|Breaking News from NFF|
HASC Notification: Update
The problem with the power supply in the Barnham Camp area has been resolved and the HASC at Thetford is fully operational again. The HASC apologises for any inconvenience caused.
HMS ILLUSTRIOUS in the Philippines
Sending Christmas Cheer
TV presenter Lorraine Kelly and Father Christmas joined Service personnel to launch the uk4u Thanks! Christmas Box campaign. The charity is sending more than 18,500 Christmas boxes full of festive cheer to Service personnel across the world, who are hard at work away from their loved ones. Click here for details, including a video.
Scottish Independence Referendum: Guidance for Personnel Wishing to Vote
The referendum on Scottish independence will be held on 18 September 2014. Click here for guidance about electoral registration and voting. In broad terms, the key factor determining whether Service personnel can vote is whether they are registered to vote in Scotland. It does not depend on origins, a sense of identity, or association with a unit traditionally regarded as Scottish.
Transition to a Single Warrant Officer Rate
From April 2014, the Royal Navy (with the exception of the Royal Marines) will start the transition to a single Warrant Officer (WO) rate. This means that the current WO1 rate will become the only WO rate at the end of the transition. Existing WO2s will remain eligible for promotion to WO1 and continue to function in their roles as WO2 until selected for promotion, they reach their retirement age, or apply for release. Click here for details.
Standard Learning Credits Scheme: Extended to Reserve Personnel
The “Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued” White Paper made a commitment to allow certain Reserve personnel to claim Standard Learning Credits from 1 April 2014. Extending the scheme will encourage Reservists to enhance their educational and vocational achievements to the mutual benefit of Defence, the individual and their employer. Click here for details.
Christmas Events Near You
There are lots of family events taking place in the lead up to Christmas, in communities up and down the country. Click here to view the Royal Navy events calendar; events are being added daily.
Members of the public are being asked to show their support for our troops through Service charities at Christmas, rather than overloading the British Forces Post Office with unsolicited mail to Afghanistan. Click here for details.
Last Posting Dates for Christmas
Click here for guidance on posting letters, worldwide parcels, letters to Santa Claus, and mail to BFPO addresses.
Mail to HMS ILLUSTRIOUS
There is a free mail service running for HMS ILLUSTRIOUS whilst it is on Operations in the Philippians. Mail should be addressed to ‘OP PATWIN, BFPO 305’. Click here for guidance on addressing mail.
Record a Christmas Message: Portsmouth
BFBS will then head to the Victory Club at HMS Nelson, Portsmouth, for the event for HMS ILLUSTRIOUS families. Any HMS ILLUSTRIOUS families not attending this event are welcome to go to the Cockleshell to record a message. If you are attending the HMS ILLUSTRIOUS event, you need to call the Gosport Community Resource Team on: 023 9254 5900 to provide travel details.
HASC Christmas Closures
New Twitter Service for Family Accommodation
A new Twitter hashtag has been set up for Service Family Accommodation (SFA) residents. Those with Twitter accounts can search for #MODSFA for the latest news and information about SFA, as well as handy hints and tips and useful reminders. This is an extension to the DIO Twitter account launched earlier this year.
New Winter Homeport: Out Now
Revised Terms of Service on the Introduction of Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2015: Naval Service Offer to Extend Career/Commission
Click here for an update on the Future Armed Forces Pension Scheme; the AFPS 15. Some personnel serving on certain commissions and engagements may not complete the length of Service necessary to achieve the new Early Departure Payment (EDP) point being introduced.
Work has been undertaken on changes to commissions/engagements with the aim that all those affected can be offered an extension of career to allow them to reach the new EDP point. The message from the Chief of Naval Personnel and Training and Second Sea Lord explains how this offer will be made.
Have you Registered your Child for the Service Pupil Premium?
Service personnel with children in State Schools in England have until 16 January 2014 to notify schools of their children’s eligibility for the Service Pupil Premium. The Premium is part of the Armed Forces Covenant; it provides extra funding to help schools support the unique challenges children with parents in the Armed Forces can often face. The Premium is currently £300 per Service child. Click here for details (scroll down to the information on the Service Pupil Premium).
