Ask the Commander - Responses
I would like to start by highlighting that the status and most privileges enjoyed by members of the BFG Community are granted under the Status of Forces Agreement and not the UK’s membership in the European Union (EU). This Agreement will remain unchanged following our departure from the EU.
However, a number of benefits, including Kindergeld, do stem from membership of the EU. The UK and EU have reached an agreement in principle on the terms of a time-limited implementation period, which is expected to run until the end of 2020. We anticipate that common rules will remain in place until the end of the Implementation period. Therefore families rebasing in the Summer of 2019 should not notice any changes resulting from BREXIT.
I would advise that your daughter contact her receiving Unit HR department to discuss her personal circumstances. There is provision in Germany for Service Personnel to be accompanied by permanently resident close relatives. Your daughter will need to apply to the Dependant Status Review Panel prior to her arrival. They will review her case and provide advice on conditions of residency accordingly. This can be done as soon as she has received her Assignment Order.
The policy on this subject is contained within SI BFG 3217 Para; 2.13 which your daughter can obtain through her receiving Unit HR department.
I would like to reassure you that your daughter will receive advice and support during the application process which should take no longer than 2 weeks.
I can confirm that it is not true that the adoption service in Germany no longer exists. British Forces Social Work Services (BFSWS) currently offers an adoption support service and they can arrange for families in British Forces Germany to start the comprehensive assessment while in Germany.
For further information, contact Cathy Dobson, Head of Service, BFSWS on 0521 9254 2695.
As a result of your question and Acreswood Nursery parents’ questionnaire, Directorate Children and Young People have extended the opening hours and the nursery now opens from 08:15 until 15:30, Monday to Friday. I hope that this provides you with additional flexibility.
Service Children’s Education have confirmed that, the requirement for this provision was determined at Attenborough School in Sennelager and they are able to offer fee-paying afterschool provision for approximately 20 children covering Foundation Stage 2 up to Year 4. With all afterschool settings, they need to be financially viable based on demand.
I have asked Service Children’s Education to canvass parents and carers to ascertain the requirement for similar afterschool care in Bielefeld and Gütersloh.
I personally believe that teaching young people road safety, and in particular how to ride their bikes safely, is important, especially here in Germany where cycling is a part of the way of life.
I have directed the BFG Master Driver to deliver Garrison wide Bikeability programme. This will be on offer from the spring next year in preparation for the summer months.
This would make it easier for wives/partners to afford going back to work.
The Directorate Children and Young People partially subsidises the cost of childcare in order to fund sustainable, good quality and affordable childcare settings. They are committed to providing at least one full-time provision in each remaining station in BFG. The fees are set in line with the UK average and the same hourly rates are applied to other overseas locations, including Brunei and Gibraltar, and Cyprus from January 2017.
The provision of healthcare in British Forces Germany reflects NHS practice with the Meningitis B vaccination given free of charge to children born after 1st May 2015 and to individuals who are identified as being at risk. The NHS does not provide this vaccination on a repayment basis and this is therefore not an option under BFG Healthcare arrangements.
I can however advised that as in the UK, the vaccine is available privately in Germany. The BFG Health Service does advise that you discuss having this vaccine with your GP before doing so. Your local SLO office can help you to identify a local, private provider who may offer this service although clearly they cannot make any recommendations with respect to service providers.
You are right that DARE was previously delivered by the RMP in SCE schools however I can reassure you that this education is still being delivered in SCE schools.
The DARE topics of bullying, peer group pressure, the use of social media, misuse of drugs and alcohol has now been incorporated into the education syllabus and is delivered as part of Personal, Social and Health Education.
The straight answer to your question is that we can only provide central facilities at each station. Transport is provided to ensure access from all homes to those facilities. I am happy that this is the best way to provide high quality services to the whole community.