Ministry of Defence
Printable version E-mail this to a friend

MoD sets out cross-government strategy to improve support for the Armed Forces

MoD sets out cross-government strategy to improve support for the Armed Forces

MINISTRY OF DEFENCE News Release (166/2008) issued by The Government News Network on 17 July 2008

The Ministry of Defence has today published the Service Personnel Command Paper which outlines a package of measures to improve the lives of our Service Personnel, their families and our veterans.

This paper - "The Nation's Commitment: Cross-Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans" - is the first time that such a cross-Government strategy has been issued and it sets the standard for the level and scope of support our Service personnel can expect.

Key changes include:

* The Ministry of Defence doubling Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments for the most serious injuries from £285,000 to £570,000. All injured personnel will receive an increase of between 10 and 100%;
* The Department of Health improving access to NHS dentists for Service families;
* The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills offering free A-Level equivalent or first Degree-level education for Service leavers with six years service;
* The Department for Transport offering free bus travel for seriously injured Service Personnel and veterans;
* The Department for Communities and Local Government helping Service leavers get on the property ladder by extending their Key Worker status for 12 months after leaving the Armed Forces; and
* The Department for Children, Schools and Families making it easier for Service families with frequent and short notice postings to get their children into local schools.

Secretary of State for Defence, Des Browne, said:

"Our Armed Forces are truly inspiring - every day they risk their lives to keep us safe - and it is a fundamental duty of government to support them and their families. I think this Command Paper presents a package of measures that will make a real difference to the everyday lives of our forces and their families. It will improve their access to public services and for the most seriously injured it will ensure a significant increase in the amount of compensation that they get paid. I think it offers significant progress and we now have to make sure we deliver that change.

Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Jock Stirrup, said:

"Our Servicemen and women achieve great things on a daily basis in testing conditions all over the world. They, and their families, also face unique demands that make their achievements all the more remarkable. As a nation, we have a duty to make sure that our Armed Forces are treated fairly whether they are home or abroad, and that is why this Service Personnel Command Paper is so important. My fellow Chiefs and I welcome this paper. It will ensure our Armed Forces and their dependants are not disadvantaged by their Service life, and in some cases enjoy special treatment befitting of their daily sacrifice on behalf of us all."

The Service Personnel Command Paper was commissioned by the Prime Minister in November 2007. Since then Armed Forces Minster Bob Ainsworth has led a team of tri-Service personnel and MoD civil servants to produce the new strategy and the measures. The Service Personnel Command Paper team consulted widely with current and former Service personnel, their families, Service charities, Service Families Federations; and worked with colleagues across Whitehall and in the Devolved Administrations.

Notes to Editors

1. The Service Personnel Command Paper is published on the MoD website at http://www.mod.uk
2. Key measures in the Service Personnel Command Paper include:

MoD

* Improved payments under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
The upfront lump sum payment for injury under the AFCS will be doubled for the most serious injuries. All recipients, according to severity of injury, will have an uplift of between 10 and 100% in their upfront lump sum payments. MOD also intends to confer additional benefits to extend this effect to those who have already made claims under the Scheme. The Guaranteed Income Payment (GIP) will continue to apply in addition to the upfront lump sum compensation payment. The GIP will continue to provide the most seriously injured with a monthly, tax-free income once they leave the Service. For example, a 25-year-old seriously injured soldier may receive a £570,000 lump sum payment plus a GIP of £19,000 per year tax free for life. If he lives to average life expectancy, this is a further million pounds, tax free, on top of the lump sum payment. These changes will be implemented following a short consultation period.

Department for Health (DH)

* Improved access to NHS dentists for Service families
Service mobility and the frequent need to find an NHS dentist in the new location can make access to dentistry difficult for Service families. DH and other health departments will trial various new ways such as making use of facilities on military bases, or provide mobile services in those areas, or make use of spare capacity elsewhere. Trials will begin by December 2008 and complete by December 2009.

DH and other health departments will work with the NHS to ensure that health areas with large Service personnel populations plan with the military communities in their areas to ensure Service families get the dental care they need.

* NHS Waiting List - Retention of Place.
Service mobility can cause repeated loss of place on NHS waiting lists. DH and other health departments will ensure that when patients move across the UK, previous waiting time will be taken into account with the expectation, all things being equal, that treatment will be within national waiting time standards.

The Department for Innovation, University and Skills (DIUS)

* Free education and training for Service leavers

Those joining the Armed Forces often commit to this career path before they can take advantage of opportunities in further or higher education. All Service leavers with over 6 years' service will have the opportunity to achieve their first Level 3 qualification (A-level or equivalent) free from tuition fees. Alternatively, for those who want to progress to higher levels, we will fund all tuition fees for a first foundation or full degree. This means that a sailor, soldier or airman can join the Armed Forces from school, secure in the knowledge that six or more years' service will be rewarded with the opportunity of a college or university education without tuition fees. Scottish Ministers and the Welsh Assembly Government have agreed to put in place similar measures.

The Department for Transport (DfT)

* Concessionary Bus Travel.

The statutory bus concession in England will be extended by 1 April 2011 to include seriously injured Service personnel and veterans under the age of 60.

* Automatic entitlement for Blue Badges to severely injured veterans

The Blue Badge Scheme provides a range of parking concessions across the UK for people with severe mobility problems. We will now introduce a scheme so that severely disabled veterans in England will receive automatic entitlement to a Blue Badge without further assessment. Scottish Ministers will also implement this change. The Welsh Assembly Government is consulting on plans for a Reform Strategy for the Blue Badge Scheme in Wales, with this proposal considered as part of the review.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)

* Extending Key Worker Status for Service leavers

Servicemen and women in England have Key Worker Status but many do not have the opportunity to purchase a home. DCLG is extending Key Worker Status to enable Service leavers to access Key Worker Living 12 months after discharge.

* High priority for injured troops in applying for adapted social housing

Seriously injured Service personnel can face delays in obtaining suitable adapted social housing where they are not given sufficient priority.
DCLG will give seriously injured personnel in England and Wales high priority for social housing. Statutory guidance will be issued to reinforce this message. Scottish Ministers will remind landlords of the existing high priority that seriously injured personnel in Scotland receive for adapted social housing.
* Housing to prevent homelessness

To help prevent homelessness, DCLG will contribute £400,000 to provide new supported housing for Service leavers in England to enable them to make a successful transition to civilian life. We will work with the Housing Corporation to deliver this initiative which will also be supported by MOD gifting land.

Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF)

* School Place Allocation

Access to schools is more difficult for Service children due to the frequency and short notice postings of their parents. DCSF is seeking Service families' views on improving admissions, and the Schools Adjudicator is reviewing admissions for 2009 in order to identify any disadvantage for Service families so that it can be removed.

* Priority access and increased provision of State Boarding Schools

Boarding school education can reduce the impact of Service mobility on children's education. DCSF will prioritise Service children's access, second only to children in care, for state boarding school places. DCSF will also increase the number of places at state boarding schools by well over 100 over the next 3 years.
Additionally, through the academies programme, 3 new state boarding schools are planned.

5 ways to enhance Microsoft 365 with sustained information and process Governance.