The Future of Accommodation (FAM)
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is looking at how it can improve the accommodation offer for service personnel, to make it fairer, and more flexible, whilst keeping it affordable for the MOD.
In October 2017, the MOD decided to pilot a new way of providing living accommodation to personnel and their families. In particular, the pilot will test:
- personnel being supported to rent a home in the private market, alongside existing options of Single Living Accommodation (SLA) and Service Family Accommodation (SFA);
- a widened entitlement beyond those who are married or in civil partnerships, because not all families follow the traditional model.
To summarise the latest decisions made, the MOD produced a short video below and a FAM news sheet.
The Future Accommodation Model (FAM) will apply to personnel with families and those without, whether they are single, in a relationship or married. It will apply to all regular service personnel and eligible reserves.
Why might accommodation change?
The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) committed the MOD to make a new accommodation offer, to help more personnel live in private accommodation and meet their aspirations for home ownership. The current accommodation system was developed many years ago and we know it works well for some people.
However, there are a number of reasons why they think it needs to change:
The current accommodation model does not support how all Service personnel want to live, forcing some Service personnel to opt out of subsidised accommodation and some personnel to compromise on family life.
The current accommodation system has large overheads and an increasing need for repairs. It is also inefficient, as large numbers of houses have to be kept empty to allow personnel to move around.
The current model only gives a limited level of choice (and only for those who are married or in a civil partnership). By increasing the accommodation options available, FAM aims to support more choice for personnel.
Future Accommodation Model aims
The Future Accommodation Model (FAM) is under development right now. Whilst the detail hasn’t been agreed yet, we can tell you the aims that the MOD working towards in developing the new policy:
- the total amount of subsidy Service personnel receive for accommodation will not be cut (but changes to entitlement mean that individuals may receive more or less, depending on their need);
- they are looking at providing Service personnel with a level of accommodation subsidy according to need, not based on rank or marriage;
- FAM will continue to support you to remain mobile, but also aims to support those who want greater stability for themselves and/or their families;
- as well as financial support, MOD will provide you with other support (for example; training) to enable personnel to live and work where the MOD requires them to;
- whether you’re in SFA or rent near work, you will not be expected to pay more for the home you need if you are assigned to a more expensive location, the MOD will pick up the extra cost.
The 2017 budget announced in November 2017 included a measure that will make any allowances paid under FAM tax free. This will mean that the total tax paid by personnel in SFA and personnel using FAM allowances will be the same. Find out more here.
We will announce further information as soon as it’s confirmed from the MOD. We expect to have a decision on pilot locations soon.
When will this happen?
The Future Accommodation Model (FAM) is a complex project, it will take until late 2018 to understand what FAM will look like and make all the key decisions. A pilot of FAM will be launched in December 2018. The pilot will operate at a few selected sites and will test parts of the new FAM policy. The pilot is expected to run for a few years to enable us to learn and refine the policy before launch. FAM is expected to roll out to the majority of bases in the 2020’s and 2030’s.
Edit: The pilot of the Future Accommodation Model 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.
Representing YOUR views
It is vital that Royal Navy and Royal Marines families’ views are heard by those making decisions regarding FAM. We asked you what you thought via our survey in 2017. Thousands of you responded and the evidence that we were able to collate and put forward in our FAM Report was gratefully received by the MOD. You can read the report in full here.
If you missed the opportunity to take our survey, please phone us on 023 92 654374 or email email@example.com so that we can speak up on your behalf and ensure that YOUR views are heard during this ongoing consultation period.