis of their lived experience, and I look forward to working across a wide range of projects and initiatives to address both ongoing and emerging issues.” 

Sarah spent 21 years in the Logistics Branch of the Royal Navy, serving in HM ships Coventry, Invincible and Argyll, and her last job was at the RN Leadership Academy at HMS Collingwood, where she taught leadership, management and coaching while also successfully undertaking a business degree. 

After taking voluntary redundancy from the Royal Navy, Sarah embarked on a new career in the charity sector in a variety of roles, running events, projects and fundraising initiatives, and also running a successful virtual assistant business. 

One of the projects for which Sarah was responsible, the Royal Naval Association’s Project Semaphore initiative to alleviate loneliness and digital isolation amongst Naval veterans through the provision of iPads, won a national award. 

Sarah has also contributed to Naval charities in a voluntary capacity, as Chairman of the Royal Navy Royal Marines Widows’ Association (RNRMWA) and as Trustee for the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust. 

Anna Wright, who leaves to take up the role of Chief Executive of the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund (AFCFT), said she is leaving the NFF in very safe hands. 

“I am delighted that Sarah is taking up the reins at the Federation, because she has exactly the set of skills and experiences that will be of huge benefit to our families and her new colleagues,” said Anna. 

“Although I am honoured to be joining the AFCFT, and excited to build on the very strong foundations laid by my predecessor Melloney Poole, I will be sad to leave the excellent team at the NFF. 

“But I leave Whale Island confident that Sarah will pick up where I left off, and she will have the pleasure of working with some extraordinary people.” 

Chairman of the NFF Board of Trustees, Paul Quinn, said: “I have had the pleasure of working with Sarah in the past, and am delighted to welcome her to the NFF team as our Chief Executive. 

“Her experience within the Naval family and charity world ideally equips Sarah for her new and exciting role as chief advocate for Royal Navy and Royal Marines families.” 

6th October, 2021

 

A groundbreaking NFF project to gain an insight into how Naval families were feeling during the Covid-19 pandemic has reached a milestone in its progress. 

 

Time, On My Watch was born of the desire to reach out to families during a time of isolation when our normal face-to-face channels of communication – families days, coffee mornings and the like – were closed off to us. 

 

Instead, prompted by an initiative by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, we explored ways in which we could use creative processes to see how our families were coping with the additional stresses and strains which were inevitable in the uncertain times of the summer of 2020. 

 

Our initial engagements with families suggested that the approach would bear fruit, so we developed our bid, which was approved by the Trust. 

 

The next step was to enlist the considerable expertise of professional artist Tim Mann, who offered a very different perspective on what was, for the NFF, a very different initiative. 

 

Naval families were invited to submit their thoughts on the concept of time, and how it affected them, representing those thoughts in the form of drawings, poems, handicrafts or photography. 

 

The Story Behind ‘Time, On My Watch’

This collection, we believe, presents a powerful message, delivered in creative work that ranges across the emotional scale, from heartfelt words to dark doodles. 

 

They hint at how people seize special moments, or steel themselves for a patient wait, or watch as the sands of time slip away, highlighting some coping strategies adopted by the Naval community and the effects that separation has on both the deployed and their families back home. 

 

One strong theme that emerges from the works is that of the importance of the community in supporting one another – which came as no surprise to the NFF team. 

 

The honesty and openness displayed makes the collection all the more valuable as a means of communication – and justifies our original intention to somehow capture the spirit of the project for posterity. 

 

One longer-term ambition is to make the collection accessible to all, possibly in the format of an online exhibition, and a more traditional touring exhibition is also an option that could be considered. 

 

But the latest development is a book which presents the works anonymously as a miscellany, and which will be presented to key policy and decision-makers in the military and government to help inform their thinking, and to contributors to the project. 

 

Displayed on this page are some of the works submitted; our thanks go to all of you who took part and made the project so worthwhile.

Book reading video

NHS England is seeking to improve the health and wellbeing support provided to military families, and your views are helping to shape that plan. The NHS in England provides healthcare services for families of serving personnel – regulars and reservists – who have registered with an NHS GP practice. But not everyone in the NHS understands the specific health needs of Armed Forces families, and what they are entitled to under the Armed Forces Covenant. That can mean, in some cases, that such families have problems getting the right care and support, which can lead to further challenges and difficulties.

 

Armed Forces community support networks have been set up in some parts of the country, focussing on improving their experience of health services, and feedback from families with experience of such networks has been positive. But in many areas such links are more informal and not as well-developed, so one strand of the engagement exercise was to explore whether setting up more networks might help.

 

The engagement took place for two months from the end of September 2020, supported by a questionnaire and a series of online focus groups and one-to-one interviews. More than 160 organisations were contacted directly to encourage responses, and with the supporting media also playing its part, a total of 1,391 responses were received by the NHS. Armed Forces families contributed 424 responses, and more than 80 per cent of the respondents were aged between 26 and 65. Just under 20 per cent of the respondents were from, or had links to, the Royal Navy or Royal Marines.

