The annual Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey (AFCAS) is key to our understanding of how Service personnel feel about the issues which affect their lives. The results are briefed to the Defence Board and are used to shape and improve robust, evidence-based personnel policies across Defence.
AFCAS 2015 showed that levels of satisfaction have decreased by 10 percentage points since 2011 but have stabilised over the last two years. This decline in satisfaction reflects the tough decisions made by Defence on issues such as headcount reductions and pay restraint. However, we recognise that more remains to be done, and will continue to strive to ensure that our Armed Forces feel valued and their contribution and sacrifice is recognised. This is why we continue to develop the New Employment Model (NEM) which aims to produce a modernised offer that reduces the impact of Service life on individuals and their families.
The change to the core pay model under NEM was initiated in response to Service personnel's criticisms of the previous pay model, recognised through AFCAS and in feedback from the Armed Forces Pay Review Body. The new pay model is simpler, more transparent and improves the differentiation and targeting of pay. Many personnel will experience an increase in pay as a result of NEM, and no one will take a cut in core pay on implementation of the new model.
A number of other programmes were also announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015, including making the changes necessary to enable our Armed Forces to work flexibly, reflecting the realities of modern life. AFCAS will be a core source of information in assessing the benefits realised through the NEM programme.
The Department is also in the early stages of developing a new "Offer" for new joiners into the Armed Forces which will meet the expectations of future recruits. It will ensure that our future expenditure on personnel is sustainable and applied in the most efficient way.