To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements are currently made to assist service personnel returning from active service in Iraq and Afghanistan to adjust to civilian life. [HL1256]
The Question bridges two related areas: first, enabling personnel to adjust to life back at the home base and, secondly, arrangements for resettlement to assist personnel making the transition to civilian life.
The services aim to manage in an appropriate manner the return from the rigours of active service to the very different conditions pertaining at home, acknowledging the stresses to which personnel have been subjected. The three services accord this normalisation process a high priority, although their procedures, which meet their particular needs, differ. All personnel are given a series of briefings covering a wide number of relevant issues such as driving safety, relationship expectation management and coping with stress. They are also given relevant points of contact to whom they can turn should they find themselves in need of help. Where a whole unit has been on active service, its personnel go together through a 36-48 hour decompression package in Cyprus. Bespoke arrangements are made for reservists which include interviews and specific aftercare briefs to ensure that they aware of the support available to them.
The MoD has resettlement arrangements in place for all service leavers. Those who have served six years or more are entitled to the full resettlement programme which includes: a three-day career transition workshop, use of a career consultant, a job finding service, re-training time and a re-training grant. Those who have served between four and five years are assisted with job search using career consultants while those with less than four years’ service are advised during internal unit resettlement interviews. The standard of MoD's resettlement provision was praised in the National Audit Office's July 2007 report Leaving the Services.