A series of new initiatives aimed at modernising the living and working arrangements for armed forces personnel have been launched by the Defence Secretary…

These new measures, including new flexible working arrangements, expanded accommodation options and new co-habitation rules are designed to modernise the armed forces and ensure the military remains a competitive employer that meets the changing needs and expectations of service personnel and their families.

As of April 1st regular personnel can apply for Flexible Service, allowing them to work part-time for a defined period, and giving them the option to restrict the amount of time they would spend away from their home and their families, such as by limiting their deployability.

A new pilot scheme is to be launched that will allow service personnel more choice in their accommodation, allowing them to rent homes off base, potentially with partners, friends, or military colleagues, rather than living on site.

Finally, new policy is being introduced to allow couples in long-term relationships, including same sex couples, to live together in surplus Service Family Accommodation (SFA), subject to availability. Currently only married couples, those in civil partnerships, and those with legally dependent children can live in SFA.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “It’s hugely important that the armed forces keep pace with modern society, creating a more attractive option to live, work and bring up a family. By making our policies fairer and more flexible, we will help retain our diverse and talented workforce and give them greater freedom as they carry out their service.”

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said: “Personnel have told us that they want more flexible working arrangements and so I’m delighted these measures are now in place. This new package of modern measures will help us retain personnel who want a more flexible approach to how they live, work and serve.”