In May last year, Army&You spoke to people on the Flexible Duties Trial (FDT). Almost a year on, the FDT will soon close and has been replaced by the introduction of a new policy – Flexible Service (FS). Army&You chatted to staff in the Army Headquarters Personnel Directorate to find out more…

Maj Dave Crosbie, who has been involved in developing the policy, said: “It’s great the policy has been finalised and released – the commentary on other social media forums including The Army Parents Network has been really positive. People see it as another step in the right direction as the Army continues to modernise as an employer.”

Although FS is completely new, it complements existing flexible working policies.

“One of the biggest challenges in the last 18 months has been trying to explain the differences between everything ‘flexible’,” added Maj Crosbie. “Existing flexible working policies allow people to do the same work in a different fashion – work from home, variable start times and so on. FS is fundamentally different and gives Regular soldiers and officers the opportunity to work less than full-time or restrict their separated service, for temporary periods, and comes with an associated reduction in pay.”

The team behind the FS policy has worked hard to gather opinion from across the Army and to implement some of the lessons learned from the FDT.

“Being completely clear and open about what FS can offer has been key. Everyone has the right to apply, but the chain of command has an important role to play in helping the approvals board decide whether the Army can manage the gap for a temporary period. Equally, it’s important the chain of command understand how they can and cannot use individuals on their non-duty days,” explained Maj Crosbie.

“FS won’t be for everyone and nor will it suit all organisations. Other flexible working policies may be more suitable in some cases. However, FS will provide a real opportunity for some to better balance their commitment to the Army with their personal commitments, for temporary periods. If, for people like this, FS provides another option for them to continue serving in a job they love, then introducing the policy will have absolutely been worth it.”

Your soldier can find out more on the defence intranet and in the MOD’s Flexible Working and You guide. There’s also information available via this link.

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