2 Resettlement Provision |
Ministry of Defence Resettlement
11. Every year, service personnel leave the Armed
Forces as a result of a change of career, ill-health or injury.
The average length of service is nine years. Only 2% of service
personnel serve a full career to retirement at the age of 55.
12. The MoD provides a range of support for
service leavers depending on the length of military service, not
the rank of the service leaver:
- Personnel with six years or
more service, and all those medically discharged, are entitled
to the comprehensive Full Resettlement Programme. This includes
the use of a career consultation, a job finding service, access
to a range of vocational training courses and workshops. Resettlement
support is provided two years before and up to two years after
- Personnel with between four and six years service
are entitled to an employment support programme, which provides
a tailored job finding service. Resettlement support is provided
two years before and up to two years after leaving;
- Those who serve less than four years (early service
leavers) are entitled to a briefing and advice about available
welfare and charitable support.
13. The Royal British Legion told us that the
MoD's resettlement programme was, on the whole, "of a good
standard" and that the quality and breadth of provision had
increased in recent years.
Some witnesses, however, raised concern that many service leavers
did not take advantage of the services available. The charity
R3 Cymru believed that a "significant" number of service
personnel did not take up the MoD's available support, and that
this could create difficulties once they had left the Armed Forces.
This view was confirmed during our visit to MoD St Athan, where
both serving personnel and veterans told us they were unaware
of some aspects of the resettlement programme. Rt Hon Mark Francois
MP, Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans
told us that he believed that the resettlement provision was well
publicised but "at the end of the day it is up to people
whether they choose to use it".
We also received evidence that the level of support given to "early
service leavers" was sometimes inadequate.
14. Three specific areas of
the MoD's resettlement programme were of particular concern for
witnesses: personal financial education, trauma risk management,
and support provided to reservists. We cover each of these below.
PERSONAL FINANCIAL EDUCATION
15. Charities expressed concern that the institutional
life of an Armed Forces career did not prepare service personnel
to manage finances, budget for a household, or manage debt. Mrs
Hazel Hunt from Welsh Warrior (The Richard Hunt Foundation)
commented that this was particularly true of single men in the
... they live in single men's barracks and they have
their food and their rent all taken out from their wages [...]
they want to party, because they have been working hard, and they
want to buy the latest clothes, the latest CDs, the latest Xbox
360 game [...] But they are given no sound financial advice to
tell them, 'When you go out into civilian life, you are going
to have to pay for electricity, gas and rent, or you will have
The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association
Forces Help (SSAFA)
charity stated that that there was a need for continuous education
and financial advice throughout a serviceman's career so that
resettlement training "does not become too much of a rush
and a big wall to climb at the end of their service".
16. When questioned on this issue, Rear Admiral
Simon Williams, Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Personnel and
Training) from the MoD, told us that "some degree" of
financial advice was now available for service personnel throughout
The basic tenets of running your finances are now
covered all the way through trainingright the way from
basic trainingand about every year or so, in every unit,
financial advice is given.
TRAUMA RISK MANAGEMENT
17. Many witnesses expressed concern that the
resettlement programme did not assist service personnel with the
"emotional aspects of combat and its consequences",
although the Veterans Minister believed that the MoD had "got
better" at dealing with it. Service personnel returning from
operations now receive an initial mental health check.
He highlighted the MoD's introduction in 2008 of a non-medical
response to traumatic events
called "Trauma Risk Management"(TRiM). TRiM is delivered
by trained counsellors (often warrant officers) already in the
affected soldier's unit. Those who are identified as being at
risk following an incident are invited to take part in an informal
interview which establishes how they are coping. The MoD believed
that this method helped to reduce the stigma of seeking help.
18. Some witnesses, however, expressed reservations
about the effectiveness of TRiM. The British Medical Association
expressed concern that, under TRIM, service personnel were effectively
having mental health issues identified by "their mates".
19. Wales has around 2,500 volunteer reservists.
Some witnesses expressed concern that the MoD does not provide
reservists with any formal resettlement training.
Colonel Philip Hubbard, Deputy Chief Executive of Reserve Forces
and Cadets Association (RFCA) for Wales, spoke about the increased
role that reservists, and particularly the Territorial Army, have
played in operations abroad in the last decade: over 25,000 reservists
have been deployed on operations overseas in the last ten years,
with 6,900 Territorial Army soldiers mobilised for the invasion
of Iraq in 2003. Colonel Hubbard expressed concern that reservists
were expected to return from operations "and just carry on
with their life".
20. Demands on reservists are expected to increase
in future. In November 2012, the Secretary of State for Defence
announced a consultation on the future of the UK's reserve forces.
It proposes to increase the number of trained reserves to 35,000
across all three services by 2020. The biggest increase will be
in the Army, with 30,000 trained Reserves, creating a total land
force of about 120,000. The plans are backed by an extra £1.8bn
in funding over the next ten years for new equipment, uniforms
and training for the Reserves.
21. The MoD's resettlement programme
has improved in recent years but requires further refinement.
Some personnel may decide not to take up the MoD's support and
this is a choice for them. But we are concerned that some personnel
still do not take up elements of resettlement support due to a
lack of awareness of the services available. The MoD should ensure
that all personnel leaving the services are fully aware of all
the resettlement support that they are entitled to.
22. Armed Forces personnel require
a good grounding in financial management for their transition
to civilian life. We are pleased that the MoD is placing additional
importance on providing such skills to serving personnel. This
23. Although not specifically
an element of the support offered to veterans, we note that the
effectiveness of the MoD's Trauma Risk Management (TRiM) programme
is disputed by some medical practitioners. We recommend that the
MoD makes clear to medical practitioners the scope and purpose
of TRiM in the overall treatment of veterans suffering from the
effects of combat or other traumatic experiences.
24. Early service leavers include
personnel who are leaving because they have problems, and are
therefore likely to need support in the transition to civilian
life. Currently they receive the least support. The MoD should
consider the provision of more appropriate support.
25. We are concerned that the
MoD currently does not provide formal resettlement support for
personnel in the Reserve Forces. The number and role of reservists
is set to increase in future years, as is the budget available
for training. Given the increased dependence on reservists in
coming years, the MoD must ensure that reservists are provided
with adequate support to return to civilian life.
4 The Telegraph, 1 August 2012 Back
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Foundation established in September 2009 in memory of Private
Richard Hunt. Back
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SSAFA is a UK charity providing financial, practical and emotional
assistance to anyone that is currently serving or has ever served
in the Army, Navy or RAF, and their families. Back
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Traumatic events include sudden death, serious injury, near misses
and overwhelming distress when dealing with disaster relief and
body handling. Back
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The Reserve Forces consist of the Maritime Reserve, made
up of the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) and the Royal Marines Reserve
(RMR), the Territorial Army (TA), and the Royal Air Force Reserves.The
largest of the Reserve Forces is the Territorial Army, which currently
has 15,000 members. Back
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Future Reserves 2020: Delivering the Nation's Security Together,
Ministry of Defence, 8 November 2012 Back