Response Categories
Q.Please could we have any further information around how Brexit may affect BFG personnel after March 2019? In particular how does Kindergeld affect Forces families?
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A.

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.

Q.With the intention of keeping approximately 750 serving personal plus families here in Germany. Will there also be a Naafi shop for those staying to use?
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A.

I would like to start by clarifying that across the 3 services and civil servants, the Ministry of Defence has a number of Isolated Detachments (ISODETs) based in Germany in locations for example Flensburg, Növenich and Koln.  These staff posts were not included in the Army Basing Plan and will therefore remain after the closure of HQ BFG.  As the title suggests, ISODETs are often singleton posts and are sparsely located. It is estimated that the number of people in these ISODETs will remain around 250 strong, which with their families will make the total around 750 people.

Work is on-going to determine the future support arrangements for ISODETs and individuals remaining in Germany after the closure of BFG in 2019. However, it is likely the provision of Firm Base will be different after the closure of BFG and services may be provided in new ways.

Q.There has not been a need for one in the past, why now when we are leaving BFG next year? Why not on items such as heating?
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Last year, in the run up to Winter we monitored indoor temperatures in Elec Pl. The temperature was often down to 3 or 4 degrees with little to no heating. I staffed the request for improvements and we received nothing. I came into Rochdale Bks this morning and the GGS chap complained about the current installation of a multi thousand euro digital display at the front gate. There has not been a need for one in the past, why now when we are leaving BFG next year? Why not on items such as heating?
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I understand that 2 Fd Coy Elec Pl has been operating in accommodation that is not intended to be an office space and this is the primary cause of the temperature issues you have been experiencing. I understand that suitable alternative office space has been identified for these offices on the ground floor of Building 3 in Rochdale Barracks and so this problem has now been resolved.

I am aware that an electronic notice board has recently been installed at the gate in Rochdale Barracks to replace an existing, broken asset. This replacement notice board will provide wider awareness of barrack and security issues and will become an increasingly important messaging tool as we approach drawdown.  In addition to this, the notice board will be allocated to an alternative MOD site once BFG no longer require it and so this investment, part of an ongoing 2 year programme, will not be wasted.  I would also like to take this opportunity to reassure you that we will continue to scrutinise spending as we approach drawdown, but that also we will continue to invest where it is needed.

Q.What is the policy for renewing dependant ID Cards?
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All the paperwork is correct and in place for my families ID Cards to be renewed, but the ID Card office has refused, as they state they can only be renewed 2 weeks before expiry. Which in this case is during Easter block leave, when we are away. It seems ridiculous if the paperwork is correctly completed it is not possible to renew the ID Cards, even the passport office allow you to renew 9 months in advance.
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I can confirm that an application form which has been correctly authorised and has the correct supporting documents should be processed without time restrictions. Staff working in the Pass Office have been informed of this.

I understand that your application has now been process by the Paderborn Pass Office, but I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Q.I work with two retired MOD Veterans who eat at JB's regularly and pay the same price as civilians.
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Why can veterans not get the same benefits as serving personnel considering the amount of veterans who are employed within BFG who are still dedicated to the services, I think it would be a nice gesture and a small sign of gratitude to their service.
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We are governed by central Catering, Retail and Leisure Management policy which set out clear and specific rules for entitled and non-entitled personnel. These state that the only people that pay discounted or 'entitled' rates are Serving Personnel or UKBCs on detached duty away from their duty station.

Therefore, although I agree this would be a nice gesture, there is no scope within the rules for BFG to take this forward.

Q.I have heard that Mansergh Bks Medical facilities will close in November 2018 despite the Bks being manned until end of 2019, is this true?
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A.

Firstly, I would like to point out that we are extremely well supported in terms of health service delivery in BFG. As we approach drawdown it is likely that there will be adjustments to how services are delivered. The healthcare delivery partner is currently developing proposals regarding the drawdown of medical facilities, in line with the BFG drawdown plans as a whole however, no decisions have yet been taken. Be assured that the drawdown of the medical facilities will be based on the population being supported and that alternative arrangements will be made for those affected.

Once the proposals have been considered they will be communicated to the Chain of Command and the wider community.

Q.I’m hoping you would be able to provide some answers on what will be happening to 23 Amph troop with the drawdown and rebasing (OpOwl)?
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There are a lot of families unsure on where & when they are being rebased and how the closedown will affect them concerning schooling, medical centres etc.?
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The Army is currently considering options for the future of the Wet Wide Gap Crossing capability, including 23 Amph Troop. No decisions have yet been taken but I can confirm that the options being considered include the provision and delivery of welfare and other support facilities. We expect that a decision will be made as quickly as possible so that the unit can advise those affected. We are very conscious of the challenges that this presents to those involved. Be assured that whatever the decision, you will be well supported.

Q.Why are there no recycling bins in workplaces?
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In my building many people bring prepared food in disposable containers to work and they all go in the same bin as all the general waste despite their being separate large bins for recycling outside the building. I am as guilty as the next man of putting my chicken and bacon pasta container straight into the general waste bin but if there were a separate recycling bin I would use it. We cannot expect cleaners to separate the waste. - Name and Address Supplied.
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A system is already in place for the recycling of workplace waste. Under the current arrangements, general waste from the workplace is taken off-site by a contractor to be sorted, separated and recycled.

Q.Could I please ask why the post office offers no cash facility on the Saturdays?
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it now opens on Saturday and I would like to be able to put some of my German wage into my English account but due to my work hours (I finish at 3pm and only have half hour lunch which is not enough to time to travel from Normandy barracks to the post office and back) I am unable to get to the post office during their opening times mon-fri. - Name and Address Supplied
A.

The Saturday opening of Forces Post Office 16 is a 4 month trial providing a mail only service as has been widely advertised. We are unable to provide cash services on a Saturday and there is no plan to do so in the future.

Q.Can some one please explain the disparity in prices/post services when sending post from the UK to BFG and from BFG back to the UK?
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Posting from BFG back to the UK, I can use either first or second class postal services, however posting from the UK to BFG I can only use first class postage. This is clearly exemplified on the Royal Mail website and seems totally incongruous, as well as unfair for our families in the UK who are not allowed to post items to us in BFG via a second class post. - Name and Address Supplied
A.

The current Forces Mail Settlement agreement with Royal Mail is based on an outbound 1st class service only as it was not deemed viable for Royal Mail to offer a 2nd class service from the UK.

1st and 2nd class services are available from Forces Post Offices in Germany however, although all post is dispatched simultaneously, when it reaches the UK, the items are separated and moved by Royal Mail using the requisite service.

Although 2nd class from the UK is not available due to the BFPO contract with the Royal Mail, the cost of sending a standard letter by 1st class post using a BFPO address is still considerably cheaper than sending it to a Germany address (the cheapest equivalent Royal Mail service to Europe is £1.57) or using any other comparable courier service.