 

Now the results have been analysed, the NHS is embarking on a programme of actions under the heading ‘you said, we will do…’

 

One general theme that emerged was that Armed Forces families believed they would benefit from more information and dedicated support to help them find and access NHS services, and that a person acting as a single point of contact outside the chain of command, rather than an array of documents and leaflets, would be more helpful. And one line of thought is that community support networks could fulfil the function of a single point of contact, as well as helping NHS organisations understand the military culture and lifestyle, as well as the implications of the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

Furthermore, reducing waiting times as a result of moving bases and more joined-up communication between NHS organisations and between the NHS and Defence Medical Services (DMS) would ensure that Armed Forces families do not repeatedly have to start the referral process every time they move.

 

Respondents also indicated that better understanding from NHS staff, particularly from GPs, would make accessing services easier.

 

These findings have been shared with decision makers to help shape what support could be put in place for Armed Forces families in the future – and although this engagement has been completed, the NHS will continue to seek the views and experiences of Armed Forces families to ensure that any future support put in place meets their needs. The findings will be considered by the NHS England and NHS Improvement Armed Forces Oversight Group (AFOG), who will look at what actions are needed to progress improvements in this area.

 

Agreed actions will be progressed in collaboration with the NHS England and NHS Improvement Armed Forces Patient and Public Voice Group, Armed Forces families/Armed Forces community, the Naval Families Federation and our two sister groups in the Army and RAF, the wider NHS, Department of Health and Social Care and Ministry of Defence.

NHS report: 'You said, we will do'
Click here to access the 'You said we will do' report.
Front cover of the NHS report
Click here to access the research findings.
Posted on: 13th September, 2021

The NFF’s advocacy for Naval families has hit the gold standard with the award of the highest accolade in the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS).

 

A year after achieving silver status, the Federation has gone one step further for our support to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines community, in this case specifically for our commitment in the field of employment.

 

The ERS was launched in 2014 by the then Prime Minister David Cameron to recognise employer support for the wider principles of the Armed Forces Covenant and the full spectrum of Defence personnel, including Reservists, spouses, and service leavers.

 

Gold status is reserved for those organisations that go beyond the Covenant pledge and show the highest levels of commitment to the military community, both in their own recruitment practices and in their advocacy for employing members of that community.

 

NFF Chief Executive Anna Wright said: “We are delighted and honoured to have been granted ERS Gold Award status”

 

“We have long championed the case for employing Naval family members, particularly Naval spouses, and our own recruitment policy recognises the challenges such families face as well as the impressive skill set they have developed as a result of those challenges.”

 

“More than 90 per cent of our team has either served or is a close relative of a serving person or veteran, so we walk the walk as well as talking the talk!”

 

“I am also enormously proud of the role the Naval Families Federation played in setting up the successful Forces Families Jobs platform, taking our advocacy a step further to provide real jobs and training for our enormously talented Naval families.”

 

Announcing the latest tranche of successful bids for the prestigious award, Defence Minister Leo Docherty said today that 140 organisations have received the Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award for their outstanding support towards the Armed Forces community.

 

“I would like to thank all the organisations who have proven their support for the Defence community during such unprecedented and challenging times,” said Mr Docherty, the Minister for Defence People and Veterans.

 

“The vast range of those recognised this year demonstrates how employing the Armed Forces community makes a truly positive and beneficial impact for all employers, regardless of size, sector or location.”

 

Winners alongside the Naval Families Federation included international business process outsourcing and professional services company Capita, construction and engineering giant Costain, the Isle of Man Government, Lloyds Banking Group, Manchester City Council, Merseyside Police, Norfolk County Council, Recruit for Spouses, Saab UK, Scottish Power and the Victory Services Club in London.

 

This year’s announcement brings the total number of Gold holders to 493.

 

The full list of Employer Recognition Scheme Gold, Silver, and Bronze award winners is available here

More information on the Armed Forces Covenant, the promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly, can be found here

Posted on: 16th July 2021

Updated on: 30th November 2021

The Naval Families Federation has joined 11 other military charities in calling for the strengthening of the Armed Forces Bill which is currently going through Parliament.

 

The 12 organisations have signed an open letter urging the government and MPs to widen the scope of the Bill, delivering on the full promise of the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

A new Bill is introduced every five years to renew the Armed Forces Act, allowing additions and amendments to be made before each Bill become law.

 

One of the key elements of the latest Bill is the proposal to make it a legal duty for public bodies to consider the Armed Forces Covenant when creating policy or making decisions.

 

The Covenant, which was enshrined in law in 2011, is the promise by the nation that Service personnel, veterans, and their families will not be at a disadvantage as a result of military service.

 

While senior figures in the military charity sector broadly welcomed provisions in the new Bill they believe that it does not go far enough in covering the full range of day-to-day issues that affect the Armed Forces community and which are regularly raised by families contacting the NFF.

 

In particular, the new legal obligations introduced by the Bill would only apply to local councils and some limited public bodies delivering housing, health and education – the national government and devolved administrations would be exempt from this duty, which the charities identify as a “major gap” in the Bill.

 

The letter states that this is “compounded by the omission of important topics including employment, pensions, compensation, social care, criminal justice, and immigration from the Bill’s scope.”

 

The open letter to MPs has been signed by NFF Chief Executive Anna Wright, along with leading figures in the Royal British Legion, Poppyscotland, Cobseo (the Confederation of Service Charities), Veterans Scotland, SSAFA the Armed Forces charity, Help for Heroes, Combat Stress, the Forces in Mind Trust, the Army Families Federation, the RAF Families Federation and the RAF Association.

