Information from Command and MOD

Information for families during the coronavirus outbreak

Contents

01   Defence arrangements for 14-day quarantine when entering the UK

The MOD has issued guidance on how the COVID-19 border health measures will impact Service personnel and their families.

General advice
For general advice, including information about Service personnel returning from overseas assignments, families returning from overseas assignments and families based overseas returning for visits, please click here.

Children returning from overseas to UK boarding school
The MOD has provided a guidance for Service personnel based overseas with children attending boarding school in the UK. This information is available on our allowances page.

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02   R&R

My serving partner is currently deployed on operations or due to deploy. Will they still get R&R?
Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, R&R is not currently being granted. The MOD realises that this will result in some personnel having missed out on their opportunity to take R&R and that others will also miss out until restrictions are lifted and R&R is reinstated.

Although R&R is not an entitlement, the MOD has introduced a temporary policy amendment to allow those Service personnel who are unable to take their R&R due to COVID-19 to be awarded five days’ annual leave for each period of missed R&R.

For more information, please ask the Service person to speak to their unit admin team.

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03   Return to routine assignments

The Army has started planning to begin the gradual return to routine assignments for individuals, seeking to minimise disruption for Service personnel and their families.

The gradual return to routine assignments will be done in phases, with most Service personnel likely to move approximately three months later than originally planned. These personnel moving will do so with appropriate measures in place in line with MOD and Government guidance.

The Army has provided FAQs about the return to routine assignments. Click here for a handy infographic.

For information about rebasing moves, please see our rebasing page.

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04   Operational tours

My serving partner is about to deploy on operations or is deployed on operations. Where do I get more info about whether this will go ahead or whether they will remain deployed?
In the first instance, speak to your Service person’s unit, via the unit welfare team.

You may also find the Army’s website helpful, which contains information about amendments to British Army events and training.

Are operational deployments still going ahead?
Many operational deployments are going ahead as planned, with some changes to deployment dates due to the impact of COVID-19.

Will the Service person be protected?
As the effects of COVID-19 become more apparent, the MOD will continue to conduct sensible and proportionate planning to ensure the welfare of our personnel is protected, while maintaining essential operational duties.

Which operations will go ahead and which won’t?
Decisions to alter or cancel deployments or exercises are made on a case-by-case basis. Information on specific deployments for each unit will be communicated via the chain of command.

When deploying our Forces across the world, the MOD recognises and respects measures put in place by individual nations and partners to mitigate the COVID-19 virus and will abide by them.

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05   Army training

Why did the Army pause training?
As COVID-19 related public health protection measures were implemented in March, the Army suspended most training to maintain their ability to respond to the crisis and to contribute to reducing the spread of COVID-19.

The essential training directly linked to supporting operations and COVID-19 support has continued.

Why is the Army seeking to resume training?
The Army needs to be ready to respond to future crises and therefore needs to train effectively, particularly any high readiness Forces.

In addition, the Army needs to ensure it has enough personnel to undertake future tasks. It must, therefore, continue to train its new recruits.

What measures are in place to enable the Army to resume training?
The Army has sought expert medical advice and is ensuring that appropriate public health procedures will be put in place in relation to social distancing, hygiene and the use of PPE wherever practicable during training.

The Army is working on redesigning some courses, including using the first two weeks of courses to monitor students in a controlled environment to ensure that they are virus free as they resume training.

Sometimes the nature of Army training means that it is not possible to comply fully with Government guidance. In these cases, the Army will reduce risk to individuals to as low a level as reasonably practicable, ensuring it is properly managed and recorded.

When will the Army resume training?
The priority for resuming training is as follows:

  • Basic training for soldiers and officers whose training was disrupted
  • New candidate recruits training
  • Initial trade training
  • Subsequent trade training

As conditions allow, training will be expanded to enable unit and collective training.

Will overseas training continue?
Yes, but not immediately. Resumption will be conditional on being able to travel and train safely overseas and on the agreement of host nation governments.

When will training begin again?
It will resume but the Army cannot specify dates at this stage.

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06   Letter from Chief of Defence People to Service families

The Chief of Defence People, Lieutenant General James Swift OBE, has written to Service families to provide reassurance during the COVID-19 outbreak and outline the support available during these uncertain times.

The full letter
Annexe B
Annexe C

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07   Armed Forces key workers

Families have been asking AFF about whether their serving partner or spouse is considered a key worker. The MOD has issued guidance on this, which should be available from the serving person’s chain of command (COVID-19 Advice Note 4: Key Workers). This info is correct as at 30 Mar 2020.

The Government defines a key worker as an individual that is considered critical to the continued delivery of essential public services or critical to the UK’s response to COVID-19.

The Department for Education will make best efforts to maintain educational provision to allow these key workers to continue to deliver these essential services, where their children cannot be safely cared for at home. 

Before a member of the armed forces is designated as a key worker, the chain of command is expected to be sure that the serving person is essential to directly assisting or deliver essential operations. This includes the MOD’s response to COVID-19, as well as sustaining Defence needs during the next six months.

The chain of command will make the decision as to who they identify as key workers. The decision on who is a key worker may change as the Defence response to COVID-19 develops. They have been provided with examples of the considerations they should think about when deciding which serving personnel are to be classed as key workers.

The MOD also asks families to note that schools may not be able to provide the required schooling for key workers, due to their own staff shortages or where demand is greater than that which the school can provide.

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08   Services Cotswold Centre

During the COVID-19 lockdown, the Services Cotswold Centre (SCC) accommodation is still available for welfare purposes, although some of the facilities are reduced in order to comply with Government guidelines.

If you are a parent seeking accommodation for contact with your child/children, please search for the SCC online and submit the application form.

The SCC can also support any military family fleeing domestic abuse. In this situation, please contact your welfare team.

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