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Overseas

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

Considering/ just received an overseas assignment? Here are some articles pulled from our Homeport magazine to provide you with more information:

Screenshot of Homeport article (Autumn 2020) - Polaris take over - but it's business as usual
Cyrpus & EJSU (Autumn 2020)
Homeport (Summer 20) article about SHAPE
SHAPE (Summer 2020)
Homeport article from Autumn 2020 - Working from Home - 600 miles away
Working from Home (Autumn 2020)
Homeport article on motor finance
Oiling the Wheels (Winter 2020)
Posted on: 10th November, 2020

 

When assigned overseas the International Hive information service (iHIVE) will provide Tri-Service support and up to date and relevant information for all oversea locations. Through researched information, overseas location guides will provide easy access to relevant information regarding the overseas location and include researched information on several key topics including health, education, welfare and local facilities plus details of the various policies that support those overseas. The guides, available to view or download via the web, also include useful contacts. The guides are developed to help personnel and their families understand more about locations overseas and can be used to decide if specific location are suitable for overseas assignment for the Serving person and their family. 

 

 

Posted on: 23rd October, 2020
Updated on: 21st January, 2021

Are you considering/ due to move overseas for an assignment?

 

Your future overseas admin unit/Embassy are responsible for providing you with all overseas information, such as housing, schooling and pertinent local information.  This will normally be in the form of a pack or you are given a sponsor to liaise with.

 

Below are some general information for your reference:

Accommodation

Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) will assign suitable housing for you and your family once an MOD e1132 (application to occupy Service Family Accommodation) has been completed.  

The Royal Navy has a Relocations Officer who will be able to provide you with the FamilOverseas Removals and Travel Pack.  Relocations is only responsible for removals and travel to your destination.   

 

  • Joint Service Publication (JSP)  

JSP64 – Tri-Service Accommodation Regulations Volume 1: Service Family Accommodation (SFA) and Substitute Service Family Accommodation – UK and Overseas 

 

  • Long Term Relationships (LTR) 

Overseas do not have surplus accommodation, therefore, long term relationships are not eligible to apply for SFA.  If you wish to accompany your partner on an overseas assignment you must be married.   

Overseas birth notification pilot launches

A birth notification pilot in Cyprus is enabling babies born to British Forces families, who are registered with Defence Medical Services, to be registered on the Birth Notification Application (BNA) by Primary Care Support England (PCSE). Babies will receive their NHS number at (or soon after) birth to enable immediate and ongoing care provision and aide secure information sharing between approved health and care organisations. Since March 2021,10 babies have already been registered on the BNA. With the aim of keeping babies and children safer and improving efficiencies, the pilot has been made possible through partnership working with military, charitable, NHS and public health bodies, including NHS Digital, Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Defence Public Health Unit, Defence Primary Healthcare, SSAFA and PCSE. It is anticipated that the pilot will be rolled out to other overseas bases in the future.

British Forces Post Office (BFPO)

All BFPO numbers have been allocated a shadow postcode e.g Naples = BFPO8/BF1 2AB 

Up to date information about BFPO can be found here on the Post Office website. Also, additional information can be found on the government’s website here. 

 

  • Shadow Postcodes 

Full list of current shadow postcodes can be found here. 

 

  • Smartphone apps 

You can find BFPO numbers, UK retailers who post products to BFPO addresses and calculate you postage costs by downloading the BFPO app for Apple and Android devices.  

 

  • BFPO/Brexit

BFPO customers in EU locations are advised that mail subject to recent delays is continuing to work its way through an extremely busy civil mail network system. BFPO have experienced an interruption with deliveries to, and UK return services from, Naples and Milan. BFPO customers in these locations are advised that parcel services and UK return services via the Naples Forces Post Office are temporarily suspended with immediate effect. Moreover, changes to UK and international law will affect how mail and parcels will be cleared in the future and these new laws, which are driven by aviation security and fiscal requirements, will be getting much stricter throughout 2021. You can find a BFPO service update here.

Childcare

In overseas locations, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) provides services (or access to services) that, so far as is reasonably practicable, conform in type, scope and standard to that required by legislation in England.  

 

Parents will have access to the following: 

  • In MOD nursery setting overseas parents with children aged 3 and 4 years old can access 15 or 30 hours free childcare (depending on eligibility).  30 hours free childcare applies when registering for the additional entitlement.   
  • Recently renamed to Overseas Nursery Authority (ONA), Parents of 3 and 4 year olds in overseas locations, where MOD schools and setting are not available, can apply for reimbursement of nursery fees  

 

Applications (from all three services) should be sent to armyres-armyhq-blb-mailbox@mod.gov.uk  

Education

The education provision for Service children overseas can be categorised as Ministry of Defence (MOD) Schools and Settings or non-MOD schools locations. Please click here for more information.

Employment

Employment criteria can differ from country to country.  Opportunities can be limited, especially in areas that are more isolated.  Job vacancies are posted on the Tri-Service platformForces Families Job, as well as opportunities to upskill. 

 

Further support:

Finance

Depending on your personal financial situation, you may find information within the following links useful when considering an overseas assignment.  

 

Local Overseas Allowance (LOA)

From 1 July 2021, the way in which the Armed Forces’ Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) is calculated will be changing. The changes will make the allowance more transparent, fairer to all Service personnel, and improve oversight. They do not impact eligibility or other allowances and are not a saving measure but designed to be cost neutral. Click here to find out more about the updates. We have received several enquiries on the new package and have put together a quick guide/FAQ here.

Where to find in country information
  • British Defence Staff US – www.bdsus.info  
  • British Forces Social Work Service (BFSWS) and Community Support Cyprus – www.forcessocialwork.com/cyprus 
  • British Forces South Atlantic Islands families’ handbookClick here
  • European Joint Support Units –  www.ejsu.net 
  • Tri-Service International Hive (iHIVE)  – nff.org.uk/ihive/
    • When assigned overseas the International Hive information service (iHIVE) will provide Tri-Service support and up to date and relevant information for all oversea locations.  Through researched information, overseas location guides will provide easy access to relevant information regarding the overseas location and include researched information on several key topics including health, education, welfare and local facilities plus details of the various policies that support those overseas.  The guides, available to view or download via the web, also include useful contacts.  The guides are developed to help personnel and their families understand more about locations overseas and can be used to decide if specific location are suitable for overseas assignment for the Serving person and their family.
Posted on: 22nd October, 2020

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

 

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

 

Employment
  • AnnMarie

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

 

  • Megan Green

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

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

Read her full interview here.

 

Training opportunity
  • Sarah

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

 

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

 

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