independent professional staff association for UK forces personnel

BAFF Ten Point Plan 2006

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.

The approved version was later included in the BAFF Steering Group's written evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill, and was printed in the Select Committee's Special Report of Session 2005-06. The Ten Point Plan was superseded in late 2006 by the adoption of the formal BAFF Constitution, but remains a guide to the founding principles of the Federation. The Ten Point Plan was quoted by the House of Commons Select Committee on Defence in their report on Recruitment and Retention in the Armed Forces, published 30 July 2008.

1. A professional staff association is to be formed for members of Her Majesty’s Forces under the provisional title of the BRITISH ARMED FORCES FEDERATION (BAFF).

2. Comparable bodies have for years served the armed forces of allied countries such as the United States and Australia, with official co-operation and no negative impact on operational effectiveness or military discipline. The proposed federation is, however, designed to be a specifically British solution for the British armed forces. It will reflect and respect the ethos and robust traditions of the three fighting services. It will meet all requirements of British military and other law, including international conventions adopted by the United Kingdom.

3. The federation’s mission shall be to represent, foster and promote the professional, welfare, and other legitimate interests of all members of the federation in their capacity as serving or retired personnel of the fighting services of the United Kingdom, and in so doing help to maximise operational efficiency and improve the retention of trained personnel.

4. The federation will be a democratic representative institution answerable to its members. Membership of the federation will be open to all personnel irrespective of rank, branch of service or gender. The main membership categories will be Ordinary Membership (Regular), Ordinary Membership (Reserve Forces) and Veteran Membership. In responding to the requirements of its members, the federation will act in the interests of all serving personnel and veterans but will not countenance any pressure on individuals to join.

5. Within resources, the activities of the federation may include:

(a) professional and career development by the provision of education and information;

(b) liaison, monitoring and response to proposals or developments within the Services, in Parliament, in the provision of public services or in the commercial sector which have a specific impact on forces personnel;

(c) appropriate advocacy and consultation to protect and improve the conditions of service life including pay, accommodation, medical and welfare services, resettlement and all other areas of personnel support;

(d) appropriate support to personnel facing court martial or other legal proceedings in connection with their service (the federation will not normally comment on any specific case within the systems of military justice and administrative discipline); and

(e) the negotiation for members of a range of insurance, financial and other benefits, discounts or affinity deals.

6. The federation will not be beholden to any political party, pressure group, or defence industry interest. While supporting the cross-party consensus on the need for robust, adequately-funded but cost-effective forces serving the Nation as determined by the Government of the day, the federation will not be a defence pressure group. The federation will not take a view on matters of defence strategy or operational decisions, although it may raise legitimate subsidiary matters affecting personnel. Parliamentary liaison will be strictly on a cross-party basis.

7. The federation will not be a trade union and, above all, it will not conduct or condone any form of industrial action or insubordination within the armed forces. The federation affirms the vital role of the Armed Forces chain of command in representing the interests of its personnel. The federation will seek to agree with the Ministry of Defence appropriate mechanisms for the exchange of information with the chain of command as well as centrally. A code of conduct will be adopted, and potential disagreements will normally be raised centrally to avoid placing serving personnel in difficulty with their chain of command, or vice versa. The federation will act to protect serving members in their federation-related activities within the agreed code of conduct.

8. The federation will not seek to supplant the role of any existing charity or other agency involved in service welfare. Where appropriate the federation may help to direct members to appropriate sources of advice or assistance.

9. Work has taken place on matters such as the structure and legal format of the federation, and staffing.

10. This draft statement of intent outlines the basic principles established so far. Work continues on detailed aspects of the proposals with a view to wider consultation throughout the armed forces community, and with the Ministry of Defence.

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