Big Survey bottom line

Big Survey bottom line

– by Nicci Shayler, AFF Comms & Marketing Editor

Did you take part in AFF’s recent Big Survey of Army families? It certainly threw up some interesting comments around what families felt about living in a quarter.   

We asked you about how you wanted your quarter to be managed – how to report repairs, raise complaints, apply for a new quarter on that next posting… 

We also quizzed you about whether you felt informed about the potential future of Army housing – the Future Accommodation model (FAM). 

Your comments and experiences were really interesting (as always) and gave us a real insight into how you want to live and the importance of proper engagement and consultation – a no brainer really. 

Let’s take a brief look at three key themes that emerged… 

Communication 

Good communication was vital – we can’t (and wouldn’t want to) understate that point.  

Whether having jargon free, easy-to-understand and factual information about FAM or being able to track what time the (correct) tradesperson coming to repair your taps is going to arrive – we hear you loud and clear that appropriate and meaningful communication is needed, and we’ll continue to champion this. 

“It’s vital that everyone fully understands what is happening, why and when.” 

Access 

You want the nature of modern Army life to be recognised – in this case, one-hour slots for appointments and a swift fix after a missed appointment, which takes into account that both of you are working.   

You also told us that, as the spouse, you want more involvement in applying for housing, by being able to apply online, rather then through Army online systems. Army life is a partnership, and this includes dealing with quarters! 

One comment on our survey summed it up perfectly: “There needs to be more transparency and spouses need to be included more in having access to information which impacts on their lives. My husband has to complete all the paperwork for houses, so I only hear anything second hand. Yet I am expected to wait in for repairs and generally manage the house once we move…” 

Ultimately, if we’re expected to make the phone calls and wait in for the appointments, then, as families, we deserve to be trusted with access to the information we need – something AFF will push for in the next housing contract. 

Value 

The latest FAMCAS survey by the MOD revealed 56% of families don’t feel valued by the Army.  

Whilst everyone won’t always be happy with the decisions made, it’s vital that you fully understand what is happening, why and when. 

One of you commented: “Information currently is useless and normal deadlines are missed and put back all the time. My future in the military hangs in the balance depending on what is decided with housing and/or whether current SFA are brought up to standard.” 

Some of you feel you’re in limbo, not knowing whether future changes to military housing will spell the end of your military journey.  

Valuing you enough so you have sufficient time and information to properly plan your future is an obvious solution – life decisions take planning. 

AFF wants to ensure more families feel valued with information, options and time. 

Read more on the results of AFF’s Big Survey here. 

    Comments

    This made very interesting reading. For too long families have put up with, in the main with a few exceptions, an appalling service when it comes to repairs/maintenance. Time will tell if this new contract is an improvement on the last but I remain sceptical!

    As the costs associated with living in SFA rise, are there any plans to raise the standard of the repairs and maintenance in line with the new prices? In any other sector, a new service level agreement would be put in place alongside higher prices. I don’t see any evidence of that in the Army.

    It seems strange that in one way the military is meant to be moving on from old fashioned norms – more spouses are now working or at least wanting/needing to to fund modern family life and the supply of SFA is being reviewed, for example – yet in other ways, out-dated, unhelpful norms still persist – complete reliance on the soldier to access information about, and apply for, SFA, for example. Isn’t it about time the MOD got their various policies in line so there weren’t constant contradictions between one policy and the next? Does it want us to be independent and able to earn a second income for the family so we can buy our own homes and therefore they can reduce SFA and be less reliant on the system? Or does it need us to be submissive dependents who have so few commitments beyond our soldiers that we’re able to stay in all day and wait for sub-standard repairs to be done (or not, as the case may be) to a house that we had no choice in?

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