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The Home Front: The Future Accommodation Model for the UK Armed Forces: Obligations and Choices for Service Personnel and FamiliesJohn Louth, Trevor Taylor, Lauren Twort and Gabriela Thompson
Occasional Papers, 31 May 2018
Armed Forces, Defence, Industries and Society, Civil–Military Relations, UK, Defence Management, Defence Policy, Military Personnel, UK Defence, Europe
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is currently testing various options for reforming Service Accommodation through an initiative known as the Future Accommodation Model (FAM). This paper is focused primarily on potential policy changes relating to Service Families’ Accommodation (SFA) under FAM, which could profoundly change the accommodation offered to service families in the twenty-first century.
In the short term:
- The armed forces should give increased priority to families’ accommodation within the employment offer. In particular, increased financial and MoD management resources should be allocated to families’ accommodation.
- An Armed Forces Covenant Programme Office, at arm’s length from the MoD, should be established, with the review and assurance of accommodation provision for the armed forces as one of its key responsibilities.
- A full test and evaluation programme for the FAM should be developed now and managed as a coherent assessment phase programme. The trials should focus on:
- The rules of entitlement to SFA.
- Capital investment in SFA.
- Financial products that provide increased choice.
- Alternative delivery models through housing associations and public–private partnerships.
In the longer term:
- The lessons learned from an effective FAM assessment phase should shape the policy debate.
- Service chiefs should focus on accommodation within their strategic priorities and fund new builds as necessary at main operating bases.
- A whole of government approach needs to be garnered to attract large employers to the areas in which military bases are located.
- Contractors supporting the operation of military sites could, through the AFC, consider ways to actively encourage service spouses to apply for employment opportunities within their organisations.
- The services should provide longer-serving personnel, who are unlikely to receive further promotion or need additional development, with longer posting periods.
- The FAM could be conceptualised as a major change programme for the UK government. It is pivotal that factors such as service ethos, traditions and values remain at the centre of thinking. Capability generation sits upon these factors as much as hard investment choices and real estate.
- A non-executive advisory board should be established prior to the FAM assessment phase to address all perspectives and values. Much of the debate framed by such an advisory group must be within the public domain.
BANNER IMAGE: Upgraded military families' accommodation at Bulford. Crown copyright.