Service personnel want greater choice in deciding where they live, according to a survey on what the Future Accommodation Model for the Armed Forces should look like…

Launched in August 2016, the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) is being set up to provide the best possible accommodation better suited to the modern Armed Forces and their families – offering a choice based on need, not age, rank or relationship status.

The scheme aims to give personnel greater support in purchasing their own home through initiatives such as ‘Forces Help to Buy’ which helps younger military personnel purchase their first home, and has proven popular with those in lower ranks.

It will also include the option of renting privately, with £450 million being spent to subsidise costs. For those renting, allowances will adjust so that personnel based in more expensive areas will not pay more, so a three-bed property in Cornwall will cost them the same as a three-bed property in London. By giving service personnel greater choice in where they get to live it can also offer more opportunities for military families, like increasing employment prospects for partners and spouses.

Taking place between September and October 2016, this survey is part of an on-going consultation to inform the Ministry of Defence (MOD) accommodation policy development.

Chief of Defence People, Lieutenant General Richard Nugee, said: "The Future Accommodation Model will ensure that our people are offered a greater choice in where they want to live. Over the coming months, we will refine how we do this and look to ensure that service personnel are engaged and listened to every step of the way. This survey will help us immeasurably to better understand what is important to personnel when it comes to where and how they live."

It is vital that the accommodation system works for everybody and reflects the needs of a modern Armed Force. This is why the MOD also refurbished 4,700 military homes last year and is investing over £4 billion to provide better facilities for the Armed Forces and their families.

Future Accommodation Model survey Headline Results

  • FAM is considered attractive by over half of Service personnel – with Junior Officers and Other Ranks more likely to find it attractive then Senior Officers.
  • Over half of Service Personnel feel that FAM is fairer than the current MOD accommodation offer.
  • The most important factor regarding accommodation is the ability to live in good quality accommodation, while the choice of living in either a civilian or military community is considered the least important.
  • For married personnel, and those with children, the second most important factor was the opportunity to live with family and children.
  • There is a clear preference for home ownership across the Services, with over a third of personnel preferring the ‘owning near work’ option.
  • If FAM were widened to include Service Family Accommodation (SFA), offered at the same costs as the ‘Renting near work’ option, then over a third would choose it.
  • Some of the top reasons for choosing FAM options were: to own a property; to choose a location near to what’s important to people; and, because they are financially attractive.

The initial findings can be viewed here and a second tranche of the full data tables will be published in March.

The Ministry of Defence will also be taking into account other evidence gathered, including results from the FAM focus groups and the survey results of the single Service Family Federations, which asked family members and partners of Service personnel for their opinions.