HASC Temporary Telephone Line Closures: November/December
Results: Armed Forces Families Underemployment and Overseas Employment Survey
In July and August 2013, the Families Federations, in collaboration with the MOD, ran an online survey of the partners of Service personnel. The survey focused on UK and overseas employment and underemployment i.e. taking jobs that do not fully utilise existing skills and experience. Thank you to those who took the time to respond to the survey. We are keen to now let you know the highlights of the results and what we are going to do with the feedback. Click here for details.
DIO Home Front Newsletter
Click here to read the latest edition of the Home front newsletter, produced for those living in Service Family Accommodation. It is published by the accommodation providers, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), each edition contains useful information and updates.
Military Spouse Recruitment Agency Wins Prime Minister's Big Society Award
New Employment Model: Second Phase of Consultation with Service Personnel
A second phase of consultation with Service personnel on the New Employment Model (NEM) has launched. A targeted survey will be issued to 16,000 pre-selected personnel, made up of a representative sample of Officers and Other Ranks across the three Services. E-mails with a link to the survey will be issued during the week commencing 11 November; hard copies will arrive during the week commencing 18 November. Click here for details.
Beware ‘Pension Liberators’
There are companies in Civvy Street, known as Pension Liberators, which operate schemes promising to release pension and lump sum benefits early. Some unscrupulous ones prey on unsuspecting individuals, using persuasive arguments and the promise of ready cash. Lieutenant Commander David Marsh, Pensions Secretary of the Forces Pension Society, takes a look at the legality of such schemes, together with the cost of making the decision to take the money and run. Click here to read the article.
Community Covenant Grant Scheme: Opportunities for Funding for Local Projects
Poppy Appeal Single
Celebrating 10 Years of Supporting Naval Service Families
The evening reception was attended by more than 200 families, personnel and stakeholders, including the newly appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, Anna Soubry MP.
New Powers to Test for Drugs and Alcohol Introduced
New powers have been introduced to test Service personnel for alcohol or drugs should a Commanding Officer have reasonable cause to believe that a person under their command is unfit to undertake safety-critical duties. These new powers are based broadly on the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003, which allows testing for alcohol and drugs in the civilian maritime and aviation industries, but which does not cover the range of safety-critical duties undertaken by the Armed Forces. Personnel should see 2013DIN01-212 on the Defence Intranet for full details.
Prime Minister Launches Armed Forces Corporate Covenant
The Prime Minister has formally launched (29 October 2013) the new Armed Forces Corporate Covenant - a voluntary pledge from organisations who wish to demonstrate their concrete support for the Armed Forces community. The NFF attended the launch at 10 Downing Street and spoke directly to the Prime Minster and senior personnel. Click here for details.
Prime Minister Announces £9.2 Million of Funds Awarded to Armed Forces Charities
The Heroes Storybook
The Heroes Storybook is a unique and uplifting theatrical entertainment for the whole family that reminds you there is a hero inside all of us. The play is the work of a group of young performers from Armed Forces families. Performances are taking place during December in Portsmouth, Bordon, Odiham and Aldershot. You can buy tickets at: www.theheroesstorybook.co.uk There is a reduced rate for Service personnel: £5 per person. The project has been funded by the Community Covenant and is raising funds for Help For Heroes.
RBLI Secures £250,000 Grant to Help Families Find Employment
RBLI has been awarded £250,000 from the Armed Forces Covenant LIBOR Fund to help military families find and secure sustainable employment. Click here for details.
Your Views Wanted: Review of Transition
A review is asking former Service personnel and their families what more could be done to improve the transition to civilian life for those leaving the Armed Forces. The review will also consult with Local Authorities and Government etc. Where necessary, it will make policy recommendations to Government. Click here for details.
RBL’s Campaign Commemorates 100 Years Since World War I
The Flanders poppy seeds will be sold in all B&Q stores between 23 October 2013 - July 2014. Packets will cost £2, with £1 being donated to the RBL. The campaign was launched by three Armed Forces Veterans, who all now work in B&Q. Click here for details.
Mental Health App Now Available for Android Users
A successful mental health support ‘app’ has been released on Android devices for Armed Forces personnel wherever they are across the world. The 'Joining Forces' mobile application has been available on Apple devices for several months and is now available for Android users. The app provides tailored information about 11 mental health problems, including anxiety, post-traumatic stress and depression, as well as highlighting where to access help. Click here for details.
Welsh Government to Assist Service Leavers Renting Housing Association Properties
The Welsh Government has been working with representatives from the UK Armed Forces to offer assistance to Service leavers who wish to rent Housing Association properties. The Welsh Government will allocate £2M of funding to buy one, two and three bed properties for Service leavers and veterans to rent. Applications are being sought NOW from personnel who are leaving the Services in the next year. Click here for details.
