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Andrew Selous MP has been asked by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson to produce an independent report to capture the needs of Service families. Key issues identified can help influence existing and future policies to help improve support available to families.

 

Mr Selous and his report team are keen to hear from spouses and partners as well as children and dependents of those who are currently serving or have recently left the Service.

 

During a visit to Royal Navy and Royal Marines agencies in Portsmouth today, Mr Selous and Prof Walker, lead adviser of the report team, joined us at our offices in HMS Excellent to meet with Naval Service family members.

 

During the meeting, they chatted to spouses and partners about their lived experience, gathering evidence in different areas of concern to help understand the issues families face.

 

One of the issues raised during this meeting was housing. Some of the families at the meeting live in Service Family Accommodation, and they told Mr Selous about living conditions, as well as suggestions on how things could be improved.

 

Another issue discussed included childcare and education; there were questions about the use of Service Pupil Premium and concerns were raised about the cost of childcare and its relation to spousal employment.

 

Finally, there was a discussion on health care and the Armed Forces Covenant. It was pointed out that accessing health services could be a challenge for those moving to a different assignment, and how the Covenant could help educate local GPs and dental clinics on this issue.

 

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

‘We are delighted to facilitate this open conversation and to act as a bridge to connect our Royal Navy and Royal Marines families and the government. This meeting has enabled family members to voice their concerns and give feedback about their experiences. We look forward to reading the final report.’

 

The report will be published this summer, and might provide the impetus for a further review on wider government and public-sector provision.

 

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 April, 2019

Did you know that Welcome Guides have been produced to help Service families as they move across the UK or return from overseas?

 

These booklets were designed to provide information you may need to help you and your family settle in to a new location. They cover aspects such as housing, education, healthcare, employment, benefits and social care and other useful information, as well as a list of supporting organisations.

 

If you are considering moving, or are due to move for an upcoming assignment order, please do read the guides, which can help to ease your mind.

Welcome to England poster.
Welcome to Wales poster.
Welcome to Scotland poster.
Northern Ireland
Currently in production. Please watch this space.

These guides can also be accessed via the Armed Forces Covenant here.

Posted on: 2nd April, 2019
Updated on: 29th March, 2021

FAM Pilot

The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) committed the Ministry of Defence to make a new accommodation offer, to help more personnel live in private accommodation and meet their aspirations for home ownership.

 

The way people live and work is changing and the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) reflects this, giving more choice to more Service personnel and their families over where, how and with whom you live.

 

Now that the pilot is live across all Services, FAM leads will test the policy and work closely with Service personnel to see how they respond. The pilot will run for around three years, and everyone’s feedback over that time will be hugely important. A decision will then be made about whether to expand FAM and roll it out to the rest of the UK over the following decade.

 

On 1st April 2019, more information on the model was released. The MOD has produced the following videos to give you an overview of FAM:

 

 

 

FAM is now live at HMNB Clyde, Aldershot Garrison and RAF Wittering.

Under FAM, entitlement to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) will no longer be allocated according to the rank of individuals, but will instead focus on the size of the family, promoting fairness and ensuring homes are fit for purpose. For those living on, or assigned to, HMNB Clyde it is important to know that Single Living Accommodation (SLA) and SFA will still be available, with no SFA properties sold off because of the pilot.

 

If you are happy in your current SLA or SFA at one of the pilot locations don’t worry, you don’t need to take any action. However, if you’d now like to consider renting or buying a home in the local area with support from the MOD, FAM makes this possible:

Eligibility
UPDATE – 12/07/2021

Due to invaluable feedback received from Service personnel assigned to HMNB Clyde, Aldershot Garrison and RAF Wittering – the MOD introduced several changes for the duration of the pilot effective from 12 July 2021:

  • The 12 months Future Availability Date (FAD) reduced to 6 months FAD – meaning SP will need to have 6 months left on your draft.
  • Service personnel able to claim support for voluntary mid-assignment moves.
  • Length of Service reduced from 4 years service to 1 years service.

Please note, the criteria for Regular or Full Time Reserve Service (Full Commitment) has not changed.

 

BEFORE 12/07/201
  • Regular or Full Time Reserve Service (Full Commitment)
  • Based at one of the pilot locations with 12 months or more left on your draft, or have an assignment there of 12 months or more during the pilot
  • Have 4 or more years of Service
Applications

If you decide you want to change your current accommodation and you want to rent then you will need to complete an Accommodation Preference Form (APF) in JPA. If you want to buy a house then you do not fill out the APF, instead you’ll need to take your legal paperwork to your Unit Personnel Office (UPO). If you choose to stay in your current SLA or SFA then you don’t need to do anything.

 

If you are due to be assigned to HMNB Clyde, you can choose your accommodation in line with the FAM policies. You can submit your APF in advance of your start date.

