Hi, I’m Air Commodore Wendy Rothery and I’m DIO’s Head of Accommodation. I'm responsible for the provision of Service Families Accommodation and associated customer support to service personnel and their families in the UK and across Europe.
Quality accommodation is very important for Defence and a key enabler of operational capability. If service personnel know that their families are well supported, they can focus on the often difficult tasks they face when deployed on operations, exercises or other duties away from home. Consequently, my team’s work in supporting this endeavour is vital to Defence’s ability to achieve its aims.
Having spent the majority of my RAF career in personnel appointments, I am delighted to see that DIO’s focus is firmly on supporting our Armed Forces by building, maintaining and servicing the infrastructure and facilities that the people who serve our country need to live, work, train and deploy on operations.
Today I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some of the work we have delivered in recent months I continue to be impressed at the sheer breadth of activity we are engaged in and the range of successes we are achieving. The number of properties that meet the Government Decent Homes standard has increased and now sits at more than 95% of our total stock – anything under this is not allocated. Our contractor’s response maintenance performance has improved and the number of properties we let to the public has increased in an effort to reduce the number of empty homes and fund additional estate improvements.
Refurbishments and renovations
Alongside these larger programmes, we continue to do what we can to improve our housing stock to help improve the lives of those living there. For example, I recently attended an event to mark the completion of a £1.5m refurbishment to 34 homes at Bannachra Drive in Helensburgh, for sailors at HMNB Clyde and their families. The work made a real difference to the homes and improvements included the fitting of new roofs, windows and doors, as well as new boilers, external wall insulation and rendering of the buildings. Work was also undertaken to replace fencing and gates and rain water goods, chimneys on the properties also removed and garage roofs replaced.
In Shipton Bellinger in the South West we upgraded 75 homes to address damp and mould issues. In addition to re-roofing and re-pointing the properties, new windows, doors, kitchens, bathrooms and heating systems were installed. The new heating system ensures that properties are kept moisture free, and, to further aid prevention, damp proof treatment was applied and loft insulation improved. The houses have also been redecorated, with carpets and vinyl being replaced throughout and new sheds built with electricity supplies and lighting. These sorts of smaller-scale projects are always going on in different parts of the country.
Looking to the future
I am now turning my attention towards the challenges we will face in the coming months.
As the Combined Accommodation Assessment System becomes fully embedded, as the Future Accommodation Model moves from design towards implementation on pilot sites, and as we prepare the ground for a new housing contract, the role of the Accommodation Team will become increasingly important. It’s not always easy, but it is always important, and we will continue to do our bit.