 

Read the full text of the letter here.

 

Published on: 14th July, 2021

Introduction

On 14th June 2021 it was announced that five new contracts worth £650-million will deliver crucial building and maintenance services for more than 39,000 Service families.

 

Forming the next phase of the Future Defence Infrastructure (FDIS) programme, the four new regional accommodation contracts will cover the maintenance of properties across the UK, including plumbing, electrical works, repair services and the maintenance support helpline.

 

The contracts will create and sustain thousands of jobs across the UK supply chain and SFA sites including Portsmouth, Marham, Aldershot, Edinburgh and Cumbria which are all set to benefit from it.

 

The NFF carried out a housing survey in 2018 and which directly informed the Ministry of Defence’s tendering process.

The contracts
Infographic of a family home - the families journey in SFA

Click to enlarge.

The seven-year contracts have been awarded to:

  • CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTRE – Pinnacle Group Ltd
  • MAINTENANCE (NORTHERN) – Amey Community Ltd
  • MAINTENANCE (CENTRAL) – Amey Community Ltd
  • MAINTENANCE (SOUTH EAST) – VIVO Defence Services Ltd
  • MAINTENANCE (SOUTH WEST) – VIVO Defence Services Ltd

 

You will have a single point of contact, run by Pinnacle. The other contractors will maintain homes and community spaces around them.

 

The new contracts will require suppliers to work differently, such as fixing faults on an initial visit to a property and undertaking simple preventative maintenance while attending properties to reduce disruption to families.

 

The contracts ensure industry suppliers adopt and adhere to recognised industry standards for the allocation, management and maintenance of military homes, implementing robust mechanisms to address poor performance alongside incentives to exceed contracted standards.

Important announcements/updates
April 22 - Missed appointments

Update: 28th April, 2022

 

Message from DIO – Update on the issue affecting appointments in the South East and South West Regions

 

Last week an issue arose where appointments were not transferred between Pinnacle and VIVO systems. This impacted families in the South East and South West Regions, and led to missed appointments.

 

VIVO have completed system fixes and are now receiving appointments through the National Service Centre (NSC). They are contacting affected families who raised jobs with the NSC whilst the interface was down (14-26 April) to arrange appointment slots. If the family cannot be reached via a telephone call, VIVO will email with an appointment and will advise the family to contact the NSC to re-arrange the appointment if the one proposed is not suitable.

 

All families should have been contacted with a proposed appointment by 6th May.

 

In addition, Pinnacle are contacting families who had missed appointments to confirm they will receive missed appointment compensation in the form of an e-voucher. The first batch of vouchers has already been emailed to families and Pinnacle will endeavour to get all the vouchers emailed out over the next two weeks. Families do not need to contact the NSC to claim their compensation and will receive the e-vouchers automatically.

 

We are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused families. These new contracts are designed with families firmly in mind to transform housing services for our Armed Forces. We are working closely with Pinnacle, VIVO, Amey and service family accommodation stakeholders to address issues when they arise, to minimise impact to your lived experience

 

We thank you in the meantime for your continued patience. For further information about the new FDIS Accommodation contracts that replaced the National Housing Prime (NHP) contract on 1 April 2022, please continue to check the SFA Gov.UK website, Pinnacle website and Families Federations and HIVE social media and web pages.

April 22 - Key changes

Update: 13th April, 2022

 

New arrangements to support Service Family Accommodation – Future Defence Infrastructure Services Programme

 

From April 11th 2022, the National Service Centre (NSC) started to receive and log routine maintenance calls. As expected, Pinnacle received a huge volume of calls (2270) and had extra teams in place to receive these. However, there was a technical issue yesterday morning that affected a number of call centres throughout the UK beyond Pinnacle and Defence and this, along with the large volumes of calls, contributed to some families experiencing long wait times. We understand how frustrating this must have been and apologise for this. By the end of the day the call wait times did reduce considerably and we hope that they will continue to reduce throughout this week as we monitor this closely with Pinnacle. As well as phoning to make a request, families may wish to log a request by emailing hello@pinnacleservicefamilies.co.uk.

 

With regards to requests raised under the old contracts, many families have now been contacted and appointments have been raised to work through these requests. We are aware however that some families have not heard back from Amey or VIVO to book appointments for routine requests they raised through 11-25 March. This is understandably causing some families to contact the NSC to re-raise these requests. Again, we understand this is a source of frustration especially as in our cutover comms we said that the new Regional Accommodation Maintenance Services (RAMS) contract teams would endeavour to contact families between 28 March and 8 April 2022 to arrange appointments to complete these works. Having reassessed the situation with our suppliers and looking at the amount of routine maintenance tasks passed from NHP to FDIS, a new date of 29 April 2022 has been set for VIVO and Amey to contact families to make the appointments to meet this back log of works. We do apologise for this delay and for any inconvenience caused to Service personnel and their families.

 

We understand that some families who raised complaints under the NHP contracts have not yet been contacted regarding their complaint being taken forward. We would like to reassure families that Pinnacle started to call families last week to progress their complaints and by 29th April, will have contacted all families.

