No. 11 AREA

 Veterans UK

Email from the Head of Veterans UK

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency to join Defence Business Services

As you may be aware, on 1 Apr 14, the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) will merge with Defence Business Services (DBS).

The merger follows a great deal of hard work by teams from both SPVA and DBS to ensure SPVA’s service delivery functions move through to DBS seamlessly and from our customer’s perspective, it’s absolutely ‘business as usual’, with no change to the services they receive.

This outcome was one of the key recommendations of Lord Levene’s 2011 Defence Reform Report and I am delighted that we are now delivering on an important structural change that supports the new Defence Operating Model and the ‘Whole Force’ approach to people management in Defence. The new DBS’s 2,500 staff now serve some 1.2 million active serving end users, civilians and veterans. We will pay, HR, compensation and pension services valued at circa £18bn p.a, pay invoices on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) valued at £27bn p.a., deliver more than 130k defence vetting clearances per annum and provide vetting and archive services to more than 100 other Government organisations.

As a result of merger, a number of name changes are taking place to reflect our new structure:

  • The ‘Veterans UK’ pillar, for which I am responsible, covers operational delivery of Armed Forces pensions, Armed Forces injury/bereavement compensation schemes, veterans welfare services, the Veterans UK helpline service and Veterans UK website. It also includes the management of the Veterans Advisory and Pension Committees.
  • Our new ‘DBS Military Personnel’ pillar covers operational delivery of the JPA system and JPA Portal, the JPAC enquiry centre, processes in support of Joint Personnel Administration for the Armed Forces, MOD Medal Office and the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre.
  • ‘DBS Civilian Personnel’ covers operational delivery of the HRMS system, pay services including the Civilian Personnel contact centre, resourcing, wellbeing, business transformation services and career consultancy. Both the Military Personnel and Civilian Personnel functions are, from 1 Apr, delivered through a new combined DBS page on the Defence Intranet.

The above join DBS’s National Security and Vetting pillar to create, for the first time, a combined ‘People Services’ function supporting Defence. They sit alongside DBS’s Finance Services and Knowledge and Information pillars to create an integrated Shared Services Centre for Defence and one of three future centres within Government.

Veterans UK

We have engaged fully with ex-Service organisations as part of the merger planning work and following comments received, we have decided not to use the DBS name on customer facing outputs from Veterans UK. This is because it was felt the name did not best reflect the services we deliver and we wanted to retain a clear name for veterans support.

From a presentational perspective, the SPVA brand will now be phased out on a rolling programme over the next few months. Most of these changes will be completed by summer 2014 but a small number of references to ‘SPVA’ may take until 2015 to change, for example where IT enhancements are required. Future business outputs will use the MOD brand and the Veterans UK name in text, as at the top of this letter.

Reflecting these changes, our Veterans UK email enquiry address will also change to and many individual email addresses for members of staff will be amended, although a redirect for messages sent to us from outside the MOD will be in place for some time (those with access to MOD systems should check the Global Address List before sending a message). Further, it is important that following merger, amendments are made to references to ‘SPVA’ in any guidance/outputs for which your organisation is responsible. Please could I therefore request that this message is cascaded to your organisations both for information and to make any changes that might be needed.

As some of you will know, we have also sought agreement from Government to retain a Veterans UK promotional logo that will be used to raise awareness of, and promote, MOD veterans support in the future. It’s important to note that the promotional logo will only be used to raise awareness of veterans services and will not be used on letters and forms etc sent from our business areas. The promotional logo can be seen at the top, left, of this page.

I would also like to update you on changes made last year to our Veterans UK helpline service. The helpline’s new memorable number (0808 1914 2 18) and extended opening hours (0730-1830 (1700 Fri)) have proved very successful. We are also now working in partnership with Combat Stress and The Samaritans to provide a 24 hour ‘crisis’ advice service if needed, which again, is already proving of great value to veterans in need of immediate support. These services complement our existing Veterans Welfare Service (VWS) who will continue to assist veterans one to one via the telephone or home visits where needed.

Our Veterans UK website remains unchanged by the DBS merger. However, in line with most other Government websites, I would like to make you aware of plans to migrate content to the website in summer 2014. This will help us to develop online services in the future and will make information on veterans support available to a wider audience. We are still in the planning stages and I will keep you informed as this work progresses.

Finally, I hope this letter provides a useful update and I am of course happy to discuss any issues further with you if that would be helpful.

Kind regards
[By email]

Head – Veterans UK