2020 Annual Report

3 min read

Trialling a new approach to housing for service personnel

  • The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is giving thousands of service personnel new options when it comes to deciding where to hang their hats – part of its aim to give service personnel more flexibility in where and how they live, in a way that’s affordable in the long term.
  • In collaboration with the MOD, we’ve designed and launched three pilot programmes testing a new accommodation model in in Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, Aldershot Garrison and RAF Wittering.

While armed-service accommodation is often synonymous with barracks and family bases, three new MOD Family Accommodation Model (FAM) pilots, launched in 2019 and 2020, offer service personnel a different option.

As part of its aim to modernise its accommodation offer while also making it more affordable, we’ve worked closely with the MOD to design and launch three pilots that are trialling a new approach to housing for service personnel.

The Family Accommodation Model pilots

The pilots offer a more flexible option in which service personnel can choose to take a financial subsidy instead of paying for traditional military housing options. They can use this to rent privately with whoever they choose, or even get onto the housing ladder.

The new approach is changing the lives of service personnel in the pilot areas by offering them more choice – with the potential to impact the lives of thousands more service personnel and their families in the future.

FAM has been a lifesaver

Submariner Aaron Chapman and his wife Hannah have moved out of Service Families Accommodation and into a privately rented property with their children thanks to the Future Accommodation Model (FAM).

“Until June of this year we were actually living apart because marital quarters just weren’t working for us” said Aaron. We felt like we had no privacy and that everyone was on top of each other. That meant our whole family was split.”

Hannah, continues: “FAM has been a real lifesaver for us. We chose to rent in the private sector and it means we’ve now got a much bigger property, all for only £7 more than we were paying in SFA.”

Aaron adds “It’s great for us and the kids to feel so comfortable and it’s had a massive impact on family life. Because I know my family are happy, I’m happy to stay in the Navy.”

A detailed operational model

To help the MOD design and trial this new accommodation model, we brought together a team of specialists in real estate, financial modelling, data analytics, tax, audit and human capital.

“We needed a broad mix of skills to develop a clear understanding of the factors that would influence how the MOD could best go about trialling more flexible accommodation options for service personnel” said Deloitte director Katie Lowry.

This included building a picture of how many service personnel might choose to live in privately-rented accommodation and determining what mechanisms the MOD could best use to offer this choice and test its long-term viability.

“Bringing together an understanding of the private rental market, behavioural trends with our financial assurance expertise, we created a model that could test out a range of scenarios.”

Exploring the full range of options was essential to give the MOD a firm financial footing on which to proceed.

Making a difference

As well as offering greater choice, FAM also recognises the changing lifestyles of service personnel, broadening the entitlement for family accommodation beyond those who are married or in civil partnerships to include people in established long-term relationships, and divorced parents with shared custody of children.

“Now the pilots are underway” continues Katie “our role is to work with the MOD to keep developing its understanding of the issues that are important to its people and their families, and how the models are working in practice”.

Due to run until 2023, it’s hoped this work will help inform a significant, positive change to military life.

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