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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

 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Chancellor Rishi Sunak announce £200-million new government funding for the UK Armed Forces’ housing and accommodation.

 

Thousands of UK Armed Forces families across the UK will have their housing and accommodation improved and renovated thanks to nearly £200-million of new Government funding, announced last Friday (17th July) by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

On a joint visit to Catterick Garrison, the Ministers chatted to soldiers about the ways the improvements will help them. Over 5,000 personnel, plus their families will have homes modernised with new kitchens, bathrooms and furnishings including re-roofing to reduce the risk of mould and damp.

As part of the funding injection 3,500 service homes will be upgraded as well as single living quarters. This will improve life for UK Armed Forces personnel deployed at home and abroad to keep the nation safe, including in the fight to halt the spread of COVID-19.

The work will also make UK Armed Forces estates more environmentally friendly. New windows and doors will provide better insulation, energy efficient boilers will drive down bills, and solar panels and electric vehicle charging points will reduce the carbon footprint.

Families with young children will benefit from new play areas, roads will be resurfaced and energy efficient street lighting will help modernise sites as part of the funding.

The Defence Secretary invited the Chancellor to Catterick Garrison last week, which will benefit from investment in Service Family Accommodation, to announce the news.

 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“Our Armed Forces work incredibly hard to keep our nation safe, and so it is only right that they have a place they feel proud to call home.

“From introducing a generous Forces Help to Buy scheme to piloting a new rented accommodation model, we have made enormous steps in recent years to offer flexible housing for a modern workforce.

“This latest investment will benefit thousands of our personnel and their families, providing the standard of living they deserve.”

 

Improving accommodation and facilities across military estates will also be part of bold new plans, including replacing 30 WW2 accommodation blocks in Longmoor, Pirbright, Westdown, Knook, Nesscliffe, Castlemartin Camps and providing new accommodation for on-call personnel in Northern Ireland.

 

The investment is expected to sustain around 2,000 jobs through the work on housing improvements including plumbers, electricians, painters and decorators. This will be delivered through the existing National Housing Prime contract. Upgrades will begin in late summer and will be delivered over a period of two years.

 

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:

“Day in, day out, our Armed Forces make huge personal sacrifices for our country, and it is our duty to ensure they have the best conditions possible.

“This news doesn’t just mean service homes across the country will be upgraded, but will see 2,000 jobs in sectors where they are needed the most, like plumbing and decorating – delivering our Plan for Jobs.”

 

CEO Naval Families Federation, Anna Wright said:

“Having a decent standard of accommodation is fundamental to serving personnel and their families feeling valued by the nation for their work and the sacrifices they make and this is something we have campaigned for, for some time. That funding of £200M has been secured is hugely welcome.”

 

Over the last four years £530-million has been invested in improvements to Service Family Accommodation. The additional £200-million funding package will continue to improve the standard of both homes for Service families and single living accommodation on military bases.

Improvements to accommodation sit alongside a suite of recent changes to military accommodation to make it more accessible and flexible for personnel and their families.

The MOD recently introduced new flexible working arrangements, expanded offerings to cohabiting couples and extended the Forces Help to Buy scheme until the end of 2022, giving our UK Armed Forces the chance to get a foot on the housing ladder. This has allowed military personnel to borrow a deposit of up to half of their annual salary, interest free, to contribute towards buying a home, moving house, or building an extension.

This follows the announcement last week that military children will be entitled to free breakfast and after-school childcare as part of ongoing measures to further support the UK Armed Forces and their loved ones.

 

Funding details - infographic

 

 

Posted on: 20th July, 2020
Updated on: 1st October, 2020

It was announced in 2019 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 Service Family Accommodation (SFA) at all UK bases where properties are available. Before that, only married couples, those in civil partnerships and those with legally dependent children could live in SFA.

