A new Joint Service Publication (JSP), JSP100, Defence Holistic Transition Policy has now been published, to coincide with the launch of a new organisation ‘Defence Transition Services’.
A successful transition process is the key element for the majority of Service leavers to ensure they build a happy and successful life in the civilian world. For the last 20 years, MOD’s support has been focused through Defence resettlement policy and the highly effective Career Transition Partnership, to support Service leavers into appropriate careers. However, since Lord Ashcroft’s Veterans’ Transition Review, published by the then Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Champion in 2014, the other aspects of transition have been under scrutiny, both from Government and from external partners.
Deep and ongoing engagement with academic, charitable partners and international allies has indicated that addressing the other elements of transition into civilian life – housing, health, family life, identity and behaviour, to name some – are as important as finding and establishing a new career for the long-term indicators of success. In 2018 the Government, in partnership with the Welsh and Scottish Governments, published the first ever cross-Government Strategy for Our Veterans to mark the importance of veterans in the year of the Armistice 100 commemorations. The Strategy is clear that the vast majority of veterans make a successful transition to civilian life, but that for a small minority (estimated at some 5-10%), the transition is less successful, for a myriad of reasons.
The MOD has therefore published a new Defence Holistic Transition Policy and launched a new organisation ‘Defence Transition Services’ simultaneously on 28 October 2019, to provide an additional layer of support for Service Personnel in their through-Service preparations for, and during, their transition into civilian life at the end of their Service, however long or short that may be.
The aim of JSP 100 policy is twofold:
- To ensure that every Service leaver has fully considered all relevant aspects of their departure from the Armed Forces, and (if appropriate) the effect of that departure on their family; and has taken the appropriate steps to ensure that their short-term and long-term transition is as successful as possible. This may also have the added effect of deterring some intended leavers from doing so, once they consider the scale of the difference between civilian and military lifestyles.
- To ensure that the minority of Service leavers who may, for whatever reason, be less likely to make a successful transition beyond the question of employment (which is already addressed through Defence resettlement policy (JSP 534) and the Career Transition Partnership), receive appropriate support up to and beyond the moment of leaving the Armed Forces. This support will be provided by the Chain of Command up to the moment of departure, and by the central Defence Transition Services team of dedicated caseworkers once they have formally left the Armed Forces. Defence Transition Services will also be responsible for providing connections to external support from other Government departments and public bodies, and from trusted charities. JSP 100 forms the foundational document for Defence Transition Services delivery, with its processes designed to deliver the JSP’s target outcomes of successful transition for every Service leaver.
The key changes introduced by this JSP 100 policy are:
- The responsibility on the Chain of Command to assess each intended Service leaver against a number of criteria set out in the JSP, when the individual announces their intention to leave the Armed Forces. This enables them to assess whether they believe the individual may require additional support or guidance to make a successful transition into civilian life, and to refer them on to Defence Transition Services if they assess they may struggle with the transition process.
- Introduction of a single set of assessment criteria across all Front Line Commands, to ensure consistency and best practice across the Armed Forces. These will be agreed and a timeline for their introduction will be determined through the governance process set out in JSP 100 (through the Transition Working Group).
- New guidance for all Service leavers on issues to consider when leaving the Armed Forces beyond just employment (which will continue to be addressed through Defence resettlement policy and the Career Transition Partnership), such as: having sufficient savings for a mortgage or rental deposit; accessing primary healthcare; or managing finances when taking new costs such as council tax, travel, and housing costs into salary calculations.
- Improved signposting and connections for all Service leavers to external support from public bodies and charities.
- Introduction of the new Defence Transition Services, which will support those Service leavers assessed as facing significant barriers with achieving successful transition, with a team of regionally-based dedicated named caseworkers to provide continued support to Service leavers once the responsibility of the Chain of Command finishes. They can provide support and advice across the full range of non-employment issues, such as finance, mental or physical health, housing, family life, and involvement in the criminal justice system. Support is not limited to 2 years after leaving but can continue as long as needed by a seamless transfer from Defence Transition Services into the existing Veterans Welfare Service at the 2-year post discharge point. But the overall intent is to develop the veteran’s independence and resilience, rather than create a dependency.
Policy development and implementation will continue to develop as an iterative process, during and beyond the first anniversary of publication, governed and agreed through the Transition Working Group in MOD Head Office.
In the meantime, Service personnel are invited to view the JSP and its associated DIN on MODNET (internal users only).