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Ministry of Defence risking costly loss of vital skills over poor housing

The Ministry of Defence has missed its targets over military housing and acknowledges there now exists a real risk of losing experienced and skilled personnel over sub-standard housing.

According to the June 2019 House of Commons report, the MoD is not optimistic the situation will improve much in the foreseeable future either, creating a real risk of undermining efforts to recruit and retain armed forces personnel, many of whom have specialised skills which are in short supply.

Planned reforms to improve the accommodations options available aren’t expected to be implemented nationally until 2022 at the earliest.


The MoD’s Future Accommodation Model has seen its pilot programmes delayed repeatedly, with two of the three not beginning until next year. Maintenance contracts need re-tendered too, while the ministry also has to continue to manage the renegotiations of rent for service family homes leased from Annington Property Ltd.

The renegotiations with Annington Property is a significant task, given the disastrous 1996 deal that saw the selling and leasing back of assets from the MoD’s married quarters estate – a deal that is estimated to have left the taxpayer £2.2bn and £4.2bn worse off.

The relationship is said to be more constructive between the respective parties in the last year, and ahead of the negotiating process beginning in earnest in October the MoD has said it will look to “play its hand skilfully and aggressively”.


It also recognises that it must look to raise levels of satisfaction with housing among service families, which remain too low.

According to the MoD, 95% of its housing now meets the nationally-recognised Decent Homes Plus standard. In 2018-19, it spent £135m refurbishing 3,500 homes.

Despite this, a department survey showed overall satisfaction with housing only rose slightly to 64% last year and the ministry was forced to pay £109,000 in compensation for poor service.

Continuous improvement in service families’ satisfaction with their accommodation must remain a goal of the organisation and should be worked into new contracts and be linked to contractor performance and incentives, according to the report.


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