 

Finally, we would like to provide some clarity about HomeHub and why this did not go live at the start of the new contracts. It was always the intention for HomeHub to go live after this transition period, as Air Commodore Savage, DIO’s Head of Accommodation, explained in the FDIS Facebook Live session on 11 January (at around 7.14 minutes). This is standard practice for a change of this nature as it is important that we ensure the new service and traditional ways for families contacting the NSC are fully working and that any issues are resolved before we roll out the self help options through the HomeHub. Once we are satisfied the service is fully stable, the HomeHub will be introduced to complement existing phone and online means of contacting the NSC by enabling families to raise requests from phone, tablet or PC. Any contract transition is challenging, and our focus is on getting the basics right especially around response maintenance and anything to do with safety before we progressively roll out the new capabilities.

 

These contracts offer the opportunity to make a big difference to the lived experience for Service families but not everything will change overnight and some of the innovations FDIS will bring may take time for some to embed and deliver results. We absolutely understand the frustrations felt by some families as these new contracts settle and please do keep feeding back to Pinnacle, your welfare teams and the Families Federations about concerns you have. These are crucial for us to understand as together with Pinnacle, VIVO and Amey we are working hard to transform housing services for you and are working hard through these early days of the new contract to minimise disruption to families as new systems and ways of working are embedded. We thank you for your patience.

Mar 22- Key Changes

Update: 28th March, 2022

 

A message from DIO:

One week to go until the new contracts start

As we approach 1 April 2022, and in the first week after it, some housing services will be temporarily affected as the new systems are embedded. We would like to reassure families that all emergency and urgent enquiries will continue to be responded to as normal and within the timeframes during this cutover period. For more information about this transition period please see the section below.

The new contracts will be very different from the current one. They have been designed with Service families firmly in mind and DIO collaborated closely with the Housing Colonels from all three Services and the Service Families Federations to ensure that families’ needs are fully considered. They offer the opportunity to break decisively from the past and to build on the commitments made by all suppliers to innovate and deliver more responsive and flexible services to Service families.

 

Some of the key changes are:

 

  • Greater flexibility with how families can contact the National Service Centre. A few weeks after the new contract starts a new Home Hub will be introduced to complement existing phone and online means of contacting the Centre. This will allow families to raise service requests from their smart phone, tablet or personal computer. We will alert families when Home Hub goes live through social media channels and please do keep checking the Pinnacle website.
  • Shorter appointment windows, plus evening and weekend appointments. For all appointments made from Day One onwards, appointments will initially cover a four-hour window but on the day before the appointment this will be narrowed down to one hour. On the day of the appointment families will be given the engineer’s contact number by text.
  • A new target will be introduced to fix at least 85% of repairs on the first visit. This encourages suppliers to improve fault diagnosis, keep more spares in their vehicles and ensure the right engineer is allocated to complete the repair.
  • More robust targets and incentives. These will include specific targets for both delivery performance and – for the first time – customer satisfaction, which will drive the payments the suppliers receive. If the suppliers fall below minimum standards there will be financial consequences, but there will also be financial incentives for them to exceed the minimum contracted standard.

There has been excellent collaboration between DIO, Pinnacle, Amey and VIVO during the transition phase – supported by the Families Federations – to ensure the new contracts are successfully delivered and we very much forward to the new contracts going live next week.

Mar 22 - What to expect during the transition

Update: 11th March, 2022

 

A message from DIO:

The new Accommodation contracts – what to expect during the transition

The new Future Defence Infrastructure Services (FDIS) Accommodation contracts that replace the National Housing Prime (NHP) contract will come into service on 1 April 2022. As we approach that date, and in the week following, some housing services will be temporarily affected as new systems are embedded. We refer to this period of transition between the NHP and new FDIS accommodation contracts as the “cutover” period. We would like to reassure families that all emergency and urgent enquiries will continue to be responded to as normal and within the timeframes during this cutover period.

 

1. Cutover arrangements for reactive maintenance to homes

a. Emergency and Urgent repairs and maintenance requests

The arrangements for raising Emergency and Urgent repair requests will not be impacted. Families should contact Amey using existing channels until midnight on 31 March 2022. From Friday 1 April 2022, when the new Accommodation contracts formally start, emergency and urgent calls for repairs and maintenance should be made through Pinnacle’s National Service Centre (NSC) or telephone 0800 031 8628.

 

From 25 March 2022 inclusive, Amey will not always be able to allocate appointments for Urgent repairs before their current contract expires on 31 March 2022. If they cannot allocate families an Urgent appointment, they will pass the requirement to the new Regional Accommodation Maintenance Services (RAMS) Contract teams – VIVO for the South East and South West Regions and Amey for the North and Central Regions – who will contact you to arrange appointments to complete these works as soon as possible, on or after 1 April 2022. The FDIS suppliers will increase the size of their teams to support with clearing works that transition over from NHP to the new FDIS contracts.

 

b. Routine repairs and maintenance requests

From 11 – 25 March 2022 inclusive, Amey will continue to take calls for all categories of repairs and maintenance but will not always be able to allocate appointments for routine works before their current contract expires on 31 March 2022. If they cannot allocate you a routine appointment, they will pass your requirement to the new RAMS contract teams as above, who will endeavour to contact you between 28 March and 8 April 2022 to arrange appointments to complete these works. The FDIS suppliers will increase the size of their teams to support with clearing the works that transition over from NHP to the new FDIS contracts.

