‘Living in our Shoes’ – Independent report on Service families
Update from DIO Accommodation
Andrew Selous MP’s “Living in our Shoes” report was published yesterday. This follows the call for evidence last year for an independent report to capture the unique lifestyle and needs of Service personnel and their families. The report outlines more than 100 recommendations across a range of disciplines to enhance support for Service families.
Chapter 3 of the Report, A Place Called Home: Increasing Choice, covers the accommodation offer and includes a number of recommendations, covering both policy and service delivery. We are pleased that DIO has already met, or is meeting, many of the service delivery recommendations as we continue to improve and invest in our SFA estate. We shall now work with MOD Policy staffs to respond fully to the Report’s recommendations on improving housing services.
Following an internal DIO review, £15M funding for SFA improvement works, which formed part of an earlier savings measure, will now be transferred back to Accommodation. That means the overall Control Total for improvement works this year is £123M – identical to the last financial year. Good progress is being made to deliver the improvement works, with £52M of works already instructed to Amey. We shall again be concentrating on installing new kitchens and bathrooms, replacing boilers, upgrading heating systems, replacing doors and windows, and fitting external wall insulation.
Regeneration of House Moves
DIO and Amey, working closely with Agility, have completed the phased regeneration of house moves covering the deferred period up to mid-October. More than 900 SFA allocations have been made, in addition to support for Move-In/Out appointments and removal service bookings. This has been a tremendous team effort across all agencies to provide support for Service families during what is a particularly anxious time for them. The knock on benefits of the early completion of these allocations is that all other applications for SFA, such as those for betterment moves or from cohabitating couples, can now be considered.
Updated Government guidance on the reopening of Playparks has now been received. To ensure the safety of children and their guardians, the reopening of playparks will involve the installation of additional signage, the application of measures to help maintain social distance, and arrangements for more frequent cleaning of all play areas. These aspects will now be discussed with Amey to determine the best way forward. In the meantime, DIO/Amey maintained Playparks will remain closed until appropriate DIO guidance can be issued to provide the necessary safety levels.
See also: Housing and Accommodation