We have become used to change in the last five years. Next on the ‘to-do’ list is a thorough examination of the ‘terms and conditions of service’ for personnel. The New Employment Model (NEM), as this project has been called, is essentially the review of how your soldier is paid and the provision and cost of future housing.

However, the study is far more complex than just that and whilst the sceptics amongst us may believe it to be a cost-saving exercise, the NEM team stresses that it is about providing a cost-effective and attractive “package” with the aim of encouraging you and your soldier to remain in the Army.

Redundancy, rebasing and the cutting and amalgamation of units has been one step towards how the future will look.

Examining what our soldiers and our families need to entice us to stay in terms of housing, duration of posting, stability, partner employment and pay is the human side of restructuring the Army and you have a chance to influence the outcome of the review.

AFF has been involved from the start using the information we gather from families to inform decision makers of your priorities.

It’s vital that decisions on what the future “package” will comprise are led by your views and the needs of our soldiers.

Getting the balance

There are a range of ways in which the NEM team will determine what will be offered in the future.

The high number of volunteers for redundancy demonstrates that many of you are voting with your feet, and there must be a real fear that unless pay, housing and family life are in balance that many more soldiers will opt to leave when the economy improves.

The two mainstays

The NEM team is committed to getting that balance right. It’s not, however, without questions from AFF. To dispel rumours, I am pleased that it has been made absolutely clear that families will continue to have access to Service Families Accommodation (SFA).

At our recent AFF Germany Conference, Major General Richard Nugee, Director General Personnel stated that there’s no plan to remove Continuity of Education Allowance.

So with those two mainstays of the current offer remaining in place families should feel confident to feed in their views.

Encouraging house purchase

Whilst SFA will remain available there will be a range of incentives to encourage house purchase with the view that this will help you when you come to leave the Forces.

However, it’s clear that for accompanied service to remain, SFA will still need to be affordable. We will be monitoring proposed changes to SFA charges.

Retention is a family issue

As well as an online survey – which is available on the AFF website at www.aff.org.uk – the NEM team will hold 60 focus groups in 19 locations to find out more about what you need.

Interviews with soldiers and partners will be held to find out what’s important – a recognition that the Army may recruit the soldier but retention is a family issue. There is also the chance to submit questions to PersTrg-NEM-Mailbox@mod.uk

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