ALL the signs suggest that 2020 is set to be an interesting year for army families on a political and policy front, writes AFF chief executive Sara Baade (pictured right).

Not only do we have a new government and potentially a new defence review coming, but we also have a number of reports coming out that will be key for the MOD and the army when setting policies relating to you and your soldier.

Andrew Selous, MP for South West Bedfordshire, was asked by the Secretary of State for Defence last year to produce an independent report to see what more support can be offered to service families. In addition, Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, was commissioned by the Prime Minister in 2018 to report on the best environment that ensures retention for serving personnel. Both of these reports are due out this year and will have a real focus on families and what more can be done to support you. It will be interesting to see the detail in these reports and how the MOD and the army respond to them.

As with all major reports relating to army families, we have worked closely with both Andrew and Mark by submitting your evidence and providing feedback to discussions, ensuring that your voice has been taken into consideration.

At the time of writing, we haven’t yet seen the final recommendations, but I strongly agree with Mark’s interim findings which make the point that defence will have to take some difficult decisions on how they spend their money going forward and a greater emphasis on armed forces personnel and their families is needed. If not, they won’t have enough qualified and trained personnel to operate the kit they’ve already invested in. 

Let’s watch this space, but please be reassured that we’re working on your behalf to feed into these really important reviews using the evidence that you give us.

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