 

From 26 March – 10 April 2022 inclusive, no calls will be taken by Amey or Pinnacle for routine repairs or maintenance calls under the NHP contract – only calls for Emergency and Urgent repair and maintenance issues will be taken. This is to allow time for key transition activities including staff induction, the issue of new kit/clothing/vehicles, training and embedding new systems while ensuring that Emergency and Urgent repairs are attended to promptly. Over this period, messages will be posted by Amey (until 31 March) and Pinnacle (from 1 April) asking families to wait until at least 11 April 2022 to report new Routine maintenance requests.

 

From 11 April 2022, families should contact the National Service Centre or telephone 0800 031 8628 to raise routine repairs and maintenance issues. The Pinnacle National Service Centre will be staffed appropriately to anticipate a surge in calls, emails and live chat at this time.

 

We do understand that this may be frustrating for some families and apologise that there will be a gap for these routine enquiries. However, we would be grateful for your support during this time so that we can ensure that families with Emergency and Urgent needs are prioritised while our suppliers complete activities essential to the success of FDIS. DIO and our suppliers are committed to putting the interests of Service families first and improving the lived experience for families is at the heart of the new contracts. Taking this approach will ensure the new systems are fully ready and that Pinnacle, Vivo and Amey are able to transition smoothly from the NHP to the new FDIS contracts.

 

2. Move-in and move-out appointments

To allow for essential work as part of the change-over to new FDIS accommodation contracts, the e1132 site will be temporarily offline from 12:00hrs on Thursday 31st March until 08:00hrs on Friday 1st April 2022. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

Move-in and move-out appointments and any other occupancy appointments agreed with families with Amey prior to 1 April 2022 will be attended by a Pinnacle Housing Officer on an agreed date from 1 April. All supporting information will be passed from Amey to Pinnacle as required such as Statutory and Mandatory Inspection certificates.

 

3. Complaints/CAAS Challenges

Amey will endeavour to resolve as many as Stage 1 complaints/CAAS challenges as possible before 31 March 2022.  If they are unable to complete the work required to close a complaint or respond to a CAAS challenge prior to this date, the complaint/CAAS challenge will be paused and Amey will inform the complainant that their complaint/CAAS challenge will be passed over to Pinnacle. From 1 April 2022 Pinnacle will be in touch with families with a new reference number and to discuss and take forward these cases.

 

4. Additional Needs and Disability Adaptation (ANDA) Works

Amey will endeavour to continue to undertake ANDA work, where possible, up to 31 March 2022. If they are unable to complete the work required prior to this date, the work will be paused.  Families with outstanding ANDA work will be contacted directly by Amey to inform them that the work will be passed over to Pinnacle, who will make contact soon after 1 April 2022 to provide a dedicated point of contact and to progress the request.

 

Further information on the new FDIS accommodation contracts

More details will be made available to Service personnel and their families over the coming weeks through the SFA Gov.UK website, on social media and via the Families Federations and HIVEs. In addition, comprehensive guides are available for families on the Pinnacle website, which is now live. It is important to note that until 1 April 2022 families must still visit the Amey Defence Services website and continue to use these services regarding their homes.

The introduction of FDIS is intended to represent a step change in the way services will be delivered to families in SFA and we look forward to continuing to work with Pinnacle, Amey and VIVO during the transition phase – supported by the Families Federations – to ensure the new contracts are successfully delivered.

Mar 22 - Four weeks to go

Update: 4th March, 2022

 

A message from DIO:

Four weeks until the new Accommodation contracts start

The new Future Defence Infrastructure Services (FDIS) Accommodation contracts that replace the National Housing Prime (NHP) contract, will come into service 4 weeks from today, on 1 April 2022.

 

More details will be made available to Service personnel and their families over the next four weeks through the SFA Gov.UK website, on social media and via  the Families Federations and HIVEs. In addition, comprehensive guides will be available for families on the Pinnacle website, which has gone live today. However it is important to note that until 1 April 2022 families must still visit the Amey Defence Services website and continue to use these services to log any repairs and requests and access information regarding their homes.

In January, DIO’s Head of Accommodation, Air Commodore James Savage joined the Army Families Federation to answer questions from families about the new Accommodation contracts and you can watch a recording of the Facebook Live from the section above (Jan 22 update). Responses to all the questions raised at the event can be viewed here.

 

Families First Approach

In developing the new contracts, DIO collaborated closely with the Housing Colonels from the RN, Army, RAF and UK STRATCOM and the Families Federations to ensure that families’ needs were fully considered. The new contracts have been developed with Service families firmly in mind and will be very different from the current one. They offer the opportunity to break decisively from the past and to build on the commitments made by all suppliers to innovate and deliver more responsive and flexible services to Service families. Importantly, contracted performance standards have been informed by industry best practice and include targets for customer satisfaction, with financial incentives for contractors to exceed the minimum contracted standards.

 

Another key focus of the new contracts is to change the culture. A ‘Family First’ approach has been agreed with our industry partners, which places the needs of our families at the heart of what we do. This approach will be backed by enhanced customer service training that brings to life what it means to be a Service family.

 

The introduction of FDIS is intended to represent a step change in the way services will be delivered to families in SFA. There has been excellent collaboration between DIO, Pinnacle, Amey and VIVO during the transition phase – supported by the Families Federations – to ensure the new contracts are successfully delivered.

