Royal Navy Manning - Extreme Solutions Being Tried

I wonder why more senior military folks don't live off-base in private accommodation?...
It varies significantly between services but most do (including myself) in the RAF.

...It strikes me as a bit old-fashioned to be completely dependent on HMG for the quality of one's accommodation...
We're not; with a small number of exceptions, any serviceman can choose to live where he wants.

...What would the barriers be to living off-base if soldiers, sailors and airmen were provided a monthly stipend for that purpose?
Local market costs, local market availability, security, health, equality laws, education, jobs availability for spouses, the additional costs of transporting personnel to and from work, willingness of servicemen and their spouses to live in specific areas (eg Scotland), erosion of ethos, duty of care for young servicemen.

Basically, what you have described is the Future Accommodation Model which some would suggest is about as realistic as expecting President Trump to divert NRA funding to a hostel for abused Mexican women.

Regards,
MM
 
I wonder why more senior military folks don't live off-base in private accommodation? It strikes me as a bit old-fashioned to be completely dependent on HMG for the quality of one's accommodation. What would the barriers be to living off-base if soldiers, sailors and airmen were provided a monthly stipend for that purpose?
Because I already pay for a mortgage- it certainly wouldn't be feasible or worthwhile financially for me to rent a place at civilian rates on top of that. But the fact is I still spend 5/7ths of my average week living in Service accommodation. In my opinion, having somewhere decent to put your head down shouldn't be a factor of rank or seniority in the slightest- pay is there to diffentiate higher rank/responsibility. Basic levels of decency as to how you treat people, such as the standards of where you live, shouldn't. In fact, I'm a believer that, as the most vulnerable, the junior ranks should have the best accommodation on camp if anyone should. If Colonels and Group Captains had to live to the same accommodation standards as their junior ranks, I'm sure those standards would be a lot higher than they currently are. Even if you don't agree with my naive and idealistic position (and I'm sure most won't), you must accept that accommodation standards is a factor in retention?

The stipend to pay to live off camp certainly is a method that various other countries Armed Forces use, to varying degrees of success (I've heard about the US and Aus). In some ways we have something similar here, with SSSA and private rents for location where there's a shortage of quarters. But it's gets very complicated- is it a fixed amount? So what happens in locations where the rent is more expensive? At Brize Norton, the mass renting of local private housing by the MoD to make up shortfalls in SFA caused a 'microclimate', where the laws of supply and demand pushed up local rental prices significantly. Ok for the individual (and the landlords, obviously) if the MoD is picking up the bill, but if it's just a fixed allowance, not so good. I believe the Future Accomodation Model is looking at something like that- but from my experience with NEM, the proposed New Joiner Offer etc, it won't be effective, or even particularly fit for purpose. But it will be cheaper to the MoD.
 
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Because I already pay for a mortgage- it certainly wouldn't be feasible or worthwhile financially for me to rent a place at civilian rates on top of that. But the fact is I still spend 5/7ths of my average week living in Service accommodation. In my opinion, having somewhere decent to put your head down shouldn't be a factor of rank or seniority in the slightest- pay is there to diffentiate higher rank/responsibility. Basic levels of decency as to how you treat people, such as the standards of where you live, shouldn't. In fact, I'm a believer that, as the most vulnerable, the junior ranks should have the best accommodation on camp if anyone should. If Colonels and Group Captains had the live to the same accommodation standards as their junior ranks, I'm sure those standards would be a lot higher than they currently are. Even if you don't agree with my naive and idealistic position (and I'm sure most won't), you must accept that accommodation standards is a factor in retention?
This ^ ^
In bloody spades & with knobs on.
 
I wonder why more senior military folks don't live off-base in private accommodation? It strikes me as a bit old-fashioned to be completely dependent on HMG for the quality of one's accommodation. What would the barriers be to living off-base if soldiers, sailors and airmen were provided a monthly stipend for that purpose?
Because they are moved around frequently

Wouldn’t many senior officer appointments also come with a designated house??
 
The accomodation/messes, apart from the lucky few in the 'good' blocks, definitely isn't something that, as you say, could even remotely be described as a "decent room in a decent block at the end of a days work".
Accomodiation apart shouldn’t the mess be self funding?

I think this point can be applied across all three services, until there is a catastrophic failure of a platform clearly as a result of the recent (mid 00's onwards) cost cutting & funding reductions & a public inquiry resultant thereof, i can't see any change in higher ups attitude. As long as we keep saying nothing too controversial & rocking the promoton/knighthood boat or otherwise enabling such cuts in capability we'll always be making do with what we've got.
On the retention & future recruiting side of things, until we can provide the measurable equivalent in terms of service T&Cs & 1st rate accom & support why should anyone starting out in their chose career even consider one of the services, unless they are 'born' to it.
No good deed goes unpunished I’m guessing

Heaven forbid improving the lot of the troops (and retention) would be considered important
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
I wonder why more senior military folks don't live off-base in private accommodation? It strikes me as a bit old-fashioned to be completely dependent on HMG for the quality of one's accommodation. What would the barriers be to living off-base if soldiers, sailors and airmen were provided a monthly stipend for that purpose?
Because even Senior personnel can deploy, be told to work far away and instead of dragging the family around you can base yourself at one MQ patch, surround your family with likeminded
people who will be supportive and social. It's a good recruiting and retention tool, even with the housing and repair issues. Far being completely dependant it's a question of choice and for many it still is a very good option.

