When it comes to understanding service life, companies and employers don’t always ‘get it’, that’s why there’s an organisation working on your behalf to help ensure the armed forces community is treated fairly in the consumer and job market – Defence Relationship Management (DRM). One of its national account managers, Nat Haynes (pictured above), is a military spouse herself, so she identifies with many of the issues that are brought to DRM’s attention. We caught up with Nat to find out more about what the organisation does for service families…

What is your role?
I’m the DRM lead for service families and feed all issues through to employers across all sectors. We aim to help organisations understand the value of signing the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC) and provide advice on employing military spouses and partners.

How does DRM’s work benefit service families?
We’ve helped with commercial fairness policies that aim to stop service families being disadvantaged due to mobility. Phone and broadband contracts,

for example, can now be terminated without penalty. When this has not happened, we’ve been able to raise issues with companies and the fees have been quickly waived.

A common issue when applying for a mortgage is the potential lender not recognising BFPO numbers as a valid address for credit checks. In the majority of cases escalated to us by the families federations, we’ve been able to get the lender to review the application positively. We’ve also been able to secure commercial discounts and positive recruitment policies for service families.

How does DRM encourage employers to recruit forces families?
The AFC and the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) are key areas of work for us. ERS encourages employers to support the forces community and inspire others to do so through an award scheme.

What can employers do to benefit service families?
We have employers that operate guaranteed interview schemes for service families. Commercial fairness is also making a real difference across telecommunications and financial services organisations.

We love to hear about organisations getting it right! We work closely with AFF to gather evidence of negative and positive experiences, so get in touch at etam@aff.org.uk

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