Category Archives: HM Forces Resettlement

From Uniform to Civvies With Harry

According to the Ministry of Defence Armed Forces Annual Personnel Report (1st April 2014) in the year 2013/14 some 640 officers and 20,350 other ranks left the British Armed Forces. Sixty-five percent of those leaving (known as SLs or Service Leavers) were aged between 20 and 34. That comes in at 13,040 officers and other ranks. Who knows what the future holds with regard to these numbers?

On 17th March this year BBC Radio5 Live hosted by Adrian Chiles interviewed many veterans and also AVM Ray Lock of the Forces in Mind Trust . The reason for this interest in Service Leavers, veterans and their transition from the Forces was as a result of the announcement that a certain 30 year-old Captain Wales (Prince Harry) will be leaving the Army after 10 years service. Harry has served his country well and now is moving on – as all service personnel have to do sooner or later.

AVM Lock was exactly right when he listed the hurdles that face all those transiting from uniform to civvies. A single man such as Prince Harry will need to plan for his income, role, and a place to live once having left. Again AVM Lock was right to say that Harry does face these problems although he does have a pretty strong support group. Even so, has Harry planned his exit?

But this blog is not just about Harry. It is also about the many men and women – anything up to 20,000 of them – that leave the Armed Forces each and every year. Men and women that are single or have families, are fit or unfit, are often well prepared for the ‘transition’ but sometimes not prepared enough.

Yes there is a resettlement support function available whilst serving and if a Service Leaver is lucky they will have the full two years to prepare. If they had been made redundant, with the best will in the world, some of those leavers would have been forced into making some quick decisions. Those decisions may sometimes also be made in isolation away from spouses and partners, away from family back home – even under fire.

I started a discussion on LinkedIn just by asking the question, “Do you go where there is work and risk not having the support of family and friends, or do you go where there is family and friends and risk not finding work?”

The responses made one thing obvious and it was that each individual or family may share a core of needs but that those needs are often satisfied differently. The sweeping generalities that are sometimes applied can miss out important needs.

For example, a spouse or partner may attend two briefings – housing and finance – but the rest is down to the Service Leaver. From personal experience (having left the Royal Air Force on two separate occasions) I often had difficulty explaining in detail to my worried partner about what I had learned in the past week. And worried she was, because she was not involved in the fact-finding, decision-making process as much as wanted to be.

And it is not just the immediate family that should be included. Never ignore the contribution of a spouse or partner – they may be the major breadwinner at first. Don’t forget the input from friends and family back home.

Tools such as MAPP Resettlement allow the Service Leaver to include everyone in the planning process from spouse, partner, dependents, resettlement consultants, family back home and even – yes Harry – father and grandmother!

The same MAPP tool prompts the decision-making process and allows tasks to be delegated – all planned over the Internet. Never forget that whilst planning is vital, the inclusion of everyone impacted by the transition in that process is even more important.

So has Harry planned his exit alone? Or will there be an input and support from his immediate family and friends?

Want to know more about Resettlement MAPP? Here are some links:

Related blog posts:


Not Going It Alone

During a recent discussion on LinkedIn the point was raised that it is the skills of you – the Service Leaver (SL) – that are mostly considered when addressing the transition from Forces to Civvy Street.

But there are a substantial number of spouses and partners who are being forced to move on just like their serving halves. They have skills too and often a career path of their own to follow.

The original question on LinkedIn related to the choice made right at the start of the resettlement process. Do you go where the work is and risk accommodation problems and lack of wider familial support or do you go where family support and a place to live and risk not getting work?

But it was commented on that to concentrate on the SL might be missing a trick. A resettlement plan will impact on many people within your circle:

  • Spouses and Partners – the aim of this post.
  • Parents and parents-in-law
  • Girlfriends and boyfriends
  • Dependents The list is not exhaustive!

If others are impacted by your leaving then you must consider them even if you can’t involve them.

But, from here on, this post will address the SL and their spouses and partners.

The resettlement process supports serving members of the Forces as they make the transition between uniform and civvies. But do they in turn have the opportunity to share that process with their partners and spouses? I suspect that in reality there will be a range of situations some of which will be where service personnel in the resettlement process will:

  • Include their spouses and partners completely and fully in the decision making process,
  • Think that they do not need to include their spouses or partners because after all it is not them being discharged,
  • Not get a chance to include anyone else because there is no time or no opportunity.

There will be other situations. But too many where spouses and partners are left outside of the process.

It is a basic premise of change management that everyone who is impacted by a change is involved in the decision-making process. It leads to them taking ‘ownership’ of the change and not being left isolated and hurt.

So when making that choice about where to head – for work or home – consider the skills of your partner or spouse. They might find it easier to get work and provide a buffer whilst you make the move in your head as well as in reality.

Don’t just conduct a SWOT yourself get your partner or spouse to do the same. They might surprise you. They just might make the transition so much the easier.

If you have included them right from the start and in everything that is done they will see the plan as theirs as well. This is called ‘ownership’ and it leads to a greater margin of success when going through a change.

Using an on-line tool like MAPP for Resettlement can provide you with the lines of communication and structured tasking that means whilst you are away your partner or spouse can continue with to process of resettling the family or even just the two of you.

Our advice is to include all those affected by your move. It will make the transition to Civvy Street smoother and more likely to be successful.

MAPP for Resettlement can be found at the MAPPStore – just click on the links below:

Feel free to try the ‘1st Steps’, but if you want to have more support then go to the MAPPStore and buy the full version of Resettlement MAPP for just £8.00p.


Can MAPP Help Our Service Personnel Prepare to Leave the Forces?

We were told earlier this year that “all 3 services have worked hard to limit the numbers of personnel involved throughout the armed forces redundancy programme which has meant that this final tranche will only consist of up to 1,505 personnel.

This will include a maximum of 1,425 soldiers, 10 medical officers from the Royal Navy and 70 medical personnel from the RAF.”

  • Final Tranche of Armed Forces Redundancies
  • From: Ministry of Defence and The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP
  • History: Published 23 January 2014
  • Part of: Defence and Armed Forces

Whilst these figures reflect the final ‘tranche’ of redundancies they hide the fact that in these modern times some 20,000 people leave the Armed Forces each year.

But all Service Leavers share one thing in common – leaving the military life for Civvy Street. Each carries a kit bag full of hopes and fears and many cases along with the hopes and fears of their dependents.

Planning for this move between two distinct worlds can be traumatic and there is the Career Transition Partnership to help out.

Add these two figures together and some 21,000 personnel will leave the armed forces over a 12 month period.

So after having carried out a personal assessment (individual or family needs, money, education and transferable skills to name just a few key parts of that assessment) what one question should every Service Leaver (SL) ask themselves?

It is, “Do I want to move where there is family but a risk in finding work, or do I want to move where there is work but risk feeling isolated?”

When I carried out resettlement advisory sessions with SLs I always came back that question. I believe that everything else follows on from that one decision.

The MAPP has a resettlement planning tool that can help service leavers (SLs) work with dependents, friends and family (both inside and outside the armed forces) on a 24/7 timetable. Tasks can be shared and advice given, meaning an SL (or their spouse or partner) is never alone even when operational tasking takes them right to the wire.