First families policy roundtable held at Army Headquarters

Posted on 19 November, 2021 by Advance 

The first in a new series of meetings has taken place at Army Headquarters in Andover, Hampshire, aimed at improving understanding of the issues affecting the families of British Army personnel and how they can best be resolved.

Image courtesy British Army / MoD

The families policy roundtable, chaired by Major General Paul Griffiths, the Army’s Director of Personnel focused on a range of topics which included feedback from the Families Continuous Attitude Survey (FAMCAS), the issues concerning our non-UK personnel and families and the effect Service life has on spousal employment.

Colonel Leigh Drummond, Assistant Head Army Personnel Services said it was important to hold this conference and have all parties represented: “The Army and the Army Families Federation (AFF) work together across a range of issues to improve the lived experience of our Service Personnel and their families.

"Conferences such as this present an opportunity to ensure we have a common understanding of the issues we are addressing and to determine what tangible actions we can take in the near term that will deliver the greatest benefit to our people.”

The common goal agreed by all was to work closer to ensure an understanding of the needs of families and to improve both worth and value. There was also a desire to bring together what families think and align those thoughts with what soldiers want.

Collette Musgrave, the Army Families Federation’s Chief Executive Officer said the meeting was very positive: “I think it was the real willingness from the Army side to listen where family’s priorities are rather than make decisions purely based on money or policy.

"It is incredibly important for us to be able to work in a constructive manner with the people who are responsible for developing the policy and implementing the processes that directly affect our Army families. We have to make sure the families of Army personnel are heard by those that are making decisions.”

Collette adds that she is pleased this will be the first of many meetings: “This is a real great step forward for Army families. We’ve always had a good relationship with Army decision makers.

"But to do it in a structured way where you have all the stakeholders around one table and talking through issues can only be the best way forward to address Army family issues.

Colonel Drummond was also enthused by this first meeting and was pleased how all parties had the same objectives in mind: “The collaborative nature of the discussion highlighted a real desire to work together to resolve some of people’s most pressing issues.

"It was also heartening that our day-to-day interactions had enabled a sound basis from which to develop those tangible actions we can begin to work towards and deliver in the near term.”