In 2019, the then Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Theresa May MP, commissioned The Rt. Hon. Mark Francois MP and his research team, to produce an independent report on improving Retention within the Armed Forces.
The review team gathered evidence to inform the study in a number of ways, including email consultations and visits to military bases. The NFF was delighted to host the team at HMS EXCELLENT to meet with Service personnel and spouses/partners at a forum during the consultation period.
The report, ‘Stick or Twist?’, which has been seen by the Prime Minister, is now available.
It produces 14 specific recommendations to help improve Retention in HM Armed
Forces. These include reviewing the degree of operational tempo, pay and allowances, childcare and
the maintenance of Service Family Accommodation. Examples below:
- It must be clearly acknowledged that the pressures on family/personal life remain the
single biggest driver for people to leave HM Armed Forces and it is realistically unlikely
that the problems of Retention can be ameliorated unless this challenge is faced head
on. This means the Department must look again at both its alert states and its high tempo
of recycling personnel in order to seek to achieve a more realistic work/life balance –
without compromising key operations. (recommendation 2)
- The cost and availability of childcare is now a material reason why Service personnel are
leaving the Armed Forces and Defence needs to think innovatively in order to provide
increased capacity in childcare, including “out of hours”, and also needs to ensure that this
is a cost which even junior ranks can realistically afford. (recommendation 5)
Commenting on the findings of the “Stick or Twist?” report, Mark Francois MP said:
“My team and I have worked for over a year to provide proposals to improve Retention. Some of these, such as extending the Forces Help to Buy Scheme and expanding Childcare for service personnel are thankfully already being actioned. We have made further proposals, including taking Service Family Accommodation (SFA) away from the failing Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and vesting it in a dedicated Forces Housing Association (FHA) instead. This new entity would be optimised to provide decent, affordable accommodation for service personnel and their families and would be run in their interests, not that of the MoD bureaucracy. However, there is always more to do, in order to persuade personnel to “Stick” rather than to “Twist” and dare I say it, Remain in HM Armed Forces”.
Click here to listen to an interview with our CEO’s reaction to the report from an episode of Sitrep via BFBS Radio (23rd July, 12:12 onwards). The Naval Families Federation (NFF) welcome your thoughts on the report, please do contact us.
Posted on: 22nd July, 2020
Last updated on: 14th August, 2020