The founding members of BAFF did not invent the idea of a representative staff association for armed forces personnel. Neither does BAFF claim to have originated the term 'armed forces federation', which has existed in the English language for more than half a century. The idea of some form of independent representation for British service personnel has been mooted many times since the Second World War.
In 1994 Michael (later Sir Michael) Bett QC was appointed by the Secretary of State for Defence to head a review of the manpower, career and remuneration structures of the Armed Forces. The Bett Review report included a section on Representation. In a survey of serving personnel, conducted by the Review team at a time of some concern for the future, 66% of respondents had agreed either strongly or slightly with a statement that the Services would benefit from a representative organisation. The report stated that:
The BAFF Ten Point Plan was first published in 2006 on the unofficial 'Army Rumour Service' website as a draft for consultation, mainly with serving personnel. June 2017: With BAFF currently in need of a refresh and reboot, this could be a good time to revisit the aspirations set out in the Ten Point Plan, to what limited extent they have already been achieved and how they can be more effectively achieved going forward.
BAFF member Douglas Young's paper Silence in the Ranks was produced on behalf of the 2005 Service Voting campaign, and helped to bring about important changes to electoral legislation and official attitudes affecting service personnel and their partners.
British Armed Forces Federation spokesman Adrian Weale said: “You can’t treat service personnel like children. They are in the front-line of the war against terrorism but the MoD doesn’t trust them to behave responsibly online.”
Almost three quarters of British soldiers support the creation of an independent armed forces federation to represent their interests, according to a poll conducted by the Army. The Telegraph reported that:
Any full BAFF member approached by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), even if apparently as a potential witness, can now consult a solicitor absolutely free of charge. This is an extension of the 'pro bono' Court Martial representation scheme already available to BAFF members. UPDATES: After consultation with the legal firm concerned, this BAFF member offer also applies to inquiries arising from other operations, specifically those in Afghanistan. IHAT officially closed at the end of June 2017, leaving around 20 remaining cases to be dealt with by the Service Police - a combination of RN Police and RAF Police, led by a senior RN Police officer. All Iraq investigations were expected to be completed by the end of 2018.