The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), established to help ex-Service men and women make a successful transition back to civilian life, has awarded a grant of £75,000 to RAND Europe to review the relevant literature available concerning several aspects of the transition process for military families.

Each year, 20,000 personnel leave the Armed Forces and this transition affects both Service leavers and their families.  There is growing recognition that families of Service personnel could be better supported in their transition from military to civilian life.

Building on FiMT’s publication entitled ‘Better Understanding the Support Needs of Service Leaver Families’ (March 2015) , RAND Europe has been engaged to conduct a systematic review to help FiMT develop a better understanding of the existing evidence base and gaps in the available literature on several important issues.

The systematic review will focus on four areas:

  1. Engagement with families – A recurring theme throughout the stakeholder engagement programme was the lack of engagement with families before and during transition. The systematic review here will focus on understanding families’ engagement with service providers, barriers to successful engagement and ways to overcome them
  2. Family breakdown – This element of the systematic review will focus on research around relationship breakdown between a serving person and their spouse with particular focus on the comparisons with the civilian population and whether military transition acts as a trigger for a relationship breakdown
  3. Family housing and support needs – Another recurring theme of the stakeholder engagement programme was the difficulty some families reportedly experienced in finding suitable housing when leaving MOD-provided Service Families Accommodation, whilst undergoing transition. The focus here will be on families’ access to information before and during transition.
  4. Spousal employment – The final area of the review will look at spousal employment, focusing on understanding potential barriers to spousal employment and ways to overcome them, and also the benefits to ex-Service personnel of having a spouse in employment.

RAND Europe is an independent not-for-profit research institute whose mission is to help improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis.

This study was commissioned following FiMT’s Families Engagement Programme and to continue FiMT’s work in supporting families.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “We are delighted to be working with RAND Europe, who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to this important area of research. The findings from this research will enable us to further build on our evidence base by commissioning a coherent programme of projects that will provide the evidence necessary to influence how the families of Service personnel transitioning back to civilian life can best be supported.”

Dr Susanne Søndergaard, the project leader at RAND Europe, says: “We are delighted that the Forces in Mind Trust have awarded us this grant to undertake this important research. We will be combining expertise from multiple research areas to provide a robust systematic review of the evidence base, focusing on the understanding of the issues experienced by military families as they transition into civilian lives. The project is still in its early phase, but we expect the project to identify potential evidence gaps in the literature, which will enable Forces in Mind Trust and other organisations working with military families to understand better where more work is needed.”


– Ends –

Notes to Editors
For more information, please contact:

To download the Families Engagement Programme Report please click this link:

 About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

  • FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (The Fund), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations. FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012. Since 2004 the Fund has given more than £88 million to programmes supporting veterans
  • The aim of FiMT is to provide an evidence base which will influence and underpin policy making and service delivery in order to enable ex-Service personnel and their families to lead successful civilian lives.
  • FiMT awards grants (both reactive and proactive) and commissions research along three key themes: Evidence, Innovation and Collaboration. All work is published to a high standard of reportage to add to the evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made. Read more about those FiMT have helped and reports they have published at the links below: