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THE FORCES IN MIND TRUST AND THE INSTITUTE FOR LOCAL GOVERNANCE PUBLISH STUDY INTO KNOWLEDGE SHARING AMONGST ORGANISATIONS SUPPORTING THE ARMED FORCES COMMUNITY

The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) established to help ex-Service men and women make a successful transition back to civilian life, and the Institute for Local Governance, working on behalf of a public sector and voluntary body partnership, have published a report which has considered the knowledge sharing processes and practices of organisations supporting the Armed Forces community in the Northeast of England.

The research was carried out by Professor Rob Wilson and his team at the Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise (KITE) at Newcastle University and included a review of the current procedures and practices of organisations providing advice, guidance and support to the ex-Service community.  Within this research, the barriers and drivers of information sharing were considered, and examples of good practice were identified.

Recommendations in the Report centre on reviewing existing practices to understand where improvements can be made and to identify which practices deliver the most effective support.  The Report also concluded that it is important to create a landscape in which offers of support from all kinds of providers are accessible to ex-Service personnel and their families in the right place at the right time.

The development of better information sharing and associated working practices between those organisations supporting the Armed Forces Community will lead to both a better use of increasingly limited public and charitable sector funds and, more importantly, more effective and targeted support services for the beneficiaries themselves.

Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, Ray Lock, said:  “The findings of this research further build on our evidence base and will enable the many statutory and  voluntary organisations providing support to the Armed Forces Community to share and refine the flow of information and so better shape future planning.  Working with the Institute for Local Governance on this regional project complements our other projects across the UK, such as the Directory of Social Change’s online Guide to the Military Charity Sector released late last year, and Manchester Business School’s study of Integrated Support Networks.”

Professor Rob Wilson commented: “This project has brought together two programmes of work at Newcastle: one in the area of information sharing, the other in military studies. The research conducted for Forces in Mind Trust demonstrates the potential role that improvements in capacity around information sharing could play in the complex environment for the diverse needs of the range of ex-service personnel and their families. The key recommendation is the need to make strategic local investments in improving the infrastructure for co-ordination.  Such investments would achieve more effective joining-up of the joining up between those who provide help with those who need support thereby harnessing the resources and goodwill already available through existing programmes and in the wider local communities.”

Phillip Edwards – Strategy and Implementation Director, Institute for Local Governance said “There is a great deal of useful information and advice in this report. The next steps will be to mobilise the collaboration that has developed between partners to improve information sharing to the ultimate benefit of ex-service users and their families.”

~ENDS~

Notes to Editors

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  • About the Forces in Mind Trust: The Forces in Mind Trust came about  from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (BIG), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations. FiMT continues BIG’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012. Since 2004 BIG has given more than £88 million to programmes supporting veterans. http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.During its first two years, FiMT has commissioned seminal research reports such as the Transition Mapping Study (TMS), which reviewed how the entire transition process from military to civilian life currently works and how it is viewed by stakeholders and recent Service leavers.  The economic model developed for the report calculated the total cost of poor transition to the UK as a whole to be £113 million in 2012, whilst the report itself has been discussed across Whitehall and debated in the House of Lords.
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  • The Institute for Local Governance, hosted by Durham University, is a research and knowledge exchange partnership comprising North East England’s five universities, local authorities, police and fire and rescue services and other key public sector agencies. Further information on the work of the Institute can be found at https://www.dur.ac.uk/ilg/
  • About Newcastle University: The work was led by Professor Rob Wilson from the Centre for Knowledge Innovation Technology and Enterprise(KITE)  in collaboration with Newcastle University staff (including Dr Neil Jenkings from the Military Research group) and visiting researchers.  KITE is a University Research Centre primarily located in Newcastle University Business School with links across the University. It is comprise of over twenty staff members from within the School, together with associates from across the University and many visiting staff from a range of national and international organisations as well as the PhD community. Members comprise the main focus of academic expertise within the institution in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship, information systems and collaboration/partnership. KITE provides a focus for the University’s relationships with the worlds of policy and practice in these areas, with members making significant contributions to academic debates and influencing thinking in business, government and third sector bodies at local, national and international scales working across the three institutional societal challenges: Ageing, Sustainability and Social Renewal.The Military Research group is a network of researchers based at Newcastle University, UK, who all research and teach on military and related themes and work primarily in social science discipline areas. The research that we do includes studies of military land use and military geographies, of military landscapes, of the sociology of armed forces and of the ways that military organisations and activities are represented in cultural and social life. For more information see http://research.ncl.ac.uk/military-research/