For sailors there is pretty much no barrier to living off base, our families don't live behind the wire either (in general).
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
IOn the retention & future recruiting side of things, until we can provide the measurable equivalent in terms of service T&Cs & 1st rate accom & support why should anyone starting out in their chose career even consider one of the services, unless they are 'born' to it.
I don't think the MQ are that bad - especially if you look at what we pay and compare it to the civilian market we dip in massively.
 
Because they are moved around frequently

Wouldn’t many senior officer appointments also come with a designated house??
Virtually none.

I don't think the MQ are that bad - especially if you look at what we pay and compare it to the civilian market we dip in massively.
Perhaps not MQs. However, SLA is mostly dire.

Regards,
MM
 
I don't think the MQ are that bad - especially if you look at what we pay and compare it to the civilian market we dip in massively.
Couldn't agree more, I think its one of the better perks we have. Friends of mine pay around £450pcm for a house in Bucks that comes in at £650,000 on Zoopla. Go figure.
 
Accomodiation apart shouldn’t the mess be self funding?
Possibly. Or then again it could be subsidised, and the MoD accepts the subsidy as a business expense, and includes it as part of the 'package'. Same with food, mess dress, subsidised cycles through work, gym membership etc. etc. All just decisions as to what you want to achieve, how you achieve it, and how much you're prepared to spend achieving it, I suppose.

I do know my room costs me around £140 a month, on top of what I pay for my mortgage, for the privilege of not living not in my house Monday-Friday. So that's an expense I factor in when I'm considering what the 'package' offers me. I also know (not anecdotally, but actually) of a number of people who have turned down promotion, because the pay rise/pension increase doesn't cover the additional accommodation and travel expenses that the associated posting would bring. No problem to the Service, they just go down the list and keep making the promotion offer until someone accepts. Which again means you're not necessarily promoting the most able or deserving. And that is another factor in the decline of the standard of experience and supervision I mentioned earlier. It's all a bit of a perfect storm really, but I feel a lot of it is a self-inflicted one.
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
Magic_Mushroom said:
. However, SLA is mostly dire
In our main Naval Bases SLA is pretty good and getting better. I think the older RM units have issues and some of the establishments like Collingwood need updating but again you look at the relative prices being paid and compare that to market rates if you were a civvy.
 
In our main Naval Bases SLA is pretty good and getting better. I think the older RM units have issues and some of the establishments like Collingwood need updating but again you look at the relative prices being paid and compare that to market rates if you were a civvy.

is that part of the problem?

i'm playing devils advocate here a bit as i've said the same in the past but if living somewhere is pretty c**p telling people how lucky they are to have such cheap accommodation is unlikely to change the way they feel about where they live, but it will make them feel undervalued. even more so if living out is not an option for any of the various reasons previously mentioned.

are the rates paid for SLA accommodation sustainable? would people using upgraded accommodation be willing to pay more? (this might already happen but i dont know)
 
...are the rates paid for SLA accommodation sustainable? would people using upgraded accommodation be willing to pay more? (this might already happen but i dont know)
We already have different rates dependent upon the grade of SLA. Some is so poor the troops don’t pay anything.

Regards,
MM
 
We already have different rates dependent upon the grade of SLA. Some is so poor the troops don’t pay anything.

Regards,
MM
cheers, i assumed this might be the case. being a stab i only actually paid for accommodation once whilst staying at fort george for a few months. it was a fairly nominal sum.

first point still stands though
 
...first point still stands though
No argument from me on that.

Equally, it can prove pretty divisive for units with guys living in SLAM and pants blocks.

Regards,
MM
 
No argument from me on that.

Equally, it can prove pretty divisive for units with guys living in SLAM and pants blocks.

Regards,
MM

its a bit like ryanair; people will use it because it's cheap but they will think Michael O'Leary is a ****er for charging them for luggage. it doesn't matter how often he tells them it's a bargain, they'll still think he's a ****er.


kinda
 
Because even Senior personnel can deploy, be told to work far away and instead of dragging the family around you can base yourself at one MQ patch, surround your family with likeminded
people who will be supportive and social. It's a good recruiting and retention tool, even with the housing and repair issues. Far being completely dependant it's a question of choice and for many it still is a very good option.

For sailors there is pretty much no barrier to living off base, our families don't live behind the wire either (in general).
Better would be minimal movement
 
Better would be minimal movement
That’s fine if you’re in a place you want to be and that works for the family.

Regards,
MM
 
Of course all this talk of the quality or not of shoreside accom is not going to feature in the decision making process of someone looking at the wrong end of his second Gulf trip in 3 years.
 
Of course all this talk of the quality or not of shoreside accom is not going to feature in the decision making process of someone looking at the wrong end of his second Gulf trip in 3 years.
Actually, having done two in two years, the problem might not being doing the trip. The problem might be doing the trip at short to no notice, and then getting extended twice whilst deployed...

As a middle aged bloke I'd be less tolerant of lots of trips away, but in my last ship, I had lads volunteering for back to back nine monthers. They (sensibly) saw a long trip as a great way to save (some) money, but more importantly get their taskbooks done and qualify for the next rate. It's about understanding your people and letting them have some control over their lives.


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