Feb 22 - Change of in-service date

Update: 10th February, 2022

 

A message from DIO’s Head of Accommodation, Air Commodore James Savage:

Further to my last message to families dated 13 January 2022, regarding the introduction of the new Future Defence Infrastructure Services (FDIS) Accommodation contracts that will replace the National Housing Prime (NHP) contract, I am pleased to confirm that the new contracts will come into service on 1 April 2022.
This change to the in-service date of FDIS has allowed time to ensure all the key systems are fully tested and operational prior to going live.
We have collaborated closely with key stakeholders, including the Families Federations, to ensure that Service families’ needs are fully considered and an improved ‘lived experience’ is provided. The new contracts will require suppliers to work differently, such as fixing faults on an initial visit to a property and undertaking simple preventative maintenance while attending properties to reduce disruption to families.
More details will be made available about the new contracts as we approach the in-service date, and comprehensive guides will be available for families on the Pinnacle website.
Further updates will be provided via social media. Information on the new contracts and the benefits they will deliver for families is also available on the SFA Gov.UK website.
Jan 22 - Change of in-service date

Update: 14th January, 2022

 

A message from DIO’s Head of Accommodation, Air Commodore James Savage:

 

We are currently preparing for the introduction of the new Future Defence Infrastructure Services (FDIS) Accommodation contracts that will replace the National Housing Prime (NHP) contract and will fulfil the Defence requirement for the delivery of effective and responsive accommodation services for Service personnel and their families. More information about FDIS and the new suppliers can be found here.

 

The new contracts are due to come into service on 1 March 2022 and DIO and its partners have been working towards this date. However, a risk has emerged that some of the key IT systems on which FDIS would depend might not be ready to deploy on 1 March 2022.

 

Although this risk is not high, DIO and our suppliers are committed to putting the interests of Service families first and it is crucial that we get this right, because improving the lived experience for families is at the heart of the new contracts. Therefore, we are seeking formal approval to change the in-service date by a month to 1 April 2022, in order to ensure the new systems are fully ready.

 

Although the approval process will take a little time, we have agreed with Amey and MOD Head Office that we should extend the current National Housing Prime Contract to 31 March 2022 to ensure that we can continue to deliver services in the meantime. An early decision was necessary to ensure Amey could give its supply chain adequate notice. The proposed change to the in-service date of FDIS should then allow time to ensure all of the key systems are fully tested and proved prior to going live. We will provide a further update once the approvals process has completed.

 

Accommodation is such an important part of family life for Service personnel, which is why we collaborated closely with representatives of our people and their families to develop these contracts and ensure that their needs are fully considered. These new contracts offer the opportunity to break decisively from the past and to build on the commitments made by all suppliers to innovate and deliver more responsive and flexible services to the Armed Forces and their families.

 

The new contracts will require suppliers to work differently, such as fixing faults on an initial visit to a property and undertaking simple preventative maintenance while attending properties to reduce disruption to families.

 

I look forward to continuing working with Pinnacle, Vivo and Amey to transition smoothly from the NHP to the new FDIS contracts, and to ensure delivery performance is maintained. More details will become available as we approach the in-service date, with comprehensive guides to the new contracts to be issued to all families in SFA in good time before the contracts go live in April. Please do keep checking Gov.uk as all the latest SFA FDIS guidance is there, and we will be updating those pages as appropriate.

Jan 22 - Facebook live with Head of DIO

Update: 12th January, 2022

 

James Savage, the Head of Accommodation at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and the Army Families Federation (AFF) jointly hosted a live session on Facebook on behalf of the Naval and RAF Families Federations.

 

The session provided information to the new FDIS contracts as well as answered some questions that you may have.

 

You can watch the recording here.  

Resources
Screenshot of the FDIS article from Homeport magazine (Spring 22)
Click the image to read the article (Homeport Spring 22, p.32-33)
Posted on: 24th June 2021
Updated on: 28th April 2022

Jane Williams has been championing the cause of Naval families for more than a decade – and now she has won official recognition for her efforts.

 

Jane, the Naval Families Federation (NFF) Director of Operations and Families Engagement, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, a fitting finale as she leaves the NFF to accompany her husband, a Royal Navy officer, on an overseas assignment.

Jane and her husband taking a selfie when HMS QE first entered Portsmouth in 2017.

 

During her 12 years at the Federation Jane has played her part in establishing the charity as a vital component in the research and policymaking process, improving the lives of Naval families in terms of accommodation, health, education, finance and employment, amongst other things.

 

And while NFF research and resources provide support and improvements across the board, Jane, who lives in Stubbington, near Fareham in Hampshire, has also rolled up her sleeves and helped individual cases when they get bogged down by bureaucracy or a unique situation needs to be resolved.

 

Whether strategic or tactical, at the heart of the NFF approach is the fact that its staff talk to families and listen to what they say, passing that on to those who need to hear it – and it’s something Jane has always enjoyed, and at which she excelled.

 

“Getting out and talking to Royal Navy and Royal Marines families? What a privilege!” she said. “They are just awesome!”

 

Jane said she has always been amazed at the range and breadth of subjects raised by families, and the fact that they might not have an issue with something, but they will often have a thoughtful and intelligent opinion from their own experiences which will help policymakers.

 

“People making policies and decisions have an appetite to understand what it means to our families – their ears are pinned back and they are listening,” said Jane.

 

“They have to prioritise operational output but they are very keen to take families into account.

