Thursday, 31 March 2011

Labour Launch Defence Review

Jim Murphy the Shadow Defence Secretary has launched Labour's Defence Review. In it he warns: “More and more is being asked of our Armed Forces at a time of big MoD cuts... Labour’s defence review will be open and consultative, reflective of how it believes the relationships between the MoD, the defence community including families and industry, Service Commands and civil society should be conducted See full details

'We Do Not Endorse Energy Suppliers'

Defence Estates have been alerted to doorstep selling by energy provides who say their service is endorsed by MHS and because of this they are able to offer the householder substantial discounts. DE state categorically that no such arrangement exists and advises occupants of SFA to tread carefully. Ken McMinn of DE says "DE and MHS do not endorse any particular energy company...More information »

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

'Through the Eyes of a Service Child'

A competition for all children whose parents are members of HM Forces has been launched by the The Service Children Support Network. Children are invited to submit a painting or drawing that reflects life ‘Through the eyes of a Service Child’. There are several age groups with prizes being awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each category. The closing date is 1 Jun 11... 

'Gaddafi will be Judged on Actions not Words'

Yesterday's conference in London reiterated the necessity for military action in Libya. William Hague who chaired the conference said, "We are working together to ensure that all states implement these resolutions, of which Gaddafi still stands in breach. He also said participants paid tribute to the bravery and professionalism of military personnel ...More information »

The Vulcan Cannot Go on without Funds

The last remaining flying Vulcan flew from Lyneham yesterday for what could be its last flight. After its career with the RAF the Vulcan took to the skies again in 2007 thanks to volunteers and has been under the wing of the The Vulcan To The Sky Trust ever since. A trust spokesman said yesterday, "This could be the Vulcan's last flight because of a substantial drop in donations during the recession...More information »

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Report of RAF Pilot Shortage

The Telegraph is today reporting a shortage of RAF pilots to fly over Libya. It claims the SDSR reductions are threatening to undermine front line operations. In response Deputy Commander in Chief Operations, Air Marshal Dick Garwood, said: "There is no shortage of pilots. We are able to cover the Falklands, UK air defence, Afghanistan, training requirements and operations in Libya...More information »

Gearing up to Hit the Road

The RAF Families Federation is in ever-increasing demand to provide independent evidence on a wide range of family-related issues. To feed this requirement for independent evidence, the team are about to go out on the road around the RAF again, seeking evidence from family members, both serving and non-serving. Current plans include visits to: Henlow; Honington; Brize Norton; High Wycombe; Waddington, RAF personnel at Ramstein; and a unit in Scotland. Themes for this year’s evidence-gathering activities are: Future Accommodation; RAF Way of Life; and Impact of the SDSR. Workshops with RAF Youth and with Reservists will also continue this year. An exciting development for 2011 is our plan to launch our surveys on-line and, as well as those listed before, we intend to gather evidence on Childcare; Employment Opportunities for Non-Serving Family Members, and Definition of Family. We’d love to hear from you...More information »

RAF Activity Update - Libya

Yesterday Maj Gen John Lorimer, CDS's Strategic Comms Officer, gave an update of RAF activity over Libya. He said: "Over the weekend (26/27 Mar 11) RAF Tornado GR4s continued to conduct armed reconnaissance sorties over Libya. In the course of these missions ordnance released hit a total of twenty-two tanks, armoured vehicles and artillery pieces in the vicinity of Ajdabiya and Misurata...More information »

Monday, 28 March 2011

Operation Honours and Awards for the RAF

Operational Honours and Awards recognise outstanding bravery and service on operations. RAF personnel picked up 16 awards this time. One of them was WO Stephen Bowden whose bravery and quick thinking in fighting a fire the size of two football pitches earned him the Queens Gallantry Medal. WO Bowden said: "To use a well-worn phrase, I couldn't have done it without my team and I am so proud of all of them

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Beware Errors in Redundancy Calculations

It is possible that thousands of service personnel considering redundancy may have the wrong value for their redundancy package. Problems with the online Forces Pensions Calculator have now been rectified but it may be that many made their enquiry before the error was corrected and are therefore basing their decisions on incorrect information. Dawn McCafferty said, "If at all unsure, go back and do it again...More information »

The latest on Libya

Air Vice-Marshal Greg Bagwell is the RAF's commander of the air operations over Libya. He said: "We are now applying sustained, unrelenting pressure on the Libyan Armed Forces. Their air force no longer exists as a fighting force, and its integrated air defence system and command and control networks are severely degraded to the point that we can operate over Libyan airspace with impunity...More information »

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Flexible Childcare in the 24/7 Era

A childrens charity has published research into the provision of childcare for those working unsociable hours. Although the report doesn't specifically mention the Armed Forces it will certainly add weight to the argument that more flexible childcare is needed. Anand Shukla of Daycare Trust said: “Our report demonstrates the enormous barriers parents who work outside ‘9 to 5’ hours face in accessing childcare – barriers that largely go ignored....More information »

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Budget - Something for Everyone...

