Image of the Chief of Defence People

Wednesday 25th March 2020

The Chief of Defence People (CDP), Lieutenant General James Swift OBE has written a letter to all military families:

Dear families,

I wanted to write to you in these unprecedented times to provide some reassurance that we understand the concerns many of you have and that we are actively addressing how we can make things easier for you.

I’d like to thank you for the sacrifices you and your family make in supporting our Service Personnel at home and overseas and emphasise that your role is invaluable and essential to Defence outputs; this has never been truer in these challenging, uncertain times.

Those of you with children, like me, will be considering the potential impact to their education and the additional burden this places on the home environment.  For families with additional needs I am keenly aware that the disruption to routine and specialist provision will add a layer of complexity.

As the response to the Coronavirus progresses we will continue to be asked to adapt our behaviours and lifestyles to protect the most vulnerable people in our society.  This is essential to manage capacity in the health system.  Many of us will adapt to working from home.  Key workers, including many in the Armed Forces will continue to go to work to protect the nation.  They will not be able to do this without your support, which makes it all the more important that you are adequately supported by us and that the impact on your home life and your own careers is recognised. 

My team and I in Defence People, in partnership with the single Services and Families Federations, are working through these implications as a priority, to hopefully allay some of the concerns you will have.  Guidance is included with this letter, some of which you may have received via your partner’s Chain of Command addressing financial hardship and the potential impact to allowances.  Attachments A-C will be relevant for most families and D-F for a small minority of families claiming specific allowances and expenses.  For those of you concerned about your financial situation you should be aware that the military can request consideration for an advance of pay (JSP 754 Chap 7). 

As things become clearer and we better understand what this means you will receive further guidance in other areas.  We will utilise all avenues available to us to keep you up to date including; the Chain of Command, the Families Federations, HiVES and the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS).

There are also various Armed Forces charities which are available to provide you with additional, specialist support.  Attached to this letter I have provided contact details for some of the key organisations.

Lastly, I wanted to wish you all well and to urge you to keep in touch with each other and offer support to the most vulnerable.  Please do so while continuing to adhere to the Government’s latest guidelines and socially isolating wherever practicable.

Thank you for your unwavering support.

Lieutenant General James Swift OBE

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