The Families Strategy, a new 10-year plan recognising the unique nature of military life and setting out bespoke support for service families, has been published.
The strategy addresses the challenges armed forces families face with mobility, deployment and separation and the implications this has for accessing good quality healthcare, education, and accommodation.
It also notes the evolving nature of family life and the pressures this can place on childcare and managing the career of the partner or spouse alongside that of the Service person.
The strategy will be supported by an action plan that includes the commitments made in the government’s response to Andrew Selous MP’s ‘Living in Our Shoes’ report. The strategy and action plan will be delivered in partnership with the devolved administrations, the charitable and private sectors.
The strategy will deliver lasting, cultural change over the next decade as it brings together innovative policies on health and wellbeing, education and career support.
Improving access to childcare is one of the main workstreams within the Families Strategy, with Wraparound Childcare pilot sites expanding to include Woolwich and Lincolnshire. This means an additional 500 children are now benefitting from the scheme, bringing the total number of children with access to childcare before and after school to 1,500.
The work is part of a drive by defence to better support service personnel and their families and ensure our people can have more fulfilling careers in the Armed Forces.
Minister for Defence People and Veterans Leo Docherty MP said:
Armed Forces families are at the heart of the Defence community and play a key role in the protection of the UK at home and abroad. The strategy seeks to offer choice and flexibility to allow personnel to serve their nation and raise a family at the same time.
Today’s announcements cover childcare education, healthcare and much more to demonstrate our commitment to being a mode modern and inclusive employer – flexible to the needs of our people.
The Families Strategy recognises the exceptional demands placed upon the UK Armed Forces and their families and focuses on health and wellbeing, learning and childcare, developing partners’ careers alongside the serviceperson and career management sensitive to the needs of the family.
The Wraparound Childcare scheme funds before and after school childcare for service children in the UK aged 4 to 11, for up to 20 hours per week. The expansion of this scheme brings the total number of sites to 10 across 5 clusters and is an answer to the demand in those areas. The eligibility will match that of the Government’s tax-free childcare policy.
Read the full Armed Forces Families Strategy 2022 to 2032
Source: Ministry of Defence – All content is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0, except where otherwise stated© Crown copyright