Federation | 37

Our focus remains on delivering the basics in an improved way,for example, calling ahead of appointments and keeping customers informed, accurate scheduling and ensuring our vans are well stocked with parts. Ihave established aworking group to review complaints in much more detail and to challenge our working practices, this feedback helps us to really focus our efforts.

You’ll be aware that there has been asignificant amount of change with Carillion going into liquidation earlier in the year,however,Amey stepped in to ensure continuity of service and there have been no significant issues during that transition. We also appointed anew Managing Director,Tim Redfern, who brings awealth of Defence experience and is supporting anumber of improvement projects aimed at better understanding our customer’s needs and continuing to improve our business.

Housing Options Scotland Finding ahome when you leave the armed forces in Scotland. Housing Options Scotland is ahousing advice charity.They have publish abooklet which offers general information and advice on:

•Housing available outside the forces. •What to do before your end of service date.

Claire Birch of Housing Options says: “Leaving the armed forces can be atricky time. Finding anew home and new jobs, learning to speak “civvy”, meeting new people, and making new friends can all be abit daunting. Iwent through transition after ten years’ service in the RAF and again two years later when my husband left after afull 16 years’ service. So I’ve seen the process as aservice person and afamily member.There’s lots to think about, lots to learn, and lots of decisions to make. Iampassionate about veterans having the best possible start to their new civilian life. So Ijumped at the chance of helping to produce this booklet. We’ve written it to cover the information Iwish I’d had back when Istarted house hunting. What to expect when you’re leaving your forces accommodation, the different types of housing available to civilians, and the help you can get. Ihope it tells you what you need to know and helps you and your family find your new civilian home in plenty of time for your end of service date, which will loom up very quickly.Here’s to getting your new civilian home “squared away”! Telephone: 01312471400.

Forces Help to Buy (FHTB) – In April 2014, the MOD introduced the Forces Help to Buy (FHTB) scheme, under the New Employment Model

programme. The scheme is to help armed forces personnel get on the property ladder. Regular armed forces personnel can benefit from a £200 million scheme to help them get started. The FHTB scheme enables servicemen and servicewomen to borrow up to 50% of their salary (to a maximum of £25,000), interest free, to buy their first home or move to another property on assignment or as their families needs change. This can be used towards a deposit and other costs such as solicitor’s and estate agent’s fees.

For regular personnel to qualify they must satisfy the following conditions:

• have completed the pre-requisite length of service

• have more than 6 months left to serve at the time they apply

•meet the right medical categories

However,itisrecognised that there may be instances where exceptions to the standard rules may be justifiable, especially where there are extenuating medical and personal circumstances.

The pilot scheme, which launched in April 2014 and has now been extended to 2018, aims to help address the low rate of home ownership in the armed forces – in the RAF,according to AFCAS17, 79% of RAF Officers and 54% of Non-Commissioned ranks now own ahome.

Since the Scheme began: •27,114 First Stage FHTB applications have been received.

•15,947 of these applications have proceeded to the Second Stage.

•Payment has been made to around 13,100 applicants, totalling around £197 million, an average of approximately £15,100 per claim.

•Atleast 95% of payments, as at 30 September 2017, have already resulted in apurchased property or extension.

For more information:

If you have already taken advantage of the FHTB scheme we would like to hear about your experience, was there any unforeseen pitfalls or is it generally a positive step. Please do write and let us know your views.

Bibliography – If you need to find official government information on the private rental or purchasing housing market, I can think of no better source than the Office for National Statistics website at: |Summer| Summer 2018 | ENVOY

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