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EDITOR’S words A

s we approach the close of 2011 it is perhaps a time to reflect and take stock and in this

issue I hope we have found a balance between the good and the ugly.

We ramp down our expectations on all fronts and cautiously look to a new year of fresh beginnings, only too aware that just around the corner is another tranche of redundancies and more challenges to tackle.

Good reading  T From the Chairman

his year has been a really difficult one for the RAF and 2012 doesn’t look to be any better, as we continue to

downsize, restructure and relocate as a result of SDSR implementation.

To counter the ‘gloom and doom’ of pay freezes, allowances cuts and, worst of all, compulsory redundancies, I have tried to look back on the year to highlight the positives and demonstrate to you, our loyal readers, why it is we believe it’s still worth speaking up on behalf of the families we represent.

So what have we achieved in the last year that justifies the continuation of our contract? Let me offer a few thoughts on the Federation’s achievements that have boosted our morale at times of almost overwhelming despair at what is happening to the RAF we love and the families we serve:

At the personal level, we have: 

Supported a SNCO appealing against recovery of a massive Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) debt, which we, and his chain of command, felt he had received in good faith. His case was upheld.

Helped several couples secure transfers of scarce IVF funding in between Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), by quoting the Covenant principle of ‘no disadvantage’.

 

With support from Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS), helped several parents secure school places, particularly in circumstances when young siblings were allocated places in different schools.

4 Envoy Winter 2011  

Helped hundreds of Service Families Accommodation (SFA) occupants overcome problems with Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO)/Modern Housing Solutions (MHS) staffs, simply by enhancing communication between agencies and ensuring occupants are seen as individuals.

Covenant and the

Supported personnel serving overseas experiencing difficulties accessing JPA and allowances.

Assisted a family with significant Special Needs secure appropriate accommodation.

Provided support and signposting assistance to individuals selected for redundancy.

At the policy level, we have influenced The Blue Badge scheme overseas.  Use of BFPO addresses.

progress on: 

  SFA Tenant Liability Insurance.  The Future Accommodation Project. 

Development of DIO services, including a proposed Self-Preference on-line SFA scheme, and design of long-awaited ‘estate- agent’ style details on properties.

The Continuity of Education Allowance Review (see separate article).

At the strategic level, we have: 

Ensured that families’ perspectives are fully reflected in the Armed Forces

In sum, we think we have lived up to our motto of Investigate, Influence Change and we believe we have placed ourselves ever more firmly in the corner of the RAF families we represent. Times are tough and likely to get tougher but, with your support, and based on the evidence you provide, we will continue to speak up, providing you all with an independent voice on the issues that matter most to you and your families.

I take this opportunity to wish all RAF families all you would wish for yourselves for Christmas and for the New Year.  emerging first Annual Report. 

Ensured that the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) understand the impact of SDSR and the wider economy on RAF families (see separate article).

Provided evidence to two House of Commons Defence Committee Inquiries.

Briefed at the Annual MoD Welfare Conference to ensure the contribution of Service families is never taken for granted.

Briefed the Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans on all of the above.

The Federation continues in its staunch support of RAF personnel and their families and if you feel we can be of assistance in giving you voice then please let us know. Also, if you would like your story to appear in the pages of Envoy then do get in touch.

With all good wishes for Christmas and the New Year

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