 

Service personnel wishing to cohabit in surplus SFA in the UK will still be required to comply with Para 0301 of JSP 464, Vol 1, Part 1 as follows:

  • Be aged 18 or over;
  • Have completed Phase 1 training;
  • Be serving on a regular engagement in the UK Armed Forces or be a Full Commitment Reservist as defined in single-Service regulations.

 

Please note that this is NOT part of Future Accommodation Model (FAM), but rather a new policy. This is not an entitlement to SFA – if there is no surplus SFA at your place of work (50 miles within your assignment location), you will not be able to take advantage of this new policy.

For more details, please refer to 2020DIN01-014 (available via Dii).
Posted on: 19th September, 2019
Updated on: 28th January, 2020

 

In November 2018 there were approximately 11,000 empty Service Family Accommodation (SFA) properties across the Defence Estate. This resulted in high rent and maintenance across to the Department. To address this Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) Chief Executive, Graham Dalton, committed to an accelerated reduction in the number of empty properties to c5,000 by Autumn 2021. This number (10% of the overall SFA portfolio in the UK) is required to manage the annual churn of between 15,000 – 18,000 Service house moves. Unlike social housing providers, the MOD does not have ‘waiting lists’ for SFA, we need to provide the certainty of an address ahead of Service personnel and their family moving to a new assignment location.

 

Air Commodore Wendy Rothery, Head of Regional Delivery Accommodation said: “Actively reducing the SFA void levels to an appropriate management margin of 10%, enables the MOD to invest limited funds on improving the standard and condition of homes for Service personnel and their families, rather than maintaining properties for which there is no long-term requirement”.

 

The number of empty properties has been allowed to increase over recent years due to a number of reasons:

 

  • DIO have held onto properties in anticipation of returning Service personnel and their families from Germany
  • There is some uncertainty over housing requirements arising from wider Defence programmes, such as Defence Estates Optimisation Programme (DEOP)
  • DIO knew of proposed changes to accommodation policy which would increase eligibility to SFA
  • DIO chose to prioritise limited funding on improving the condition and quality of homes, rather than paying dilapidation and disposals costs for those properties with no long-term requirement.

 

To reduce the number of empty properties in a coherent and phased way, while saving the Department money, DIO have implemented the Void Reduction Plan. Its key components are:

 

  • Continuing the short-term sub-letting of empty properties to the general public. 1,400 properties have already been sub-let across 50 sites generating £15M in rental income. The programme helps the short-term alleviation of the UK’s housing shortage, while allowing the Department to bring properties back should the need arise
  • Handing back an average of 500 properties per year for 7 years to Annington Homes (we lease 38,000 SFA from them in England and Wales)
  • Demolishing 400 properties in Northern Ireland as part of the Good Friday Agreement. These properties are unable to be used by other institutions
  • Housing c750 Services families who returned from Germany last summer
  • Meeting the new eligibility demand from cohabitating couples with more than 250 applicants already housed since April 2109 and a further 100 waiting to move-in.

 

With these steps, and assuming current demand levels are maintained, the number of empty properties will reduce to around 8,500 by March 2020 and 6,000 by March 2021.

 

Posted on: 29th October, 2019

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

** Update: This survey is now closed. Please see the results here. We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has contributed to the survey.**

 

The Ministry of Defence is in the process of reviewing the provision of military housing from initial application through to the complaints process, including the future repair and maintenance contract, currently held by Amey. Please complete (and share) this Housing Survey to allow the NFF to use your views and feedback to influence the outcome of decisions made.

 

Naval Families Federation CEO Anna Wright said:

“Royal Navy and Royal Marines families provided evidence in relation to the Carillion Amey Service Family Accommodation (SFA) maintenance contract, which the Naval Families Federation presented to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee in 2016.  Members of the Committee recognised the importance of feedback from Armed Forces families. Please take up this invitation to have your voice heard on this important subject.”

 

This survey will run until midnight 30th November 2018 and takes 10-15 minutes to complete.