George Osborne in his budget speech this afternoon re emphasised the pay freeze for Armed Forces personnel earning £21K or more and £250 for those earning below this threshold. He also announced there is to be a formal consultation on the implementation of the proposals recommended by Lord Hutton in his report on Public Service pensions. Other measures included an increase in personal tax allowance...More information »

No Combat Role in Afghanistan beyond 2015

The process of security transition across to Afghan control begins in May. This should see UK forces no longer in a combat role in Afghanistan by 2015. In a joint statement William Hague and Liam Fox said: "We warmly welcome President Karzai's commitment to peace. Transition will achieve our shared goal of the Afghans leading on security. We will not abandon Afghanistan...More information »

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

CEA - Where are we Now?

The RAF FF Chairman has attended a meeting at MoD on the on-going Review of Children’s Education Allowance (CEA). NO decisions have yet been made as to how the allowance will be changed in order to deliver necessary cost savings. Options are still being staffed and costed and it will be for Ministers, advised as appropriate by the Service Personnel Board and the Chiefs of Staff, to make decisions as to the future scope of this allowance. The Chairman welcomed the chance to continue to influence this important review and wanted to assure readers that the evidence provided by all those who took the time to get in touch with the Federation has been reflected in the discussions. As soon as we have information on the outcome of this Review, we will provide details via our website and magazine. Only time will tell to what extent the Ministers have been prepared to listen...More information »

Despite the Pay Freeze, Food and Accommodation Charges Rise

Despite the pay freeze and the squeeze on personal finances there are to be increases in both food and accommodation charges. The recommendations of the AFPRB have been issued and accepted in full by the Government. Liam Fox said: "We're tackling a difficult economic situation". All recommendations will be implemented in full from 1 Apr 11...More information »

Spring Issue of Envoy

The Spring Issue of Envoy should be on units or through your letter box shortly.  In this issue: RAF Manning talk Redundancy; Dr Grace Clifton discusses the education of Service children and one wife describes home 'reintergration' following a detachment...
Envoy, the quarterly magazine of the RAF Families Federation is bulk delivered to Stns/Units where there are RAF personnel. On some units they are delivered to Sections and SFA otherwise they are available from the HIVE.   
You can also view it online - Click Here

Monday, 21 March 2011

A 'One-to-One' with The Chief of the Air Staff

Dawn McCafferty, Chairman of the RAF Families Federation requested a meeting with the Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Stephen Dalton. She said: "Such is my concern at the pace of change within the RAF and its potential impact on families, I requested a meeting with the Chief of the Air Staff. I had not seen the need to do this since the Federation launched in November 07 but the Strategic Defence and Security Review has placed new pressure on the Service and I felt a meeting between the Families Federation and the man at the head of the Service was important. CAS agreed. My meeting with him lasted an hour, one-to-one, and I came away reassured that he is acutely aware of the concerns being articulated by many RAF personnel and their families...More information »

RAF Activity in Libya

Over the weekend RAF Tornados from Marham participated in coordinated strikes against Libyan military installations. Liam Fox said: "The jets flew 3,000 miles and back. The operation is supported by VC10 and Tristar air-to-air refuelling aircraft as well as E3D Sentry and Sentinel surveillance aircraft. Our capable and adaptable Armed Forces are once again displaying their courage and professionalism...More information »

Thursday, 17 March 2011

New Website focusing on the Education of Service Children

SCSN is the Service Children Support Network. It is a group of education and welfare professionals working in collaboration with members of the military community. The aim is to encourage and facilitate the provision of high-quality support to Service Children. Why? Because SCSN believe the specific needs of Service Children and their families are frequently overlooked... 

The Royal Couple Support Serving Personnel and their Families

Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton have created a charitable gift fund to help celebrate their wedding and have asked that any member of the public who might wish to give them a wedding gift consider donating to the new fund instead. All charities selected have a particular resonance with the couple and one of their five chosen causes is 'Support for Serving Personnel and their Families'...More information »

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

'Royal' Wootton Bassett

The Prime Minister has announced that The Queen had agreed to give the town of Wotton Bassett the title of 'Royal' as 'an enduring symbol of the nation's admiration and our gratitude to the people of the town'. David Cameron said: "Their deeply moving and dignified demonstrations of respect and mourning have shown the deep bond between the public and our armed forces". Repatriation ceremonies will move to Brize by Sep 11... 

