Skip to main content

Armed Forces: Families

Volume 457: debated on Wednesday 7 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many people his Department employs for liaison with the families of armed forces personnel; and what aspects of service life and issues these staff are responsible for dealing with; (121891)

(2) how much has been spent on family liaison in 2006-07.

The welfare and community support of service personnel and their families is core MOD business. This includes family liaison, which has always been exercised by personnel who have command responsibility as an integral part of their duties.

Each of the three services has robust structures in place to support and liaise with families and service individuals; the support offered is wide-ranging and tailored to the requirements of the individual concerned. Examples of this include the support provided to families when the service spouse is deployed on operations. In such circumstances, units organise families’ briefing sessions, coffee mornings, crèches and community social events. Assistance is also provided to enable families to keep in touch with their loved ones through the provision of publicly funded internet and email terminals at local community and education centres.

Specialist charitable organisations such as the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmans’ Families Association and the Army Welfare Service are also available to offer assistance. Services offered overseas include the running of the confidential helpline and the provision of contracted community support, some medical care and social work elements. In the UK, they may come into contact with families for a whole host of reasons. The issues dealt with span the full spectrum of service and private life issues that may affect individuals or families from time to time.