 

Please note this survey is for the new SFA maintenance contract and is not part of the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) project. Information on FAM can be found here.

 

Posted on: 7th November, 2018
Updated on: 17th January, 2019

The Ministry of Defence has produced a guide to expenses and allowances for Serving personnel and the support families could receive.

 

This booklet, accessible here, holds a wealth of information to help both regular and reserve members of all three Services to better understand some of the most common expenses, allowances and other provisions that are available.

 

Introducing the categories of entitlements, explaining the common terminologies, and the claiming process, it can also signpost you to the correct departments and appropriate chapters in JSP 752 (primary authority). You can also find a FAQ in form of scenarios that are most commonly experienced by our Serving people.

 

Please note that this document is for guidance only, do always refer to JSP 752 and contact your Unit HRs.

 

Posted on: 19th September, 2018

The Future Accommodation Model (FAM) survey results have now been published. These will be used as part of the on-going policy development for the FAM, which will combine the survey with other results (e.g. the single Service Families Federations’ surveys) and Focus Group findings to refine the accommodation offer based on your feedback.

 

A Tri-Service FAM pilot scheme will be carried out in several locations throughout the UK. This was due to start in December 2018 but will now take place in 2019. Ministers are expected to confirm locations and start dates next year. The scheme is planned to run for two years and there will be a consultation period on completion of this. FAM is expected to be gradually introduced once the consultation period is complete.

 

To read the report in full please click here.

 

In addition, thank you to everyone who took part in our Future of Accommodation Model survey.

 

Here are the headlines of our findings from the Naval community.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Last updated on: 25th October, 2018

There are houses or flats available to personnel who need temporary accommodation for short periods of time, either for themselves or their family. To find Contact Housing in your area, please visit the RN FPS website.

 

Short Term Family Accommodation (STFA)

Short Term Family Accommodation is a group of Service Family Accommodation properties which have been set aside for use as temporary self-catering accommodation primarily for welfare reasons.

The Scheme is aimed at enabling Service personnel to utilise these facilities for both themselves and visiting friends or family members with priority always given to welfare/compassionate cases.

Service personnel, Veterans, MOD civilians and their families can expect fully equipped Service Family Accommodation with everything they need, from duvets and linen, to TV/DVD players and cooking facilities. Properties are available for a minimum stay of two nights to a maximum stay of six months.

For further information, please click here.

 

Cotswold Centre

The Services Cotswold Centre provides secure and affordable temporary housing for serving personnel and their families from all three services.

The Centre is primarily open to those that are:

  • subject of emergency evacuation from overseas;
  • in transit between postings or retiring;
  • with welfare housing issues.

The accommodation is located near Corsham, Wiltshire. It can provide accommodation for up to six months. It comprises of 60 self-contained homes.

The three bedroom chalets and converted flatlets are all self catering. They are fully furnished and include a TV, fridge/freezer, crockery, bedding and towels. On-site facilities include a primary school.

Families may be accommodated if they are:

  • a Service person and/or their spouse/civil partner, whether or not they are accompanied by children or any other authorised immediate family members;
  • estranged families/spouses/civil partners of personnel who are able to cover the costs of their accommodation and living expenses;
  • injured personnel, their carers and/or immediate family members, where authorised by the Officer Commanding of the Centre and welfare providers – for the purposes of recuperation during rehabilitation.

This may include those in receipt of a Family Maintenance Grant. Families in UK SFA will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances – with authority from the single Service Housing Colonels.

Where a requirement falls outside of this eligibility, the parent Unit should seek advice from the Officer Commanding of the Centre.

Personnel should see 2015DIN01-029 on the Defence Intranet for further details, including the full eligibility criteria and the priority order for housing people in the Centre.

 

Navy Mews

The plan to take a tired and unused office space and re-purpose it into bespoke, self-contained units has been through many phases and challenges. However, as the New Year started, the official opening of the Royal Navy’s three new single parent units in Dreadnaught Block, HMS Nelson, turned plans into reality.

The aim behind the project is to give single serving parents the ideal environment to spend time and build relationships with their children when not away on deployment.

For some time a solution has been sought to address the challenges of finding a safe and comfortable place for personnel to use, and the Royal Navy hopes this will prove to be a huge step in helping separated families.

Commander Martin Evans, the Naval Base Executive Officer, explained:

“We identified a need back in 2010. If a Service person is the primary care-giver in a child’s life, the MOD will always provide a permanent home, however, separated single parents often struggle to retain quality contact because of a combination of the constraints imposed by Service life, the costs involved and significantly, the lack of an accessible home from home facility. We wanted to provide somewhere where these parents can have a semblance of normality, where they can eat together, play together and bond in a home environment – rather than a hotel and a weekend of fast food.

The project is a great example of collaborative working. RNRMC took on the mantle of securing the funding needed to deliver the project, successfully bidding for and raising the £250,000 required. This was just the tip of the iceberg in a project of this size and ambition. RNRMC’s Director of Relationships and Funding, Mandy Lindley said, “I am really delighted to see this project materialize. The close cooperative working with the Chain of Command and the Accommodation Officer, Sara Williams, has delivered, despite the many challenges that presented themselves as we progressed this plan. I have been involved with this project since arriving with RNRMC some 18 months ago and have seen the highs and the lows, and witnessed the sheer determination and innovation needed to ensure that this truly valuable resource could be made available for families.”

The three apartments each have a theme: ‘Poppy’ which has been adapted for any visitors who may need easier access or who have additional needs: ‘Shabby Chic’; and ‘Beach’. The finishing touches for each of the themed ‘Mews’ have been supplied via an innovative scheme which has involved the creative work of the wives and partners who attend ‘Friends at No 10’ (a Community House for Armed Forces families living in Portsmouth). Working with the Portsmouth based ‘Company of Makers’, the group from ‘Friends at No 10′ have created bespoke throws and cushions for the flats. Volunteers who attend the Friday sewing class, crafted unique, soft furnishings to help visitors feel welcome and at home.

Additional collaboration has come in the form of many generous donation from a number of sources, particularly from within the Service families’ community. Each room benefits from donated toys, games and books, providing the perfect environment for relationships to flourish.

To book Navy Mews, please call 02392 725 093 or email: NAVYNBCP-NAVYMEWS@mod.gov.uk 

 

Stepping Stones

SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) have two Stepping Stones Homes in North West London and in Tyne & Wear. The Homes offer temporary supported accommodation to women with a Service connection (with or without children), who are in need of a secure environment and emergency accommodation. Applications should be made through the Welfare Authorities or Families Officers to SSAFA. More information can be found on the SSAFA website.

 

Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO)

The Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) website has information for those who need re-housing. There is information on homelessness, Council housing, and affordable housing schemes etc. You can also get information on JSHAO’s regular housing briefings and their Housing Matters Magazine. Click here to visit their website.

 

Contact Houses/Welcome Houses

Contact Houses or Welcome Houses are the houses or flats on an estate, which are available to personnel who need temporary accommodation for short periods of time, either for themselves or their family. To find Contact Housing in your area, please visit the RN FPS website.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 2nd December, 2019

When living in Service Family Accommodation (SFA), you will need to insure your home.

 

Standard home liability insurance does not cover Service family accommodation (SFA).

 

The Ministry of Defence recommends (JSP 464, Volume 1, Part 1, Section I, Paragraph 0605) that you take out a specialist type of insurance that covers your liability, up to £20,000, for any damage you or your family may do to your Service family accommodation. This is called ‘Licence to Occupy’ insurance.

 

The Services Insurance and Investment Advisory Panel (SIIAP) provides details of insurance providers who can ensure that you have the necessary ‘Licence to Occupy’ cover.

 

You may also wish to take out home contents insurance.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018