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The catalyst for this paper is the evidence of individuals who have recent experience of dealing with the UK’s armed forces welfare system. Whilst there are numerous bodies within the public and third sector that currently offer invaluable help and support to serving personnel and their families, there are a number of reoccurring issues that need addressing.
A lack of co-ordination between various bodies has been highlighted. This leaves organisations hampered in their ability to share information, leading to service personnel and their relatives having to repeat stressful stories each time they meet with a new welfare service provider. The lack of a clear central source of welfare is regularly cited as a problem, as it makes the search for assistance a daunting prospect. Many have now advocated the need for a simpler and more efficient system of welfare support that will span both the public and private sectors and offer maximum support with the minimum of distress.
This paper explores the issues facing beneficiaries of the welfare sector, and examines options to restructure the sector including rationalisation of welfare services (both within the public and third sectors), outsourcing of public services and better co-ordination of welfare services through IT services such as signposting and a sector-wide customer relations management system.