AFF Chief Executive Sara Baade and Major General Sharon Nesmith, Director for Personnel of the army, tell us about theFuture Accommodation Model, or FAM…
THERE is no denying that FAM is emotive. It’s the area where we’ve seen the most rapid increase in our enquiries. The uncertainty of what’s to come is high and the information up until recently has been sparse which, understandably, has made many of you nervous, writes Sara.
So is FAM all bad, and does it mean that all our Service Family Accommodation (SFA) will be removed? Those are the two of the most common questions we are asked and the answer to both is no. FAM isn’t all bad and it will not mean that all the SFA will go, despite what some people say.
FAM will provide more flexibility for you to choose how you would like to live. If you’re not married, you will have the opportunity to live together and it will also support those of you who want to buy your own home.
So, there are some good elements to FAM, but there are also areas that we are still waiting for clarification on and the pilot will hopefully help to flush these out.
How many SFA will be retained? Will SFA be a true option for all as it is today or will it be limited?
General Richard Nugee, Chief of Defence People, recently outlined that whilst no SFA will be sold as part of the pilot we don’t yet know what the results of the pilot will show.
What we do know is that the MOD recognises – as AFF has pushed for all along – that SFA is an important part of the accommodation mix. It will be one of the four options – alongside Single Living Accommodation, renting or buying a property – that the pilot will test. I personally think it’s instrumental to the success of FAM.
We’re still waiting to gauge the impact of moving from a ‘rank-based model’ to a ‘needs-based model’ and will continue to seek clarification as the policy develops. We will keep you up-to-date with any new information.
We will also continue to work with the MOD to better understand what FAM will mean for you.
Get in touch if you have any comments, positive or negative – email@example.com @The_AFF
ONE of our biggest challenges remains communicating FAM, so we really welcome the continued dialogue, writes General Sharon.
FAM is an exciting opportunity to both widen eligibility beyond those married or in civil partnerships and provide greater choice for all, but I recognise there are also some genuine and heartfelt concerns.
So, what’s happening now? The army pilot will run in Aldershot from 31 January 2020 and we’re working hard to ensure this enables well-informed decisions to be made ahead of further FAM roll-out in the UK – this will not be before 2023. If you live in Aldershot now you will not need to move accommodation, unless you wish to. If you’re assigned to the Aldershot area after 31 January, you will need to submit your preferences; unit HR staff will be able to help complete the required action on JPA.
FAM briefings will be delivered in Aldershot throughout January prior to the go-live date.
I recommend that all service personnel and families attend if you can. Alternatively, you can contact the FAM Cell directly if you have any questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more via Discover My Benefits (gov.uk) to see what future accommodation choices look like. You can also find signposts to more information, which brings to life the implications of respective choices. I hope that this comprehensive information pack will both answer your queries but also allay any growing concerns.