IN A very useful meeting with Tobias Elwood, the Minister for Defence People and Veterans, we discussed the different policies that are currently being developed by the MOD under the ‘people programme’ – important policies that have the potential to completely change the way you, as military families, live and engage with the Army, writes AFF Chief Executive Sara Baade.

Change can be good and much needed at times, but I strongly believe that it needs to happen in a measured and realistic way if it’s going to be successful. I raised many of my concerns with the Minister and the MOD, including how we go about this change and how we engage with those most affected.

There are some very well-documented strategies for successful change management. A key focus for all of them is effective communication and consultation, to ensure the people affected are on board. While this is fairly well-recognised strategy, it is also where I flag my concerns regarding the current policies under development.

More and more of you approach us here at AFF with feelings of being unconsidered, uninformed and uninvolved. Many of you feel that policies are being delivered without understanding how you live.

I often hear families arguing that it does not really matter what they think or say because all that policy makers care about is budgets. Whether this is a true perception or not is almost irrelevant. It’s important to acknowledge that this is the feeling amongst many of you at the moment. My message to the Minister and the MOD was therefore really clear; inform, consult and consider families!

This is not the first time I have asked for this, but I feel that the message is starting to hit home and we have been told that more and better timed communication is on its way. I look forward to seeing details of how families are going to be consulted and considered in future policies. Until we see real change we will continue to campaign for better information, consultation and consideration.

If you need support with your Army life, AFF has specialists and local co-ordinators available to help you – visit our website at aff.org.uk for details.

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