 

“Over the time I have been with the NFF I have seen a significant change in the right direction, for the good, and I think that’s because of what the NFF can bring to the table.

 

“It is well researched and carefully thought through – we have never sold anybody a pup!”

 

 

NFF Chief Executive Anna Wright said: “Jane is a powerhouse of energy who has devoted 12 years on the staff of the NFF, striving to improve the lot for families of serving Royal Navy personnel.

 

“She is absolutely at her best when dealing with families directly.

 

“She has the ability to take the most intractable problems, roll up her sleeves and get to work for the family.”

 

Anna added that by using “her contacts, knowledge of regulations, guile and charm” she gets the best result possible – “not always what the family were seeking, but always a solution that can be managed.”

 

Anna concluded: “Jane puts others first and has helped to drive the agenda for families a long way forward in her time.

 

“Her superpower is being a people-focused dynamo, putting a human face on the intractable problems of SFA and immigration; by helping those responsible for the regulations to do their best.”

 

Posted on: 12th June, 2021

Behind every great sporting star is a coach who inspired them or honed their natural talent into jaw-dropping magic. 

 

And every coach has to start somewhere – could this be the start of your path to the top? 

 

As part of Strengthening Families – By Your Side, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) is partnering with Kings Active Foundation to run a sports leadership programme called Rookie Academy, helping young people get more out of their school holidays.  

 

From the age of 15 you can opt to join this programme, where you will learn how to coach and be a young leader through practical, hands-on activities. It has three levels, with each level taking around two weeks to complete; you can only take one level per season. 

 

As part of the Rookie Academy, you will receive a T-shirt, a wristband, a workbook, certificates of achievement and online resources to support and reiterate the learning principles.  

What does a Rookie do on camp?

What does a Rookie do on camp?

Using your workbook as a guide, Rookies are supported by Red Tops (Kings Camps staff) to complete tasks and learn about the role. When ready, you can get involved in supporting and leading your own sessions. All of this practical experience will be recorded in your log book. 

 

When you have completed your training, Rookies are celebrated on their camp with a graduation, which is a fantastic way to inspire the younger children. This qualification can be added to your CV and included in any college or university applications, as Level 3 is accredited by 1stForSport. 

 

Lots of Rookies return in subsequent seasons as Red Tops. Whether you return to work with Kings Camps or not, it’s an opportunity to kick start your coaching career and develop your leadership, communication and interpersonal skills. 

 

As part of your learning, you will also complete some modules via Kings Camps’ Online Learning Platform. 

 

To complete the final assessment for each level, you must log a minimum number of hours as a group leader; for Level One, for example, this is five hours. 

 

The aim of Rookie Academy is to guide your understanding of what it takes to be a great coach, along with sports specific health and safety practice from a coach’s perspective and help you learn how to help others develop in sport activities through a variety of challenges and tasks.

Level 1

When completing level 1, you will learn:

  • What qualities make a great coach
  • How to identify risks and hazards
  • How to reduce risks and hazards
  • How to create an appropriate warm up and cooldown
  • How to deliver a warm up and cool down to children 
  • Observation of coaching techniques
  • How to assist the Red Tops
Level 2

When completing level 2, you will learn:

  • What activities are best suited to certain sports and why
  • How to progress through an activity and why we use progression as a coaching tool
  • How to plan and deliver more detailed activities
  • Different ways to manage health and safety on camp
  • An understanding of what competition is and why we use it
Level 3

When completing level 3, you will learn:

  • How to plan an effective sport session
  • How to assess and analyse performance
  • The importance of competition
  • Session planning to meet the needs of your participants
  • Reflecting on your own performance as a junior coach
  • How to set targets
  • What transferable skills in sport are
  • How to adapt activities
Summer activity camps

The RNRMC have also announced the return of Activity Camps this summer. The RNRMC are once again working in partnership with The Kings Active Foundation and the Royal Navy to provide leading sports and activity camps to Naval families with children between 5 – 17 years old at a heavily subsidised cost. Find out more about the camps here.

 

Register your interest

 

Posted on: 21st April, 2021

Get your children active, having fun and learning together!

 

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) have announced the return of Activity Camps this summer.  The RNRMC are once again working in partnership with The Kings Active Foundation and the Royal Navy to provide leading sports and activity camps to Naval families with children between 5 – 17 years old at a heavily subsidised cost.

 

Camps provide fantastic opportunities for children and young people to get active, have fun and make new friends. They will be coming to a host of Royal Navy Establishments this summer, operating full week Activity Camps on selected dates. RNRMC are again subsidising places so that Camps on Royal Navy bases will cost just £75 per child, per week and are exclusively for Naval families. Access to the RN bases makes a big difference to the cost, so thank you to the Royal Navy for opening up facilities. Royal Navy establishment locations and dates are still being finalised and not confirmed. Information about the provisional locations and dates are available on the survey (link below) to support planning.

 

An ever-popular offer, very high demand is expected for Royal Navy Establishment based camps this summer. To plan and prepare for this demand; an Expression of Interest form has been created to allow all Naval families to register their interest in their preferred location and dates. This will enable demand to be met as much as possible.