Our Stories in RAF News - Anger at CEA Review

Dear Families Federation, I am angry with the DASA Continuity of Education Allowance survey. I have been in receipt of CEA for seven years serving overseas. It was never our intent to put our children into boarding school. As a Serviceman I accept and can put up with being messed around, but I cannot be expected to gamble on something so important as family happiness and cohesion. Following our heads, not our hearts, we put our daughter in boarding school but what a decision it is to make. The real issue is that entering into CEA is a strategic decision for a family. Once entered into it has to be seen through otherwise the main purpose - stability in education - is lost. The DASA survey line of questioning implies much shorter-term options exist and pitches one dimensional issues against each other when the factors are far more complex, multi-dimensional and inter-related. The survey is biased. It needs to be debunked and an honest appraisal made of why CEA exists. Anything the RAF FF can do to bring this insidious threat to the Servicemen's commitment to the attention of policy makers would be greatly appreciated...More information »

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Hutton Report - What it means for the Services

Lord Hutton has set out his proposals for comprehensive, long-term structural reform of public service pension schemes which includes military pensions. He said: "The current model of public service pension provision is clearly not tenable in the long-term". A spokesman from the Forces Pension Society said: "Career Averaging need hold no fears for the Armed Forces...More information »

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Quarters for Disposal

It has been necessary to dispose of SFA within the RAF estate. Defence Estates have published the list of SFA disposals for the financial year 2010/11. They include properties at Brize, Uxbridge, St Eval, Stanbridge, Watton and Brampton. Where occupants are affected an individual letter detailing the disposal and necessary relocation plan will be sent...More information »

Thursday, 10 March 2011

RAF FF Under the Microscope?

Have you been in contact with the Federation over the last 18 months? If so, the RAF would like your view on how the RAF Families Federation performed and invite you to take part in the '2011 RAF Families Federation User Survey'.Click Here

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

May Elections and Referendum are Looming

The May elections for UK local and devolved government and a referendum on the Alternative Vote system are looming. In order to vote Service personnel need to have registered. The deadline for registrations and changes to existing details is 14 Apr 11. Mark Harper, Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, said, [For those in Afghanistan] "It is only right we make it as easy as possible for them to take part...More information »

Monday, 7 March 2011

Again, No Secret Ballot for those Deployed

Concern has been raised again at the lack of voting provision for those deployed. With referendums and elections due on 5 May 11 there was an exchange in the House of Lords, Lord Rogan said: "We can send a probe millions of light years into deep space and receive back pictures of worlds previously not even contemplated, but somehow the ability to send ballot papers to serving personnel and receive them back before the polls close is one small step just too far for mankind - at least, of the British variety...More information »

Thursday, 3 March 2011

REDUNDANCY - Helping you to do the Maths

An on-line calculator has been launched by the MoD to assist those contemplating redundancy to do the maths. The Armed Forces Redundancy Calculator, as it is known, is available via the MoD website and is able to forecast the monetary effects of Armed Forces Redundancy Programme for individuals personal circumstances. It should however only be used as a guide... 

Maternity Leave - Are Your Details Correct?

Have you taken maternity leave whilst serving? Are you expecting a pension/gratuity at the end of your service? If the answer to these questions is 'yes', it may be worth checking that details of your maternity leave are correctly recorded on JPA. The Federation has been approached by a female veteran, whose pension entitlement was eighty days short. This caused enormous distress...More information »

Biggest Change for 40 years

The government has announced reforms to the Blue Badge Scheme. The most significant changes for forty years. The measures apply to England only at the moment and include removing residency requirements for disabled service personnel and their families who are posted overseas and providing continuous automatic entitlement to a badge for severely disabled Armed Forces personnel...More information »

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Redundancy Fields are Now Available to View

Phase 1 of the RAF Redundancy Programme was announced on the 1 Mar 11. DIN 2011DIN01-060 details how the RAF is looking to make reductions in manpower, and gives the approximate size of those reductions. The DIN showing the fields and also the Compensation Rates are now available in an unclassified form. Click the links to view...More information »

Redundancy - The Cloud of Uncertainty Remains

Phase 1, of what could be a 3-Phase Redundancy Programme is aimed at reducing the number of RAF personnel to 33,500 by 2015. The impact of such dramatic force reductions on serving personnel and their families is clear. Chairman of the Federation, Dawn McCafferty said: “The announcement of the Phase 1 redundancy fields is but one small step in a long process and, for many, the cloud of uncertainty remains. Families will fall into 3 distinct categories: 1) Those who are not eligible for Phase 1 redundancy. Those who wished to .....More information »

Quick Vote

Quick Vote - Has the announcement of the first phase of the redundancy programme made your position in the RAF feel any more secure? Quick Vote

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

RAF Redundancy - Tranche 1

This afternoon full details of Tranche 1 of the RAF Redundancy Programme were announced. AMP said: "I am content that the drawdown of RAF personnel is being delivered through the optimum blend of reduced recruiting intake, the use of all normal manning levers and redundancy. I will continue to review the situtation. I recognise that the Redundancy Programme will, for many, be a source of uncertainty...More information »

Redundancy Announcement Expected

It is expected that the announcement on RAF Redundancies will be made this afternoon Tue 1 Mar 11...More information »

C130 Hit by Small Arms Fire

Small arms fire entered the cockpit of a C130 and bounced off the pilot's helmet yesterday as it was evacuating British nationals from Libya. The MoD confirmed: "One of our C-130 aircraft appears to have suffered minor damage consistent with small arms fire. There were no injuries to passengers or crew. This incident shows how challenging the operating environment has been...More information »