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FEDERATION NEWS Our Busiest Year Yet


T


here has been no let-up in the challenges for RAF personnel and their families during 2012. The wider national economic picture remains gloomy and the continuing impact on the RAF of SDSR


and the many associated changes have maintained the pressure on those who serve and those who support them.


In light of this, it is perhaps not surprising that 2012 has proved to be one of the busiest years on record for the RAF Families Federation as we helped with more issues raised with us by the RAF community than ever before. We have also worked hard to improve our evidence-gathering capabilities, to ensure the key issues are captured and so help inform policy and influence change. Our work has focussed primarily on: The delivery of three surveys and managing the outcomes; on monitoring and challenging DIO performance; helping people to cope with the continuing impact of SDSR; assisting with further development of the Armed Forces Covenant and understanding the looming prospect of the New Employment Model (NEM).


The Team has achieved an impressive national profile, and has provided evidence a number of times to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee and the Armed Forces Covenant Reference Group. The Government is placing great store by the Armed Forces Covenant to help reduce the many disadvantages of Service life experienced by RAF personnel and families. We remain very supportive of the concept and intent but also acknowledge that words alone will achieve nothing. A particular area of concern is the translation of that good intent by external authorities at a senior level into a genuine understanding of Service life and its impact on the family at the desk level – in the job centre, at the surgery and hospital, and in the council office.


The Federation again provided both written and oral evidence to the Armed Forces Pay Review Body for 2012, which particularly focussed on the X-Factor element of Service pay. And we also urged them to make their pay recommendations based on the evidence received and to not be limited by the pay freeze cap.


During his meetings with the new Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare & Veterans, Mr Mark Francois MP, our Director represented many of the issues, pressures and concerns raised by personnel and their families. The Director was pleased and impressed that the Minister took the time to listen and respond to the points made and was struck by his evident enthusiasm and determination to make a difference.


The development of NEM is gaining pace. While the Federation team is particularly pleased to learn that this will be a cost neutral exercise and not another exercise in cost cutting, there is no doubt that it will herald still more change for many. The Federation has been asked by the MoD to contribute to the development of some aspects of the NEM package and we look forward to representing the issues and concerns of RAF personnel and their families as the policies are developed.


26 Envoy Spring 2013 www.raf-ff.org.uk


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