In 2018, the Army Welfare Service (AWS) Intake & Assessment Team (IAT) was established as a single point of all specialist welfare support referrals in the UK and overseas, and importantly, you can make direct self-referrals.

With a small team of 12, the IAT dealt with more than 2,700 cases in its first year. WO1 Steve Connolly, the IAT Manager, told AFF: “Over the last three years referrals have risen by more than 40 per cent, with no increase in staffing. Whilst every effort is made to deal with referrals and enquiries promptly, expectations of timelines and services provided need to be managed.”

Steve explained that referrals are triaged at point of entry. If there is deemed to be a high risk, such as safeguarding or domestic abuse, these cases are immediately sent to a longterm delivery team. However, if a case is deemed to have no immediate risk of harm, then it will be assessed according to need, before being allocated to an Army Welfare Worker (AWW), normally within 15 working days.

How can I make a referral?

You can do this in two ways:

  • By email – via a third party, such as unit welfare or medical officers, padre or other support agencies. These referrals must use an AWS form, detailing knowledge of and relationship to the potential service user and sent to
  • By phone – anyone can call the IAT on 01904 88 2053/2054. Basic details will be taken and the case passed onto the duty AWW to respond. With just one duty AWW, it may be that occasionally it may be the next day before calls are returned.

Overseas contact

AWS also has three lone AWWs based overseas and in exceptional circumstances, they can be deployed to any overseas location for specific cases.

  • SHAPE – covering European Joint Support Unit locations, Germany, Kenya and the western part of the world including USA and Canada.
  • Brunei – covering British Forces Brunei, Nepal and the eastern part of the world including Singapore and Diego Garcia.
  • Estonia – covering Op Cabrit locations.

“AFF has nothing but praise for this small team with a big reach,” says AFF’s Manager Overseas Esther Thomas. “A recent referral resulted in a co-ordinated approach to support a serving person in a remote location. Whilst we advised on family policy issues, the soldier potentially needed specialist welfare support beyond our remit. The AWW checked in on the soldier and reported back a positive outcome all within 24 hours.”

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