Rebalancing the Armed Forces Allowances Package
Allowance changes implemented in 2012 to deliver Strategic Defence and Security Review savings have had a greater impact on personnel and families than intended; as a result it has been decided to rebalance the allowance package. From December 2013 three allowances will be enhanced: Disturbance Allowance, Service Children’s Visit entitlement and Local Overseas Allowance for dependents in post-secondary education. To compensate for these changes the Get You Home (Travel) (Private Maintained Property) and Exercise or Field Conditions Rate of Local Overseas Allowances will be reduced. Click here for details.
The Secretary of State has announced a new £200m scheme to help Service personnel who want to buy their first home. From April 2014 ‘Forces Help to Buy’ will be trialled for 3 years. It will offer Regular personnel loans of up to 50% of their salary, capped at £25,000, interest-free and repayable over a 10-year period.
Employers Reservist Challenge
Charities' Employment Support for Armed Forces
Charges for Damages to Service Family Accommodation: New Process
When Service personnel move out of UK Service Family Accommodation or Substitute Service Family Accommodation, charges may be payable for damages or deficiencies that are not classed as fair wear and tear, or because customers have failed to prepare the property to the correct standard. From 1 October 2013, a process for taking charges direct from pay will be introduced; the new process will apply to serving personnel only. Click here for guidance on how the process works, including the dispute resolution process.
Tickets For Troops
Visit www.ticketsfortroops.org.uk to see the latest FREE tickets up for grabs from Tickets For Troops. There are tickets for top music, sport and cultural events throughout the country.
Armed Forces Covenant: Latest News
Click here to read an update from the Armed Forces Covenant Team. It looks at the progress of the Community Covenant and introduces the new Corporate Covenant. There are also details on the Armed Forces Covenant LIBOR Fund; looking at recently funded projects and highlighting that applications for the third round of funding are now being invited.
Powers of Attorney: Overview
As a member of the Armed Forces there is a requirement for personnel to deploy, often in challenging circumstances for prolonged periods of time. While it is a difficult conversation to have, much can be done in advance of a deployment to assist your family should an accident occur, and these preparations bring equal benefit should something untoward occur nearer to home as well.
The Bedroom Tax Explained
There are a huge number of benefit changes occurring in 2013. One that’s caused a lot of controversy is the change to Housing Benefit, often called the Bedroom Tax. Click here for details.
Free Relationship Education Courses
The unique demands of Service life have a considerable impact on the relationships of Service personnel. Naval Service Chaplains run a range of relationship courses. Two free relationship courses are being offered by The William Wilberforce Trust: ‘The Marriage Preparation Course’ and ‘The Marriage Course’. Click here for further information.
TV Licence: Have You Got One?
Click here for guidance on TV licences, including instances where you may be entitled to a refund. In MOD accommodation, anyone who watches or records television programmes as they’re being shown on TV, on any device, must be covered by a TV Licence.
Navy Command Integrated Change Programme
Voting Overseas: Good News!
A Parliamentary Bill has been passed which will make it easier for Service personnel and families living overseas to vote in elections. Click here for details.
New Employment Model: Myth Buster
The New Employment Model (NEM) programme is the most thorough review of Service personnel Terms and Conditions of Service in a generation. It covers four broad areas of policy: Terms of Service; Accommodation; Training and Education; and Value and Reward. Click here to read an article from the MOD which aims to address some of the commonly repeated misconceptions about some of the changes or perceived problems that the NEM will bring about.
Notifications for Service Family Accommodation Occupants
SFA: National Housing Contract
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is in the final stages of securing the National Housing Prime (NHP) contract, which will replace existing maintenance contracts for Service Family Accommodation (SFA) in the UK, and may potentially move some services currently provided in-house to the new contractor. Click here for details.
New Mental Health Support App for Service Personnel
A new iPhone app has been launched to provide Armed Forces personnel with support and information. The app, called Joining Forces, is available to personnel all over the world and provides tailored information on 11 mental health problems including anxiety, post-traumatic stress and depression, as well as highlighting where to access help. Click here for further details.
