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

 

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

 

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

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

 

You can find our paper and other written evidence here.

 

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

 

EDIT (DECEMBER 2021): The MOD have now published their response to the government’s report on this enquiry 

 

Posted on: 3rd March, 2021
Updated on: 6th December, 2021

We are delighted with the outcome of the immigration fee public consultation announced today.  The aim of the consultation was to invite interested parties to answer several questions concerning the policy on waiving fees for Non-UK Service Personnel who meet certain criteria when applying for settlement in the UK at the end of their service in the UK Armed Forces.

 

The has now been closed and the Government has issued their response.

 

Due to the significant and noticeable interest of the consultation – receiving over 6000 responses, the Government has decided to implement a fee waiver for the following personnel, providing they meet all other suitable requirements:

  • Non-UK Service Personnel who have served for at least six years at their point of discharge from service.
  • Non-UK Service Personnel who have been discharged due to an injury or illness attributable to service irrespective of how long they have served.
  • Non-UK veterans who are currently living in the UK and have not yet regularised their immigration status but meet either of the above criteria.

 

The waiver is dependent on legislation expected to take effect this spring.

 

Pete Hawley, the NFF immigration advisor, who contributed to the consultation said “It is fantastic to hear the news that the public consultation into the waiving of settlement fees for our non-UK personnel has concluded in favour of waiving the fees for those that have served six years, been medically discharged or veterans who have not yet regularised their stay. Many thanks to all the RN, RM personnel, and families that took part in the consultation process. This is a great example of how you can make your voice count. I now look forward to seeing this implemented later this spring and assisting our personnel with the application process.”

 

To read more about the consultation, please click  here.

 

 

Posted on: 23rd March 2021

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

 

The changes

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

 

The new model will mean that all Service Personnel claimants of LOA, and their families, will receive a fair and sustainable contribution towards necessary additional living costs when serving overseas. Service personnel around the world will find that the amount of LOA they receive may either increase, decrease or remain broadly the same. The changes are not a saving measure but designed to be cost neutral.

 

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

 

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

 

Split Net Pay (update)

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

 

Overseas Private Vehicle Provision (OPVP)

From 1 April 2021 Service personnel who are permanently assigned overseas and receive Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) will have access to a new Overseas Private Vehicle Provision (OPVP).

 

OPVP assists Service personnel with access to a private motor vehicle in a LOA area. The provision will be an additional but separate contribution to the new LOA; due to be implemented from 1 July 2021.

 

The OPVP will be paid up to a (capped) lump sum on proof of expenditure of a vehicle. This will replace the old Car buy/Sell contribution that was paid in most Main Station locations where contributions were spread across the course of an assignment. The change has been introduced to better support Service personnel with significant one-off costs when they need it most.

 

The rate of OPVP is capped at £975. Depending on the circumstances of the Service person, OPVP can be claimed on assignment into and, with effect from 1 July 2021, out of the overseas location. This means that in some cases Service personnel will be able to claim up to a total of circa £1950 (e.g. £975 into the overseas location and £975 out of the overseas location). Service personnel returning from an overseas assignment cannot claim OPVP until 1 July 2021.

 

Please click here to read a directed letter from the MOD which gives more detail into the provision and transitionary arrangements.

 

Transition to the new package

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

 

Further information

The revised LOA rates were published under a Directed Letter to single Service Pay Colonels on 11 June 2021. The changes will be fully implemented over a three-year transition period. Please click here to read a guidance from the government’s website or visit your local unit admin office for more information.

 

You can watch a short explanatory video below:

 

 

Enquiries
  • The Armed Forces Remuneration team have been working hard to get the word out about the forthcoming LOA policy change, and have been delivering roadshows to serving people at overseas locations. They are listening to your feedback and where possible have made amendments. They have also put together some FAQs to help you, which will be further developed as more roadshows take place. We will keep you updated. 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on: 12th February, 2021
Updated on: 22nd June, 2021

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

 

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

 

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

 

Quick overview

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Select Committee and their work

On 3rd March 2021, the House of Commons launched the Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill, chaired by James Sunderland MP. 

  • NFF CEO Anna Wright attended an oral evidence session at 2.30pm on 4th March 2021. You can watch the session on Parliament TV here.
  • The Committee published a special report in April 2021. You can read the report here.
  • Based on feedback and issues raised by Service personnel and their loved ones, the Naval Families Federation submitted our observations on behalf of our community. You can find other written evidence here.

 

Further details
  • Please click here to read the news story.
  • Click here to find out more about the Bill and its other measures.
  • July 2021 – The NFF has joined 11 other military charities in signing an open letter which has appeared in several newspapers calling for the Covenant into Law part of the Armed Forces Act to be strengthened and to go further. Read the news story here.

 

Posted on: 11th February, 2021
Posted on: 14th July, 2021

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Posted on: 8th January, 2021

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

 

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

 

Combat Stress Mental Health Helpline

Combat Stress

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

The Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC)

The Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC)

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

The Royal British Legion

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Please call:

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

SSAFA Forces Line

Strengthening Families - By Your Side

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

 

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

 

A5 insert, talking about strengthening families.

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

 

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

 

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

 

Posted on: 10th December, 2020

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

The Career Transition Partnership (CTP) have announced the launch of their brand-new Partner Career Support Programme – providing exemplary career support to spouses and partners of members of the UK Armed Forces.

 

Whether you’re already in employment, have been out of work for some time, or are based overseas and are looking to understand your suitability for a UK based role, CTP are here to help you find a future career that suits your individual needs and experience.

Your support will be flexible to allow you to understand your career path options and develop the confidence to progress along your desired career path, all while still having time to meet the demands of Service and family life.

 

This 6-month programme will be entirely accessible online, and it is fully funded by the Ministry of Defence so there is no cost to join. There are 750 places on the programme.

 

Registrations are now open until January 2021. You can find out more about the programme/ sign up here.

 

Posted on: 1st November, 2020