Q: Is there a plan in place to improve the waiting times at the VLO on Normandy Barracks or explore other options to improve the system. As drawdown happens it is surely just going to get busier.
A: The VLO on Normandy Barracks has since the start of 2017 experienced a high turnover of staff. The delay in recruiting and training new staff has had a knock on effect to waiting times; this recruitment is now nearly complete. Planning is underway for the drawdown of BFG and the “VLO service to the end” is included in that planning.
Q: Will BFG be employing more DELs to ensure that Station facilities are fully staffed to the end?
A: Locally Engaged Civilian (LEC) posts are advertised initially as Dependant opportunities (unless specialist skills are required e.g. German language). Only if they are not filled by dependants, will they be re-categorised as Directly Employed Labour (DEL). However, as we progress towards final drawdown, more Military appointees may choose to serve unaccompanied and this may mean that fewer dependants will be available to fill LEC posts. To ensure service is maintained the relative split of Dependant and DEL posts may need to be reviewed.
Q: When Paderborn LSU no longer exists, how do I get a reference for future employment?
A: Under current planning assumptions there will be a small, residual LSU remaining in Germany. This LSU will remain the first point of contact for any LEC-related employment queries after Paderborn LSU has closed.
Q: Are there any plans to reduce the opening hours at any of the Med Centres in BFG? I have heard that Gutersloh may be reducing their hours and some clinics being held in Bielefeld.
A: Whilst some minor changes to opening hours have been introduced in Gutersloh there are currently no plans to reduce the current provision. There are no changes anticipated for 2018 and as drawdown plans develop any proposed alterations to the current service will disseminated widely.
Q: I recently contacted the Home Office for some immigration advice. They wouldn’t speak to me until I had entered my card details to pay for the call. Would it be possible to have a qualified person available in BFG to give immigration advice? UWOs can deal with the process but are not approved to give advice.
Q: Are BFBS staying in Germany until the end?
A: On current planning BFBS are planning to deliver services in line with the drawdown of BFG.
Q: Students at Kings who hold a full driving license are entitled to buy tax free cars but pupils who are at boarding school cannot. Why is this?
A: Policy states that an ‘Entitled Person’ has to have a reasonable expectation to be present in Germany for a minimum of 183 days within the qualifying year. It is reasonable to assume that any dependent child over the age of 18 who is attending a Boarding School located outside of Germany is not going to meet this requirement.
Q: My wife is German. What are the implications of BREXIT on her status both in BFG and the UK?
A: As soon as the Government issues clear direction on BREXIT the British Army and their families will be in a better position to be able to answer questions such as this, accepting that the frustrations of all are shared at this time.
Q: Is WhatsApp an approved way of communication? It is constant throughout evenings and weekends which means it's very hard to enjoy family time.
A: WhatsApp is not a recognised platform for OFFICIAL communications
WhatsApp is a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) platform which offers end to end encryption, it is recommended for private communications because it is relatively safe compared to other platforms and other methods of communicating but should not be used for official business.