Term-Time Holidays and Post Operational Tour Leave
Personnel who left the Royal Navy or Royal Marines when they were members of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) 75, and subsequently rejoined as members of AFPS 05 (i.e. re-joined on or after 6 April 2005), are not entitled to add together both periods of Service to qualify for an AFPS 05 Early Departure Payment. If this effects you please report to your UPO or Unit Admin staff immediately (before 10 September). Click here for details.
British Forces Postal Office (BFPO) Service Will Remain Free
HMRC and the MOD have been working together on a number of areas of compliance with tax regulations, one of which has been laundry tax. HMRC has agreed that there should be an entitlement to tax relief for laundry expenses for Other Ranks/Ratings. Click here for details.
Supporting Geographically Dispersed Families & Families of Wounded, Injured or Sick Personnel
Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey: 2013 Report
The Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey (AFCAS) 2013 report has been published. The AFCAS is used to understand a wide spectrum of personnel issues; it informs decision makers where the serving population reports satisfaction or discontent, which helps them to shape and improve policies. Click here for the key findings and a link to the full report.
End of Term Message
Report: The Armed Forces Covenant in Action? Educating the Children of Service Personnel
The Defence Committee has published their third report on The Armed Forces Covenant in Action. Part 3 focuses on Educating the Children of Service Personnel. Click here for details.
New Service Families Accommodation Welcome Packs
Report: Armed Forces Covenant in Action? Education of Service Personnel
The inquiry focuses on what happens to new recruits in the early stages of their careers, and how education and training allow personnel to obtain civilian qualifications useful in their post-Service careers. Click here to read the report’s conclusions and recommendations.
Implementation of the Armed Forces Covenant in Northern Ireland
General Sir Nicholas Houghton GCB CBE ADC GEN has taken over as the new Chief of the Defence Staff, and has written a message to Defence Personnel. Click here to read the letter.
New Regulations for Commonwealth Recruits to the Naval Service
Changes have been made to the residency rules for Commonwealth recruits into the Royal Navy. The changes do not, in any way, affect Commonwealth personnel already serving in the Naval Service. Click here for details.
Introduction of the HERRICK Drawdown Allowance
The Defence Secretary has announced that the pattern of Brigade rotations for Op HERRICK will change from October. As a result, some Service personnel will be required to serve extended tours in Afghanistan, of up to 8 and potentially 9 months. A new HERRICK Drawdown Allowance is being introduced for affected personnel. Click here for details.
New Immigration Rules for Armed Forces Families
New measures have been announced to ensure that Armed Forces personnel are not disadvantaged by immigration rules and their family members can integrate into society. The changes align immigration rules for Armed Forces families with the wider family migration policy introduced last summer. Following a Home Office and Ministry of Defence review the Government has announced that the Armed Forces community is protected from the wider changes until 1 December 2013. Click here for details.
The Defence Secretary has published the White Paper ‘Reserves in the Future Force: Valuable and Valued’, which sets out the plans to sustain and grow our Reserve Forces. Fundamental to this is improving the offer to Reservists, their families and their employers.
Financial Boost to Support Service Families and Veterans
Businesses Sign the New Corporate Covenant
For the first time ever, businesses and charities, both small and large, will have the opportunity to sign an official written commitment that they will help improve the lives of Armed Forces personnel, their families and veterans who are working for them or using their services. Click for details.
Report on the Work of the Armed Forces Service Complaints Commissioner
Click here to read the latest report from the Defence Select Committee on the work of the Service Complaints Commissioner (SCC).
A familiar and much loved part of Wardroom life is the Naval Toasts; there is a different toast for each day of the week. In a move to a more inclusive Navy, two of the toasts have been updated. Click here for details.
Notification of Army Personnel Selected for Tranche 3 of the Redundancy Programme
On 18 June 2013, Army Personnel were being notified if they had been selected for redundancy in the third tranche of the Armed Forces Redundancy Programme. The Army notified approximately 4,480 personnel, for 84% of them their selection was a result of having applied for redundancy. There is likely to be a need for one more tranche of redundancies for the Army, and there may be a requirement for a small number of redundancies for medical personnel from the RAF and Royal Navy, as the outcome of the Defence Medical Services 20 (DMS20) project is implemented. Click here for details.
Troops to Teachers
New Careers Service Launched for Injured Personnel
MOD Contract Rules Changes Could Save the Taxpayer Millions
Money Saving Phone App
A new app, from the Defence Discount Service, is set to help the Defence community save cash. Whether it’s cheap cinema trips, a bargain outfit or the latest deals on laptops, the app allows users to get the most up-to-date savings. Click here for details.
