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Defence Secretary commissions new report to step up support for service families

The new study will examine the support available to the different members of military families, including spouses and partners, and children.

A new study that will assess the support available to military families has been commissioned by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.

The report will be authored by Andrew Selous MP, who has previously served in the Honourable Artillery Company and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. It will analyse the different experiences of service family members, focussing on;

  • Spouses and civil partners
  • Long term partners
  • Children and dependents

The report’s findings, which will be completed by summer 2019, will consider the diverse needs of service families and assess whether the current support on offer is meeting these needs. The study will also allow the MOD to further enhance the delivery of vital support for military families.

The MOD supports service families in many aspects of their lives, including housing, education, and spousal employment.

As part of the study, Mr Selous will engage with key stakeholders, including the three single service families federations, service charities, and the Covenant Fund Trust, which makes grants to support the armed forces community.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“The success of our armed forces would not be possible without the constant support of the service families, who are often the unsung heroes of the military community.

I’m always inspired by their unfaltering fortitude, and the pride they take in in their loved ones’ service. I’m delighted that Andrew will be considering how we can best support them, as they support those who are keeping this country safe.”

Andrew Selous MP said:

“I have been a long-term champion of the importance of healthy and respectful couple and family relationships across society. As a nation, we rely on the strength of our Armed Forces to keep us safe. The nation in turn, has a duty to support and strengthen service families to help them perform a challenging role to the best of their ability.

I look forward to leading this critically important study, at the request of the Secretary of State, to assess the current needs of military families and to advise on the support they need.”

The MOD has continued to bolster its funding for service families, allocating £5 million to the Education Support Fund, which supports the children of military personnel, and investing £68 million into the improvement of family accommodation.

Last year saw the launch of the Armed Forces Flexible Working Act, which enhances serving personnel’s ability to serve part-time, should their circumstances change, and the announcement of a new scheme to support spouses’ employment, providing vocational training.

The report team would like to receive evidence in respect of the following areas, but would also welcome evidence in any other areas of concern:

1. Accommodation and home ownership

2. Deployment lengths and frequencies

3. Children’s education

4. Health services

5. Employment of non-serving members of the Armed Forces community

6. Pressures on service couple and family relationships

7. Transition to civilian life for the whole family

8. Number of house moves

The report team is keen to hear what is working well, in addition to what needs to be improved.

Submissions/comments should be sent to andrew.selous.mp@parliament.uk by Friday 15 March. ‘Independent Report on Service Families’ should be included in the Subject line of the email.

The review will seek the first-hand experiences of military families. All families and their data will remain anonymous and no-one will be personally identified in any report. The review team will not retain any data after the report has been published. All discussions will be completely confidential and the information received will never be shared with anyone else.

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