Operational Welfare Packages

Discussion in 'Charities and Welfare' started by Purple_Flash, Jul 29, 2004.

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  1. Excellent

    21.1%
  2. Very Good

    10.5%
  3. Good

    31.6%
  4. Fair to Middling

    21.1%
  5. Poor

    15.8%

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  1. Purple_Flash

    Purple_Flash War Hero Moderator

    As we all know, people of influence who stalk the corridors of power read ARRSE. It is one of the great strengths of this site that it can raise issues from the front line and get them noticed in LAND and further up the chain on a 'no names, no pack drill basis.' This bypasses levels of command in a useful way because some people have a vested interest in telling those above them what they want to hear rather than what is true because they think that it will get them a better grading.

    I have started this thread so that you can let the great and the good know what you think of the Operational Welfare Package. Thumbs or thumbs down? What would YOU like to see added to it? (Please be sensible; cost issues aside, one Britney Spears can only go so far amongst the whole army!)

    It would be helpful to those whom we wish to reach with this info if you could specify what OP you are on, as long as it does not breach OPSEC / PERSEC.

    The floor is yours...
     
  2. On telic, i found the OWP to be fine, once we had everything in place. There were frustrations, being delivered a tele, sat receiver etc and no compatible receiver card (which took a couple of months to aquire from a dubious source!!), but we were looked after, and i was pleased with it.

    There are things we could do without breaking the bank, that would make life better for deployed personnel. Most people have a pc at home and alot of people have a webcam, if they dont, they know someone who does. The provision of internet computers with increased bandwidth which would allow people to use msn messanger/yahoo messanger etc to have a video chat with their families once or twice a week would be a great improvement.

    I know some deployed units provide this facility, but if it were available to all it would improve the situation. And the cost? Its down to bandwidth, which i admit is expensive, but weigh the cost against the improved conditions of the deployed personnel. I managed to get our distant system managers to allow msn messanger over the firewall, and using video chat meant that i saw the missus and the nipper neally daily, and the tour seemed to fly by.

    Boney
     
  3. Purple_Flash

    Purple_Flash War Hero Moderator

    Not the first time I have heard this - in fact, everywhere I have been we have been dependent on experienced hands bringing a card with them from home because the cards take ages to arrive and often the issued ones, when they arrive, run out and it takes weeks to get a new one due to some J1 SO3 bunny been unable to predict when a year's subscription ends!

    The solution should be easy, let's hope that satellite card forethought is added to the OWP management scheme!
     
  4. Flyingrockdj

    Flyingrockdj War Hero Moderator

    OWP Broadcast facilities are provided by SSVC/BFBS
    Sky and the like don't work in most Op areas but the BFBS Sat does as it is aligned for max coverage.
    OWP Provide TV and a compatible Digital Satbox(not sky) and BFBS provide the viewing cards free.
    Most areas you can get Sky there are a limited amount of welfare cards issued free by sky.
    Most units problems are caused by by-passing the system or being greedy and wanting one TV kit per bedspace!
    Or the QM who nicked the welffare Telly kit for his own tent and then reported it missing!
     
  5. I reckon the package is pretty good, and compares favourably with what the other nations have (save, perhaps the Scandinavian sauna and the Finnish 3 weeks on/ 1week home shift system). The one thing I wonder: why, with so much sat TV and film provision, do we persist with naff and expensive CSE shows.I know it's something tangible, "doing something for the lads" and all that, but surely we've moved past the "it aint half hot mum" era. I'm sure that the thousands that each show cost could be better spent on something else eg enhanced internet access.
     
  6. Purple_Flash

    Purple_Flash War Hero Moderator

    I think that there is something to be said for that. Some of the acts I have seen have been... well, poor. The internet is so much a part of modern life and an invaluable means of contact with home and hence a major morale boost that much more money should be put into it.
     
  7. What about adventure training course. For example theory course offered like sailing navigation theory, mountain adventure course, canoeing etc. System has the kit and the instructors. may notbepossible in all theatres but better to leave with something worthwhile achieved during a tour
     
  8. I think we are in danger of becoming victims of our own success, with every improvement comes the expectation of more; unfortunately this costs and no one can be in any doubt that our funds are stretched.