 

Other locations

Kings Camps also operate civilian camps nationwide in England, Scotland and Wales, so if you don’t live near to a Royal Navy Establishment you may be able to access a civilian Kings Camps. All serving RN families can benefit from the same subsidised cost as a camp hosted at a Royal Navy Establishment of £75 per child, per week. You can view a full list of locations here. To book places at any Kings Camps around the UK, which are open to the general public, please call the Kings Camps membership team on 0114 263 2160 (Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm) to discuss dates and locations and ensure you receive the subsidised rate.

 

Rookie Academy

From the age of 15 children can also attend an RN Activity Camp and participate in the Rookie Academy which is a Level 3 is accredited by 1stForSport leadership programme that helps young people to get more out of their school holidays. This qualification can be added to their CV and included in any future application where part of the assessment is on practical leadership skills. Rookies are celebrated on their camp with a graduation which is a fantastic way to inspire the younger children. Find out more about the Rookie Programme here.

 

Parent feedback from last year

“Amazing, safe venue for kids! Great staff who engaged kids from the outset. This is the only camp my kids actually enjoy! They are kept on the go from drop off to pick up and love every minute of it. It’s well organised, the activities are structured, and the atmosphere is always fun. The chants on the way home in the car are probably the only downside but after a while, even I joined in!!”

“My daughter absolutely loved it. I picked her up every night and she is so excited to tell me all about the new sports she has played, what she has done and the new friends she had made. I was a bit worried that with the ongoing Covid19 situation it wouldn’t be as good as previous years, but as mentioned, it was fantastic.”

 

Register your interest
  • Register Your Interest for Kings Camps – Summer 2021 here. Please complete the Expression of Interest Form by 30th April 2021.
  • Kings Camps will be in touch with you from 14th May to confirm if you have been successful in securing a place on a Royal Navy Establishment camp. 
  • Please note, completing this online form does not guarantee you a place on camp.

 

UPDATE (02.06.2021)
  • Today Kings Active Foundation will send an email to every family who expressed an interest;
  • Families who have not yet completed their booking will have until 5pm on Monday 7th June to confirm and pay for their booking with Kings.  Thereafter their places will no longer be held for them;
  • From 9am on the Wednesday 9th June, on a first come first served basis and subject to availability families can call to request weeks and/or book second weeks.

 

Posted on: 16th April, 2021
Updated on: 2nd June, 2021

Households across England and Wales are being asked to take part in Census 2021. The census in Scotland will take place next year due to the impact of the pandemic. 

 

This year, the census will include a new question which will ask people if they have served in the Armed Forces. This data will help to support commitments made by central and local government under the Armed Forces Covenant. Anyone who has served in the Armed Forces for at least one day is classed as a veteran. Click here to watch an explainer video. The NFF welcomes this change as this will help to collate valuable information which will ensure that the Armed Forces community gets the right support in the future. 

 

Service personnel are encouraged to access the guidance issued in DIN: 2021DIN01-032 which provides key information, including instructions regarding employer address information, for those who work at particular MOD locations. For general queries or help, contact information is set out in paragraph 54 of the DIN. 

 

Useful information

We recognise that the family dynamics of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines community may be different than those of civilian households. 

  1. There is specific advice available for Armed Forces families, which can be found here.
  2. The team at Royal Navy Family & People Support (RN FPS) have shared guidance for MOD families when completing the census, which can be accessed here.
  3. The NFF put some additional questions to the Census team for a FAQ to clarify some areas that have caused confusion :
SFA - Who should fill this in?

Q: When Service families live in SFA, the serving person is named as the licence holder in accordance with MOD Policy, and they are also the named person responsible for the household bills – they would therefore be deemed to be the ‘householder’. If the SP is away from home on 21st March, due to an operational deployment or because they are working in a different part of the country, can their spouse/partner complete the Census on their behalf, in their absence?  

 

A: Yes, they can complete it, the Census arrives addressed to the household address not a specific individual. If a person is on active deployment, they will be able to note this as there is a section that says that they normally reside there but on the 21st March they are elsewhere. Click here to read the guidance on completing the census for someone else. 

Own homes - Who should fill this in?

Q: The same question applies for those Service families living in their own homes, if the serving person is considered to be the ‘householder’ but will be absent from the home on 21 March due to the needs of the Service. Can the spouse/partner complete the form? 

 

A: Yes, again, as above. The Census can be completed from receipt up until the end of April, but must record the household on the 21st March. Click here to read the guidance on completing the census for someone else. 

SLA - What if I live on base?

Q: What are the arrangements for those living in SLA? 

 

A: Advice for those living on base can be found here. If you live on a US military base, your CO will give you advice. 

SFA - Landlord

Q: We live in SFA. Who is my landlord? 

 

A: The RN FPS team have put together guidance on answering this question. Please click here to access the PDF.

Serving person away from home

Q: My SP is currently working away from home, should I include them? 

 

A: Remember to include anyone who usually lives here but is temporarily away from home. This applies to your SP, if this is their permanent or home address. You can read the full guidance on people currently away here. The advice for Armed Forces families can be found here. 

Serving person - Job title/employer

Q: Question 41-44 asks about my job. How should I answer those questions?

 

A: You are strongly encouraged to read this guidance produced by the Royal Navy – please click here to access the PDF.

Non-UK serving personnel

Q: Is there any guidance for non-UK military personnel? 

 

A: You can visit this page for more information. 

For further information or to get help, please visit census.gov.uk 

Posted on: 10th March, 2021