Forces in Mind Trust
Forces in Mind Trust Reservedly Welcomes Government Response to Lord Ashcroft Veterans’ Transition Review
Forces in Mind Trust’s Chief Executive, Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, has welcomed the Government response to Lord Ashcroft on the Veterans’ Transition Review. He says…
We are pleased that the Government has accepted most of Lord Ashcroft’s recommendations, which strongly echoed those we made in our Transition Mapping Study of August 2013. In particular, the key message that the majority of Service personnel transition without difficulty into civilian life and contribute to society economically, socially and in many other areas is one we should all continue to push hard.
“We are disappointed that the MoD has not found a way to change its accommodation charging to use of direct debits – this will continue to mask the true cost to Service personnel of their accommodation, and make their transition into being individually financially responsible all the more difficult. It also runs counter to other initiatives to improve life skills, which we are pleased to see are being considered within the Personal Development Pathway, something Forces in Mind Trust has been advocating alongside improving transferable skills and making CVs more comprehensible.
“The suggestion that the MoD will look at offering spouses employment support is something we would wish to see implemented as soon as possible. Our Transition Mapping Study highlighted the key role the family plays in successful transition, and hence our own programme of work currently underway; but a single mention of spouses, and a complete lack of reference to families suggests that this important aspect of transition is in danger of being overlooked. Lord Ashcroft originally recommended to: ‘make families a greater part of the process of preparing for transition’ and we invite the MoD to do more in this area.
“As the Government has rightly acknowledged, the establishment of the Veterans Research Hub at Anglia Ruskin University, one of the founding objectives of Forces in Mind Trust and hence co-funded by us at the University, will provide an independent source of research: but not just on health, as the response suggests, but on the whole range of Veterans’ issues, including such diverse aspects as housing needs, or local authority information exchange requirements.
“There is both a need and an opportunity to build on the momentum our Transition Mapping Study and Lord Ashcroft’s Review have created, and we would add to the Government’s invitation that Lord Ashcroft ‘maintains an overview of transition’ our own resources. These are reflected in our aim ‘to provide an evidence base that will influence and underpin policy making and service delivery in order to enable ex-Service personnel and their families to lead successful civilian lives,’ which we see as holding the Government to account in the coming years on the genuine implementation of this overall positive response.”
“We are disappointed that the MoD has not found a way to change its accommodation charging to use of direct debits – this will continue to mask the true cost to Service personnel of their accommodation, and make their transition into being individually financially responsible all the more difficult.”