Responding to the MOD’s announcement of increased support for Service Leavers Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive at Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), says:
“The creation of the Defence Transition Service is a welcome step in the right direction. The enhanced support it offers the most vulnerable will have a big impact; but as a modest resource, it has to be targeted at those who need it most to be effective. The majority of people who leave the Armed Forces make a smooth transition to civilian life. But some do struggle, and they must be given the right support when they first need it.
“There is already much excellent work being done to support ex-Service personnel as they rejoin civilian life. The new Defence Transition Service will need to integrate with existing services provided by the public and charitable sectors. Service leavers, and in particular the most vulnerable, need to be identified early and signposted to the most appropriate services available.
“The 2016 FiMT-funded Stoll outreach programme in London demonstrated how those facing particular difficulties during transition, such as housing, employment and health issues, can be targeted to ensure they receive the best support possible (Report here). We are pleased to see that the Government is now developing a more holistic approach to the support that the Defence Transition Service promises to provide.”
“The Forces in Mind Trust has been promoting a holistic approach to transition since 2013 when it published its TMS Report, highlighting that ‘the whole family is transitioning, not just the Service leaver.”
“The MOD is stepping up its support for veterans’ transition to civilian life. The acid test though will be whether the Defence Holistic Transition Policy published today translates into practice, particularly on such key areas as the translation of military skills into the workplace, overcoming misperceptions of veterans, and sharing data”.