Note: Long Term Relationships (LTR)

It was also announced that Service personnel who are in a long-term relationship or have residential responsibility for a child will now be able to apply to live together in surplus SFA at all UK bases where properties are available, provided that you met the criteria. Please note that this is not part of FAM, but rather a new policy. This is not an entitlement to SFA. Find out more about your eligibility here.

Enquiries/ Further details
HMNB Clyde FAM Cell
Housing Options Scotland

Housing Options Scotland’s (HOS) “Military Matters” programme supports members of the Armed Forces community with any housing needs or issues. The charity offers free, independent information, advice and support to those who get in touch, and they can help with all kinds of housing tenure – from renting privately to social housing and home ownership.

 

Karen Campbell is the Military Matters broker at HOS and works with clients from the Armed Forces community. Support is offered on a 1-1 basis, where every client receives information and advice tailored to their specific circumstances.

 

Discover My Benefits

Find out what you could receive in payments and allowances, if you rent or buy a home under FAM via Discover My Benefits.

Information on gov.uk
Attachments

The MOD and the NFF’s Homeport magazine have also produced videos, articles and leaflets that can help you understand this update better:

Step-by-step guide:

 

Here’s what the first people to benefit from new choices in accommodation in HMNB Clyde have to say about FAM:

FAM informational poster.
FAM informational poster.
FAM guide front page.
Guide for existing renters at HMNB Clyde
FAM informational poster.
All you need to know about FAM (Homeport Summer '19, p.37-40)

The Naval Families Federation welcomes your thoughts on this pilot. Please do contact us.

 

Posted on: 1st April, 2019
Updated on: 12th July, 2021

Edit (24th January 2022): FAMCAS 2022 is now open until 9th May 2022. Your serving loved one may have received an email invitation for you to participate in the 2022 survey. Please encourage them to check to see if they have received an invitation so you can share your views.

 

Introduction

You may have been asked by your serving partner to complete the Families Continuous Attitude Survey (FAMCAS). The survey asks questions about key welfare areas including family life, childcare, deployment, education, employment, healthcare, and housing. It provides spouses/civil partners with an opportunity to share their views on what life is like being with a member of the Armed Forces. In the previous years, the survey was sent to a random selection of Service families located both within the UK and overseas. However, FAMCAS is now open to all Service spouses/partners.

 

We would really encourage you to take part in the survey as the results from the survey are used to aid the development and monitoring of military personnel policies and welfare initiatives. They are also used to inform and monitor Defence personnel programmes (such as the Armed Forces People Programme) and aim to address all types of challenges faced by the families of service personnel. All replies will be treated in the strictest confidence and are completely anonymous. Your individual responses will only be seen by the civilian researchers conducting this survey and external data input contractors.

 

You may be thinking, “What about me? I am not the legal spouse of the serving person, but their service has a big impact on me/my children, and I should be invited to comment.” We agree. We are meeting with the researchers working for FAMCAS to encourage the development of a more inclusive and useful survey that more accurately reflects modern family life. We also know that dual serving couples find it difficult to complete the FAMCAS. We will update you with any progress made in this area. In the meantime, please do have a go at completing the survey. Feel free to get in touch with us with any additional feedback you may wish us to pass on.

 

Previous reports:

Please click here to access the results from previous years.

 

Posted on: 10th April, 2018
Updated on: 24th January, 2022

 

*APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED*

 

Vacancy for a permanent position located in Scotland. Flexible arrangement of part-time working hours (30 hours per week).

 

Salary: £25k Per Annum (£20,750 pro-rata)

 

Here’s who we are:

The Naval Families Federation exists to speak up for Royal Navy and Royal Marines families. We represent their views and experiences to those who make the policies and decisions that affect them. We meet regularly with the Royal Navy’s Chain of Command, Government Ministers, Other Government Departments and other key stakeholders.  We also support appropriate and relevant research.

 

Here’s who we are looking for:

A self-starting team player who is happy to work from home but willing to travel across Scotland and Northern Ireland. Our new colleague will be thoroughly familiar with the Armed Forces lifestyle, the Naval Families Federation and the Armed Forces Covenant.

We speak up for Royal Navy and Royal Marines families, so applicants must be  confident in seeking their views on their ‘lived experience’ and making sure their views are heard by decision makers, both local and national.

The successful applicant will also be able to demonstrate to families that their opinions and experiences are valuable and help inform decisions and shape policy at the highest levels.

This is a key role in a small organisation where everybody makes a difference, so the ideal applicant will have the energy and resourcefulness to be comfortable working remotely while still being part of a focussed team.

If you fit this description and would relish a new challenge, we would love to hear from you. Own transport and a current driving licence are a must.

 

Send completed application forms to contactus@nff.org.uk or by post to the address below.

 

Applications close at 1200 on Thursday 14th March. 

Interviews will be held on 20th March 2019 In Helensburgh.

 

Naval Families Federation

CEO: Anna Wright MA

Building 25, HMS Excellent, Whale Island, Portsmouth. PO2 8ER

Tel: 02392 654374

 

Attachments

Job Specification

Application Form *APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED*

 

Posted on: 1st March, 2019
APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED: 14th March, 2019

 

Calling young people aged 11-18 with a parent in the Armed Forces

 

A study is being carried out at the University of Southampton to investigate how adolescents from Armed Forces families cope with stressful life events (both normal adolescent stressful events and events specific to Forces life). The results of this study could be used to provide recommendations for how best to support young people from Forces families during difficult times. We are particularly interested in encouraging effective practice in the use of Service Pupil Premium in schools, and there is currently a lack of evidence about what interventions are effective for young people and teenagers.

 

This online study is open to participants aged 11-18 who have a parent in the UK Armed Forces. Consent is needed from both the participants and their parent/guardian, which is given online. Participants are asked to complete some demographic questions and 3 questionnaires: one on stressful life experiences; one on resilience; and one on coping styles. The whole thing will take around 1 hour to complete. Participants will receive a £5 Amazon voucher to thank them for taking part in the study.

 

We would very much appreciate your support with this work, as without evidence it is very hard to encourage change. Thank you so much for sharing and participating!

 

Posted on: 28th February, 2019

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

Being a parent and raising children is exciting and rewarding, but it can be tough at times for any family. The amount, patterns and types of parental absence faced by Royal Navy and Royal Marines families present additional challenges that are not routinely experienced by most civilian families.

 

In response to feedback from families, the Naval Families Federation has produced a new resource about the experience of parental absence. The purpose of the resource is to draw together some useful information about parental absence and separation, and provide some strategies to help families thrive. If you are a parent, it may also be helpful to give a copy to your child’s school, or to other people in your network, to help them to understand your circumstances.

 

You can download a free copy here. Alternatively, Royal Navy and Royal Marines families, and those supporting them, please email us at contactus@nff.org.uk to request a hard copy. Regrettably, we are only able to send hard copies to our beneficiaries due to resource constraints.

 

Posted on: 6th February, 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

In December 2017, the Department of Health and the Department for Education released a Green Paper to consult on mental health provision for children and young people. It set out 3 key proposals for schools and the NHS to improve services.

 

The NFF released a formal response, following the publication of this Green paper. Our response highlighted the impacts of Naval Service have on children and young people’s mental wellbeing, and called for action in the Government’s future plans. To read a short summary of the Government’s proposals and our response, please click here.

 

Implementation

The consultation period lasted for 13 weeks from December 2017 to March 2018, and has received over 2,700 responses. The Government’s response to the consultation was published in late July 2018. The implementation began in early 2019 – 25 trailblazer areas across England to provide expert mental health support to almost half a million children and young people every year. 59 new Mental Health Support Teams are now undergoing training at seven universities nationwide, with plans to be operational by December 2019.

 

Each designated team will support up to 8,000 children and they are responsible for a cluster of around 20 schools and colleges each, to build on support already in place from different sectors (e.g. school counsellors, nurses). The teams are designated to help with treating mild and moderate mental health issues in school; a link to specialist NHS services will also be provided to those with more severe needs, to access the right support. Funding from the Department for Education is also in place to train senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, to work closely with the NHS teams.

 

The Current Trailblazer Areas

North

  • Doncaster CCG & Rotherham CCG
  • Liverpool CCG
  • Newcastle Gateshead CCG
  • Northumberland CCG
  • North Kirklees CCG & Greater Huddersfield CCG
  • South Tyneside CCG
  • Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership

 

Midlands & East

  • Herts Valley CCG & East and North Herts CCG
  • North Staffordshire CCG
  • Rushcliffe CCG and Nottingham North and East CCG
  • South Warwickshire CCG
  • Stoke on Trent CCG

 

South East

  • Buckinghamshire CCG
  • Berkshire West CCG
  • North Kent CCG grouping: Swale and Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCGs
  • Oxfordshire CCG

 

South West

  • Gloucestershire CCG
  • Swindon CCG

 

London

  • Bromley CCG
  • Camden CCG
  • Haringey CCG
  • Hounslow CCG
  • South West London HCP: Wandsworth and Sutton and Merton CCGs
  • Tower Hamlets CCG
  • West London CCG

 

 

Further Expansion

The trailblazer sites are made up of the NHS and key local stakeholders, including schools and colleges, local authorities and third sector organisations and will be rolled out to between one-fifth and one quarter of the country by 2023/24. Plans for further expansion of this service has also been set out in the NHS Long-Term Plan.

 

The NFF welcomes the introduction of the new services. Please do contact us if you would like to share your comments.

 

Posted on: 5th February, 2018
Last Updated on: 25th January, 2019