Living in our shoes: understanding the needs of UK Armed Forces families
In January 2019, the then Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson MP, commissioned Andrew Selous MP to conduct an independent review to consider the diverse needs of Service families, assess whether the current support offer is meeting these needs, and make recommendations accordingly. The focus of this review was on currently Serving personnel, including those preparing to leave the Armed Forces, and their families.
Key themes emerged during the review about the challenges experienced by military families today which are regarded as detrimental to modern family life and relationships. These refer to: Service Family Accommodation (SFA); mobility; deployment; the impact of Service life on military children and young people; the employment and careers of spouses/partners; the health and well-being of Serving personnel and family members; and the impact of Service life on personal relationships.
Members of the Armed Forces have a great sense of pride in the work they do and the sacrifices they and their families make. The main review report documents the lived experiences of men, women and children within the Armed Forces community, using their own words throughout.
More than 100 recommendations were outlined in the report addressing some of the issues and challenges faced by military families. The recommendations are targeted primarily at actions for the MOD and the three single Services, but some have implications for other government departments and local authorities in England, the Devolved Governments of the UK, and a range of organisations in the statutory, private and charitable sectors.
The full report includes a number of case studies of support for military families, and describes what it is like to live in their shoes. It provides detailed evidence for the recommendations from the review.