Meeting the Needs of the RAF and RN Family

Photo by Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund

RAND Europe is currently undertaking research to support the Royal Air Force (RAF) Benevolent Fund and Greenwich Hospital in understanding the current and future size, demographics and support needs of RAF and Royal Navy (RN) Service People, Veterans and Families.

What is the issue?

The UK military charity sector provides support to a sizeable and diverse community of military personnel, veterans and their families. The size and demographics of this community are expected to evolve significantly out to 2040. For example, existing forecasts indicate that the veterans community is becoming smaller, younger and more diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity and other demographic factors. Evolving Defence workforce policies contribute to this change, for example through ongoing efforts to increase diversity of the Armed Forces. As the size and demographics of Service personnel, veterans and their families change, so too do their support needs in areas such as wellbeing, employment, finance and housing. These support needs are also affected by socio-economic trends and the changing character of warfare.

In order to provide effective support to the Armed Forces Community, and to ensure that funds are invested in the most relevant and impactful way, service providers require an accurate understanding of the evolving size, demographics and needs of the community. However, there are various gaps in current data and evidence regarding these three measures. Notably, most research on the Armed Forces is carried out at the tri-service level, where Army Serving personnel, veterans and families comprise the majority of research samples. As such, research is required to examine specifically at the RAF and RN communities and capture specific trends and challenges related to service in the RAF and RN that may not be captured in tri-service research.

How are we helping?

This project addresses gaps in existing data and evidence regarding the current and future size, shape and support needs of the RAF and RN Family. It has four overarching objectives:

  1. Obtain a best estimate of the current size and key demographics of the RAF and RN communities.
  2. Estimate the size and demographics of the RAF and RN communities out to 2040.
  3. Characterise the support needs of the RAF and RN communities.
  4. Identify recommendations for future service provision.

This project will use a mixed method approach which includes:

  1. Using publicly available data to estimate the current size and composition of the RAF and RN communities.
  2. Forecasting the size and composition of the RAF and RN communities out to 2040, with Monte Carlo Simulations to provide uncertainties for the forecasts.
  3. Survey with approximately 1000 Serving Personnel and 400 partners of Serving Personnel.
  4. Semi-structured interviews with 40 Serving Personnel and 30 partners of Serving Personnel.
  5. Pre-interview questionnaire with 100 Veterans and 40 partners of Veterans.
  6. Semi-structured interviews with 100 Veterans and 40 partners of Veterans.
  7. Analysis workshops with stakeholders to identify implications and recommendations.