    A little over ten years ago I went to Bosnia. CSE shows aside our only concession was the bluey; no phone cards (and the local phones when you could get to one back in Split were so expensive we didn't ring home very often), Internet was non existent. The only TVs were those with satellite cards obtained from some dubious sources.

    Nowadays we get 20 minutes per week free phone calls with extra at Christmas. Free Internet access, blueys and eblueys, home bases get a pound per spouse per week to spend on welfare facilities, we get TV/radio and the kit to receive it, we get papers, board games, DVDs and Videos; okay we still get the odd cheesy CSE show and the dreaded grip and grin but they do break a tour up (but I do like Jim Davidson-he is so non PC and that maniac juggler that does the rounds). I have probably missed a few other elements but we don't do badly - and lets face it going on an op tour is not supposed to be all telly, rest and chatting with home (that's why we get the X factor).

    That said there are improvements to be made - early entry comms packs for instance (and I believe this is in hand). I have certainly used MSN Messenger (and v good it is too), video links might be a good idea but as pointed out there is a cost involved - and I would balance it against the potential detrimental effect of making a soldier homesick/upset or otherwise emotional when his/her mind should be on the job in hand.

    A top idea asking the question.
     
  9. When available the welfare package is excellent, however any talk of cost pales into insignificance when you consider we are one of the few armies delpoyed to Iraq who pay income tax.

    I might be enclined to forgo one or two of the niceties available in the care package such as satellite television and internet if I were not paying the government 25% (or more) of my income to fight its war.

    If you were not paying income tax while deployed on an operational tour it would mean the following extra in your pay packet (figures approximate, but you get the idea):

    Private Soldier £85/week (£2,218 for a 6 month tour)
    Lance Corporal £113/week (£2,948)
    Platoon Sergeant £143/week (£3,725)
    Company Sergeant Major £182/week (£4,738)
    Platoon Commander £122/week (£3,180)
    Company Commander £202/week (£5,248)

    Focuses the mind a little, doesn't it...?
     
  10. I'm putting together some airboxes of stuff to send/Been sent to clients of ours in various spots, mostly sandy(who have "allegedly" been naughty).

    Blimey, with sat tv/t'tinternet etc it makes my FHM 'n suncream combos look shabby! :oops:

    What would really hit the spot for those brave (and not really that guilty) boys feel better? I have repeatedly clouted my boss-man and can now cover it from petty-cash, so nothing ARRSE-tearing. More Blueys? Sweeties? Marmite? Lorraine from Reception?

    Gis a clue, Billy.... :?
     
  11. I remember being told that much of our operational welfare package is financed through EFI profits (the element that units usd to receive as a rebate). I think it's a bit rich that soldiers are paying for their own welfare by the back door, whilst the high and mighty are claiming that the system is doing so much for the happless Tom.
     
  12. And whilst we're on the subject, what the deal with "welfare fitness equipment?" Going to the gym is at best a painful necessity in (army) life. It's not my idea of fun/leisure/entertainment. Who'se bright idea was it to spend the meagre welfare budget on training facilities? Next they'll be using welfare money to pay for ORP's (welfare as you dine!) :twisted:
     
  13. Someone is having a laugh. EFI couldn't generate the sort of profits needed to fund OWP - no it comes out of the funding for the operation.
     
  14. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    One aspect that those in power should look at is OWP for hospital patients. On Saif Sareea patients had no access to TV, and only one phone per hospital was available for them to make their 20 min calls on. I gather that the phone situation has been improved upon on Op Telic (except where TA staff take the phones back to their accom!), but the hospitals are still scaled for TV/DVD etc on the basis of their staff establishment. Given that a fd hosp can have 200 beds, and many patients cannot get to a central point, there provision should be on a per ward basis.
     
  15. In my little corner of sunny Iraq we weren't entitled to the OWP because there were so few of us Brits around. In the end, we coughed up for satellite TV ourselves but I still wasn't able to persuade the OWP wallahs to give us a BFBS decoder card, which would have been nice. The G1 at div did give us a satellite welfare phone, but that was a favour rather than an entitlement. My own view was that Brit TV etc would have been a considerable comfort, not least in November and December last year when we were copping incoming most nights and relying on some very unreliable allies to protect us. The word from Shaibah, however, was 'tough shite'.