Revised Pension Calculator NOW AVAILABLE & an Update on the Future Armed Forces Pension Scheme
The new pension calculator is now available. It is a useful tool that allows you to see the benefits you will accrue under the new Armed Forces Pension Scheme 15 (AFPS15). Click here for details, including some useful You Tube videos, and to read a message from the Chief of Naval Personnel & Training and Second Sea Lord, which provides an update on pensions, focusing on the new Early Departure Payment (EDP) point.
New Online Update Service for CRB Checks
Waiting for criminal record (CRB) checks can cause Service spouses/partners, who move frequently, delays when seeking employment in a new area. From 17 June 2013, a new online Update Service will be introduced for these checks. Please note that CRB checks are now called Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. Click here for details.
What’s on Near You?
Improved Flexibility with Overseas Travel Allowances
Earlier this year, amendments were made to the tri-Service policy on overseas allowances, which benefit families living overseas. The amendments help harmonise and widen eligibility for the following allowances: Get You Home (Overseas), School Children's Visits, and Concessionary Travel for Families. Click here for details.
Introduction of the Naval Nanny Service
Your Award Winning Team
We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded the Chief of Naval Personnel & Training and Second Sea Lord’s Commendation.
This prestigious award acknowledges our achievements and our commitment to support families.
We are over the moon and hope that the endorsement will strengthen our position as we continue to take families’ concerns forward to policy makers.
Photo (CROWN COPYRIGHT): Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral David Steel CBE, and Naval Secretary, Rear Admiral Woodcock OBE, with recipients of their Commendations pose on the steps of Admiralty House after the awards ceremony.
First Sea Lord’s Intent
Click here to read a message from the new First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas KCB DSC FRAeS ADC. The message outlines his vision for the Naval Service in the future as it develops to achieve its strategic aims.
The New Operating Model for Defence
Joint Forces Command Becomes Fully Operational
NFF Awarded Funding from LIBOR Fines
The NFF is delighted to announce that we have been awarded £343,500 by the Government, from the fines levied on banks for attempting to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) benchmark.
Several other very worthwhile causes and charities that support the Armed Forces community have been allocated funding from the bank fines. Click here to read the full article on the HM Treasury website.
Further applications to the LIBOR Fund in support of the Armed Forces are invited. Click here for details.
Royal Navy Launches First Women's Network
The Veterans' Transition Review
The Veterans' Transition Review, led by Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC, was established by the Government in September 2012 to look at the advice and support available to personnel returning to civilian life from the Armed Forces. The Review will examine all aspects of transition, consulting Government Departments, charities, industry and the Services themselves.
Veterans Medals: The Arctic Star & Bomber Command Clasp
The Prime Minister announced in December 2012 that the Arctic Star and the Bomber Command Clasp awards will be made in recognition of the great bravery of those who contributed to two very significant campaigns of World War Two. All the details have now been confirmed for the awards and the application process has opened. Click here for details.
In a report published in February 2013 the Commons Welsh Affairs Committee says that public bodies need to do more to support Armed Forces veterans in Wales, particularly in the key areas of housing and health where there are currently problems with provision. Click for details.
International Defence Engagement Strategy
The Government’s International Defence Engagement Strategy (IDES) has been published (7 February 2013). It sets out how all Defence activity short of combat operations will be prioritised to focus engagement efforts on those countries which are most important to our national interests, and where we are most likely to achieve the desired effect. Personnel can read the Defence Internal Brief 2013DIB/09 on the Defence Intranet for further details.
Click here to read the MOD Equipment Plan. Click here to read the NAO Report on the Plan. Their report states that MOD has taken significant positive steps to deal with the previous funding gap and to lay the foundations for stability going forward. For further information personnel can see the Defence Internal Brief 2013DIB/07 on the Defence Intranet.
Click here to read a message from the First Sea Lord on the Royal Navy's strategic priorities for 2013.
New Operating Model: ‘How Defence Works’
The need for a new Operating Model was identified by Lord Levene in 2011’s Defence Reform Review. ‘How Defence Works’ explains how the most fundamental re-organisation of Defence since the 1980’s will deliver a model which, as envisaged by Lord Levene, “ensures that the whole is more than the sum of its parts and which has affordability at its core”. Click here for further details.